Pepper Jane for Scenestr
ABBA’s ‘Dancing Queen’ starts. Purple floods the back curtain of The Tivoli Theatre (30 May) and the vertical lighting rigs peer ominously out, welcoming and cautioning.
'Friday night and the lights are low' sing ABBA... on a Thursday night - yes, why not? We are here to feel something.
The shawl is blue tonight when Maggie Rogers emerges (we know it was pink at the Sydney Opera House). Perhaps it’s her way of sharing a little of the synesthesia she experiences with us, by flailing coloured scarves around as her signature motif.
Her voice is crisp and friendly, like the bonds she’s forging around the world with other solo artists - like our gals Mallrat and Vera Blue.
Maggie’s shows have been acclaimed for their energy. Such a full-on tour schedule for a relative newcomer may be draining the reserves a little by this final Australian show, but her youthful ‘Fallingwater’ will be easily replenished.
She stops after a song starts to tell us something. Akin to a kind of loving lecture your grandma might have given you when you pierced your nose; a kind of “you do you, but it’d be nice to have eye contact when I’m reaching for it, instead of you retreating into your phone as I approach” thing.
Maggie wants to see our faces. Actually all performers do. They want to feel something too.
The Maryland native explains to us the emotional whiplash she’s subject to, because when she puts set lists together musically she doesn’t always think about the transition emotionally. From screaming to softness. She centres herself to honour the next track properly.
People are letting out their inner Joni Mitchell's, dancing like they’ve been kidnapped from Woodstock and planted in metro Brisbane. They are feeling something.
The minstrel’s voice soars: soothing – even while inciting a spiritual riot.
An a cappella encore is met with a rude boisterousness Australian audiences tend to have, but it is overcome and Maggie’s ‘Color Song’ paints the evening to a traditional folk feeling finale.
“The night is robed in spangled black...” Yes, I felt something.
This article was originally published in Scenestr and republished with permission.