It’s 8pm at The Gov and there’s a real relaxed vibe in the air as Hen, better known as Julia Henning, takes the stage. As her sweet and melodic voice fills the space, I am impressed. I went in not knowing what to expect from Hen but I was rewarded. Hen is passionate, sweet and a little bit sultry in her delivery, letting us know that she’s playing some songs ‘so new, you may never hear them again’. Her song ‘Love still lives here’ was particularly breathtaking and passionate. She’s indie-pop, but the new age of the genre, covering Halsey’s ‘Hold Me Down’ and reminding me why I love that style of music. I cannot wait for her new album to come out in 2018. For an opening act, she was a real talented treat—a perfect match for Rachael Leahcar.
The headliner herself commanded the rooms attention the moment she stepped on stage. Graceful, real and sweet, the atmosphere was palpable as she launched in ‘No More Little Girl’. Such a big song demonstrates that Rachael is more than her The Voice appearance; in her words ‘the world hasn’t seen a lot of angry Rachael, so I thought I’d sing it first!’
Rachael was brilliant with the audience, gently self-deprecating and certainly a mature young woman. She revealed a few tasty titbits about where or why some songs came along, even noting that she was wearing the same size 5 shoes she’d worn to her blind The Voice audition—before singing her song ‘Sewn’—about how hard it had been to dress her tiny figure for her reality TV career.
Her version of the Guns N Roses hit ‘Sweet Child O Mine’ is brilliant, her voice almost seems too big for her. The highlight of the show was her song ‘Beware The Wolf’. The recorded version gave me goosebumps, but words cannot describe how it felt to hear it live and in person. Her ability to shift between emotions is incredible; displaying warmth, sadness, love and longing with equal conviction and authenticity.
Another treat was the beautiful duet Rachael performed with Hen, singing ‘Somewhere Over The Rainbow’. Delicate and precious, the display of vocal talent from the pair of them was brilliant, both were in sync and complemented each other’s style magically. The crowd were impressed to see Rachael demonstrate her skill with the piano for her rendition of ‘Little Lady’. A song she wrote for her cousin Susannah, who was diagnosed with a brain tumour as a teen, it was heart wrenching to hear.
There is so much to Rachael that seeing her once is not enough—if you have the opportunity, make sure you are able to hear and appreciate her vocal brilliance for yourselves. Her album does no justice to the live performance. Even the guide dogs in-training that found themselves at her show were barking their approval! Rachael has two more shows left and will be performing in Brisbane on the 24th of November and in Perth on the 30th for her final Shadows date.