The minute I stepped into The Toff in Town at the Curtin House, I knew it was going to be a good night. For starters, I adored the venue from first sight! It was relatively small, but I loved that the bar was set up at the back of the room and the tables set up.
I’d missed the first supporting act, Easy, but made it just in time for Gretta Ray, who I was excited to see. The year 12 student (who had sat her VCE English exam only the day before!) was crowned the national winner of the 2016 Triple J Unearthed competition. She is the 2016 winner of the Vanda & Young songwriting competition, which was announced the same day as the gig.
With so many accolades at such a young age, you could only imagine the pressure placed on her to perform well to a crowd of people she mostly knew. But she definitely did not disappoint.
At just 18 years of age her songwriting ability is beyond what most of us could even imagine. And while her vocals were versatile and impressive, it was her vivid, occasionally haunting lyrics that drew me to wanting to hear more.
I appreciated that she performed a set full of original songs, as she was able to show everything she had to offer. She also went out of her way to interact with the audience. Providing the whole package, the short set she played was enough to gain me as a fan.
The final act of the night was the headliner: Noah Earp. Noah, launching his debut album ‘Disinheritor,’ was supported by his band, including the violin-playing manager of both Noah and Gretta- “Jono.”
I was transfixed by his voice from the opening song. His unique, bluesy tone took me back to the 1960s/70s (a period where I wasn’t even alive) and his talent was shining through. The band too were talented, however, for most of the night they overpowered his vocals! The set-up of the stage meant that any sound coming from it was most likely to echo as well so at times it was difficult to understand what he was singing. Regardless, Noah is definitely one to watch.
Listen to Noah Earp’s new single, The Raw and the Cooked.
I loved that he played his entire album in order. Sometimes the ‘no surprise’ element can become predictable, but as I think this was done perfectly considering he was debuting the album. The best possible advertising he could’ve done was to play the entire thing in order, so everyone who ended up buying one knew exactly what they were getting.
The highlight of Noah’s set was his instrumental tribute to American Delta Blues Artist Blind Billy. Despite being introduced as an instrumental, Noah admitted at the start that he was ‘still going to sing’ in it. And honestly, it worked. The song was a true reflection of his feelings towards this artist and his story, leaving everyone in the room in awe.
Two great sets were performed by Gretta and Noah. We’ll definitely be seeing more from both of them in the future.
Written by Jordyn Hoekstra.