The bigger picture is becoming far more clearer for this young singer/songwriter, selling out three shows at Melbourne’s intimate Shebeen Bandroom is enough alone for anyone to recognise that this artist just may be onto something here. Dimming the lights, the sold-out bandroom was left in a silent awe as the sounds of Celtic-like notes teased the crowd. Through the mist of smoke from the smoke machines and stage lit in blue, emerged one Australia’s most exciting young voices, Vera Blue. Opening her performance in the intimate setting of undoubtedly her biggest song yet, ‘Settle’ encompassed the crowd before she echoed the room; those divine vocals washing over the crowd as they swayed and cheered in excitement. Through the resonating acoustic guitar, Vera Blue could not have picked a better way to open. In awe of her vocal control and flow, Vera Blue has been given this gift that many singers would kill to have when performing live. One of the most spine-tingling moments of this opening came with those echoing “da do do do”; parts of Settle in which Vera Blue absolutely perfects.
Australians may realise that Vera Blue is by no means a stranger. Celia Pavey, distantly remembered as a finalist on Season Two of The Voice, has clearly rekindled her love for music through this new, more authentic position. It would be a mistake to revisit or highlight these moments of past; the 22-year-old now emitting confidence and familiarity as she interacts with the sold-out bandroom. Pleasing, the young Australian emits this warm and genuine nature that just makes the crowd enjoy her presence all the more. Moving onto the title track from her debut EP, Fingertips, Vera Blue bounces around the stage tambourine in hand. ‘Fingertips’ is wonderful in that it blends folk music and the dark sounds of electronic music; and, when comparing this song to it’s recording and live, Vera Blue hits new highs with its deliverance live. Again, her control is near flawless and her voice is just oh-so-crisp. We then move onto her first cover of the night in what she says is one of her favourite songs of all time, ‘Feel Good’ by the Gorillaz. (Okay, this writer was officially swooned.) The crowd cheered as she stripped the song back and delivered it in this raw, yet jazzy setting. Swaying her red locks, she again bounced around the stage. After her resonating cover of ‘Feel Good’, she then spoke about how her debut EP Fingertips came about and also who was involved in making it happen (where she mentions Andy & Thomas Mak and Gossling).
Vera Blue then moves into the fourth track from her debut EP, called ‘Turn’. Of all the tracks on the EP, this felt and sounded so much performed live. This track flows great, but her control with it live is something that needs be heard to be believed. After performing ‘Turn’, she strapped on her acoustic guitar for the solemn ‘Patterns’. If you remember her earlier work, Celia was renowned for crisp blend of guitar and vocal work. In her element, ‘Patterns’ is delivered pitch perfect. The audience is then given a listen of something new, with a song Vera Blue calls ‘First Week’. It is backed by what sounds like an accordion, and if heard correctly sounds like a song about being without someone you previously loved, all whilst pondering the memories you together once shared. Not near completion, she then moves into her Triple J Like A Version cover of Jack Garrett’s ‘Breathe Life’. Again, you need to experience this live, with full faith in it leaving you saying: “Damn, how about those high notes!”.
A highlight of the night (although she may she it differently) came when she performed another new tune called ‘Private’. In what sounds and feels a little heavier from her previous material, this song appears to be about wanting someone secretly. The best moment came when she forgot the words to the song, singing “Shit, what’s the words?” and laughed. The crowd embraced it, which made her performance all the more heartwarming. Little things like this truly make you appreciate the artist and of all things, make you realise that they are just as human as you and I.
The night, however, wouldn’t be complete without her performing the song that undoubtedly saw her star rise, ‘Hold’. The room lit with a cheer, everyone scrambling in the digital age to grab their phones to record the song live. Again, the control of someone so young is awe inducing as Celia hits the highs of ‘Hold’s’ chorus. I don’t think anyone moved a muscle – the crowd standing there in a gracious stun – listening to the hit performed in its righteous live setting. Praising thanks for a great show, she swiftly exited the stage. But, just a quickly exiting she remerged from that back, again strapping on her acoustic guitar. Going solo, she performed a beautifully raw cover of Ani DiFranco’s ‘Swim’. This felt like a throwback to her time on television, where the Australian public first fell in love with her. After this intimate cover, she stated their would be time to catch her down at her merchandise stand, where fans could have a chat with her. Adding to her already genuine and humble nature, this personal touch, gave the crowd a chance to gain some insight into the project that is Vera Blue.
It is no longer apparent that Celia Pavey could be, but rather, she is onto something with her new project Vera Blue. Labeling her as one of the countries most exciting young voices, and rightfully deserving after her performance at Melbourne’s Shebeen Bandroom. It takes a certain individual/artist to gain the attention to sell out every show of a debut tour, with Vera Blue doing just that. Releasing the shackles of past appearances, Celia has emerged as this awe-inducing songstress in Vera Blue.