Without a doubt The Toff in Town is my favourite live music venue in all of Melbourne (well, maybe with the exception of Festival Hall- I mean The Beatles have performed there.) As a result, I was eager to see Abbey Stone do her thing there. Yes, it was the night of the Australian Open Men’s Final and yes, I had just worked an eight hour shift (oh, the life of a barista!), but, I was definitely excited.
Opening the show was Liv Cartledge, a young singer-songwriter from Beechworth. I must admit, I’d never heard her name before, but as a fan of music and someone who writes about music, I was keen to hear what she had to offer.
I was beyond impressed. I was also grateful she introduced every single song, because it made writing this far easier.
She opened her set with Timber, which was an easy-listening tune but at the same time introduced her deep vocals. This made it rather complex, but definitely an appropriate song to kick off the night as it was enticing and the audience got to learn who she was very quickly. Ciggies, was a particularly interesting choice for a song title, as Liv admitted that she wasn’t a smoker, but its folky and acoustic undertones showed off her diversity as an artist. With an upbeat funky chorus, it is the perfect road trip song.
Her instrumental use was as diverse as her vocal range. The incorporation of an acoustic guitar, an electric guitar and a bass guitar, often in the same song worked wonders both with the band interaction, and also their interaction with the audience. Liv’s husky, yet powerful vocals were reminiscent of Stevie Nicks’ early days. In her heavier, edgier performances she sightly reminded me of Paramore’s Hayley Williams.
Liv’s original work is unbelievable, yet the highlight of the set was definitely her cover of the 1996 song Pony, by Ginuwine. All I have to say about that cover is “wow.” It honestly was probably one of my favourite covers I’ve ever seen and has meant that Liv’s music has left a mark on me.
Abbey Stone is also a force to be reckoned with. She’s sophisticated and elegant, and the opening of her set was no exception. As she sat by her piano ready to play, you already knew that she was an artist who took her craft seriously. I’d listened to a little bit of her music before the show, but I always go into to live shows not knowing what to expect.
From the opening note, I could tell she was a soulful, powerful vocalist. Everything was technical and everything was flawless, definitely along the lines of Alicia Keys. Even then the opening track had me thinking of Carrie Underwood and the vocally powerful country-pop artists. I Wish You Would Stay was the perfect example of this, and demonstrated the depth of her lyrics. It was heartfelt and emotional, and she effortlessly made you feel what she was feeling. There was a noticeable trend in that each song had a similar theme of heartbreak, was approached a different way each time.
Whilst I can’t explain every single little thing she did, I can tell you that she almost literally threw her whole body into the entire performance. She was a very visual performer to watch, as her facial expressions and body language reflected the themes of each individual song. Put that with an insane vocal ability and performing the whole set solo, and you have one unstoppable artist. On the Australian scale of things, her vocal ability is comparable to the likes of Delta Goodrem.
The highlight of her set would have to be Stuck. A catchy tune with amusing lyrics, it displayed Abbey’s fun and quirky side. I also admired the way she presented her ‘trilogy,’ as it provides a concept to her EP. The trilogy could not have ended any more perfectly. I’m Still Here, allowed her to really kick up her power and show how aggressive her performances can be and also her sass.
Abbey is nothing short of a powerful vocalist and an entertaining performer.
I’m sure we’ll see big things from both Abbey and Liv in the future.
To purchase the EP :https://itunes.apple.com/au/album/doorways/id936532268
Written by Jordyn Hoekstra