words & photos: Daniel Hanssen @danthegigman
“…making a crowd think about the deeper meaning of what is happening around them and how to make positive and affirmative change.”
Stella Donnelly and co. were an exciting prospect over the weekend travelling around the country on her Beware Of The Dogs album tour. Her Melbourne stop included a rousing performance at the Corner Hotel a place that has happily hosted the incredible singer-songwriter multiple times.
The Melbourne Indie Voices opened the evening with the choir group drawing an early crowd. Without a barricade for the evening’s fun, people were quick to bustle close to the stage – setting themselves up in the perfect spot for each of the acts.
Jade Imagine was second up. The rough around the edges rock outfit were an energetic choice to the lead opening position of the night. Their most recent release, Basic Love, quantified much of the band’s set, but their popular tracks “Gonna Do Nothing”, “Remote Control” and “Walkin’ Around” took control of the crowd for their 40-odd minutes on the Corner Hotel stage.
Stella Donnelly – known for her poignant lyricism, often cutting writing, and a focus on the truth – was at her bubbly best at the Corner Hotel. Coming out to rapturous applause, the upbeat Stella quickly jumped into her opening number, “Mechanical Bull”. The song, about dealing with harassment in the service industry, started the night off raw, before “Grey” and “You Owe Me” led a gleeful Stella into a quick hello with the crowd.
Stella’s full band came out later in her performance to bring a more fulfilled sound to the stage, with deeper tones expertly weaving amongst Stella’s vocals. While a full band around her developed more layers into her sound, Stella truly shines as an artist when she is working alongside a guitar. “Beware Of The Dogs” was met with an energetic applause and slowly but surely, as Stella delved further and further into her set, there was a deeper and building connection with the audience.
“Old Man”, “Watching Telly”, “Seasons Greetings” and “Lunch” built another section of the set, but it was, of course, the closing salvo that brought the crowd home. As “Boys Will Be Boys” rung out, the crowd fell to a dull silence, with only Stella Donnelly’s voice ringing true throughout the venue.
The song, which helped set off Stella’s career with it’s visceral lyricism and honest storytelling, drew applause at its close. But the track itself is something so much more, making a crowd leave the venue thinking about the deeper meaning of what is happening around them and how to make positive and affirmative change.
As powerful a theme as this is, Stella decided to end the night on “Tricks” – the new fan favourite that left the evening on a more rounded note.