words: Katie Wighton // photos: Jess Sommerfeld @jesssommerfeld
“I want to take Eaglemont's music and befriend it; hold it in my hand and smell it like coffee grounds or the broken head of a flower.”
OK. So I knew this gig was going to be special. But it turns out I totally underestimated even my own very high expectations.
This night was full of authenticity and egoless camaraderie – made up of a deep love of music shared between friends. Everybody cared but nobody gave a shit. That is rare. In an age where everyone is trying so desperately to be “cool” this gig highlighted the reason it’s way better just to be real and kind and good to each other. These incredible musicians created a safe space for us all to quietly pop our egos on the ground and kick them to the side so we could weep openly, sing loudly and dance and laugh unashamedly. All. Bloody. Night.
Mimi Gilbert has a presence that can only be described as mesmerising. Even as a tiny human, Mimi manages to command the attention of everyone in the room. Hailing from America, Gilbert brings the tall pines and winding roads of the west coast of the U.S.A. into the heart of Melbourne on a cold November (why still cold?!) night.
Mimi will draw you in with her quietly captivating delivery and then blow your heart apart with lyrics like “If society's a mansion I wanna live in a shack.” Gilbert's voice makes you want to skip through the awkward stages of a first time friend or a new lover and get straight down to it. “Who are you? How do you feel?” she asks. And we all answer truthfully and openly because what other option does she leave us with?
Next in this incredible line up of very well selected performers is Feelds. I've seen Feelds (aka James Seymour) play in about a million different formats over the past year – from solo in Canada to trio in Sydney and then a full-band show in Melbourne for the launch of his most recent single “Kill the Moon”. I am never disappointed by this bloke. Mostly because he just writes SUCH ace songs. Lyrics like “I'd kill the moon so we could talk about anything besides this” leave me shaking in my boots because YES THAT IS EXACTLY HOW I FEEL SOMETIMES THANK YOU PLEASE. James even manages to say something huge in a flippant aside about a haircut suggestion from his dad. “Getting older I see that Dad's right.”
The energy these three men bring (and only three of them!) is electrifying – we can't take our eyes off them. James dances around the stage shooting loving glances at his bassist who sings very high and very beautiful harmonies throughout the set. Plus I'm totally partial to a good tambourine part and a stand-up drummer.
In their opening riff, Slowcoaching make you feel like it's all going to be OK. With jangly guitars and warm synth pads their music transports me to a time where videos had vaseline smeared around the lens and I always had a surfboard in my car. What car? WHAT SURFBOARD?! I hadn't even been BORN then! I'm nostalgic for a time when I wasn't yet alive – that's how good this band is.
These guys write songs that make you feel like you've known the lyrics all along and even if you don't, you sing along anyway. Pillars of Salt was an obvious crowd favourite. Listen to that song in the car and try not to wind down the windows and scream the lyrics at passers by – I dare you.
This brings us finally to the reason we are all here - Eaglemont. If I had to sum up Eaglemont's music in one word it would be 'brutal'. Lyrics like “Maybe one day I'll find you appealing” make you feel like you're coming home and losing the love of your life in the same breath. Bridgitte is humble without being apologetic – a big ask nowadays. Her band is quietly incredible too. Nick on drums can't help but smile throughout and it's so obvious how much Eaglemont's bassist Julz cares about Bridgitte and this music.
They all care and they want you to know it. How privileged we feel to be even a small part of their world for the night.
Eaglemont's voice is both fragile and powerful, occasionally cracking under the emotional weight of it all. She is tender and vulnerable in one song and dominates the guitar and stage in the next. My favourite Eaglemont song is Texas (which was saved until the very end). If you haven't heard this song be prepared to cry when you do. I want to take Eaglemont's music and befriend it; hold it in my hand and smell it like coffee grounds or the broken head of a flower.
Bridgitte is obviously affected by how many good humans are in the room tonight - often stopping to thank people and remind us all how grateful they all are for this opportunity. She also takes her moment in the spotlight as an opportunity for a political reminder. “Every non-male knows what it's like not to feel safe. So men come on, pull your socks up.” which receives a big cheer from the obviously supportive audience.
But tonight we are safe. Safe in a warm cocoon of love and egolessness that these incredibly authentic musicians have created for us. So thank you and congratulations to Eaglemont for this night that showed us all of the power of music and community – something we could all do well to remember.