Before stepping into Some Velvet Morning this past Sunday, the sky was giving Melbourne the cold shoulder as expressed through the shrieking winds, sullen clouds and icy air. After I stepped through the door, it was like the sun was gifting every gypsy, hipster and muso a fuzzy sweater and saying “I’ve got you” accompanied by a wink and a smile. The sound of Janis Joplin belting “Another Piece of My Heart” filtered through the room and warm golden light reflected off the walls, illuminating the space. It was the epitome of cosy.
The lovely Romanie began her set and by the second song it was clear she had her audience wrapped around her little finger. She was accompanied only by her guitar, thus allowing the audience to become encompassed by her lyrics and tone – not always a good thing, but certainly in this case. Romanie’s angelic and clear vocal tone wove a golden thread through the varying subject matters addressed in her songs, providing a stability amongst the fragility behind lyrics centred around arguments with partners and concerns over friends. She exuded sweetness and vulnerability with her lyrics and interactions with the audience, thus entrancing those in her presence.
This isn’t to say the set was perfect – there were incorrect lyrics, technical difficulties and even getting to the chorus of one song before realizing she was singing in the wrong key. However, it was how Romanie handled those flaws that meant the audience patiently waited through the guitar-tuning interludes and chuckled good-naturedly at her self-deprecating jokes dotted between songs.
After a brief intermission, headliner Tom Riccioni took the stage accompanied by Adrian on electric guitar and Patrick on double bass. Suddenly what stood before us was the musical child Marcus Mumford and Paolo Nutini had gifted us with. Mirroring Romanie’s set, by the second song the audience were all in and howling along with Riccioni’s Rainbow River. He soon moved to piano, confiding in the audience that it was his first time playing the instrument live at a gig. It was this moment that exemplified the true support within the Melbourne music community and Riccioni’s comfortability in his environment shone through.
Reminiscent of his musical padres, the grit and rough edges to Riccioni’s voice added texture to the music like the burnt, crispy edges do to the centre of a toasted marshmallow. Yes, please! For the last song of the set, Naked Soul, Riccioni coaxed the audience closer to the stage with a simple “smoosh in”. More audience participation was enjoyed, but it was the moment that Romanie joined Riccioni on stage and the opening chords of David Bowie’s Heroes were played for the encore that the audience started crying sunflowers, hearts and lightning bolts.
The afternoon was filled with all things good tossed perfectly into a box lined with velvet. Romanie and Riccioni encouraged a vivacious atmosphere on an otherwise gloomy day and for that they were our heroes.
CHECK OUT TOM RICCIONI ON SOCIALS
Written by Meli Szabo.