Julien Baker made a roomful of new friends at Northcote Social Club
Julien Baker is the kind of performer who makes you feel at home. Bursting with talent and heart, it was something incredibly special to watch her hold down just one of the many sold out shows she’s playing on her debut Australian tour. Treating her fans Down Under to songs from her 2015 Sprained Ankle EP as well as some newies, the 21-year-old from Memphis proved beyond any shadow of a doubt, that she’s the type of person who was born to be a musician.
Her lyrics are some of the most heartfelt you’ll hear. She describes in detail her struggles with anxiety and lost love, and her desires to remain a grateful and good person. Some crowd favourites from the EP, including Something, Rejoice and Everybody Does (which she joked is the most upbeat of all her largely depressing songs, to great comedic effect) were played to perfection and met with loving crowd singalongs.
A new track, entitled Red Door, paints a beautiful picture of Baker “fixing” herself, detailing how if she could, she would become an electrician, climb into her brain and fix all the wires inside. It‘s heartbreaking to hear someone her age be so absolutely vulnerable, but it’s also absolutely breathtaking.
It was endearing to watch Baker’s shy nature come out on stage; her voice cracked when she introduced herself and her words mumbled as she thanked her audience multiple times for their company. The nervous words and the limited eye contact didn’t take away from the experience at all, instead serving to create an incredibly intimate feeling between audience and performer.
It’s hard to describe the exact feeling you get after watching Baker. A good start might be to say that it’s like you’ve just come out of a long and earnest chat with an old friend, about all the tough things that life can throw at you. In the end, you come to feel as though you know her on an intensely personal level, and you most certainly get the feeling that you would like to be in her company again.
By Abbey Lew-Kee
Highlight: Singing along to Something.
Lowlight: Emma Russack was a strange support choice. Didn’t suit the vibe of the night.
Crowd favourite: Julien’s banter with the audience in between songs. She might be shy, but she genuinely made everyone laugh with her secret comedy prowess.