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I WAS THERE | NATALIE PRASS, MELBOURNE RECITAL CENTRE

Natalie Prass delighted a Monday night crowd at the renowned Melbourne Recital Centre for her very first Australian show. The show, in support of her upcoming performance at Golden Plains was the debut outing of Prass’ current live band. Together they performed songs off Prass’ acclaimed self titled debut album, along with a number of covers from her recent live EP Side by Side.

Support Olympia quickly won over the audience with her infusion of minimalist rock and soaring harmonies. “It’s going to be hard playing to pubs after being in this venue”, she joked, clearly a little beside herself to be playing such a lavish space. Singles ‘Tourist’ and ‘This Is Why We Can’t Have Nice Things’ sounded particularly impressive in the space. There’s definitely big things ahead for her.

Prass made her arrival to the stage in a playful mood, greeting the audience before even playing a song. “Look at this big beautiful treehouse” she marvelled while taking in the Recital Centre’s pine wood panelled walls. Opening with album highlight ‘Your Fool’, Prass’ husky vocals on this particular track sounded bigger and better than they do recorded. This was soon followed by Prass’ jazzy version of Simon and Garfunkel’s ‘The Sound of Silence’. The arrangement transferred the classic song into a fresh new context that impressed many in the audience. While the strings and horns on the album were absent tonight, Prass’ backing band proved to more than capable of bringing each song to life. Prass announced that this was the current lineup’s very first show together to a surprised audience. “We’ve only rehearsed three times” she confessed, although this certainly didn’t show.

Perhaps the most memorable moment of the show was when Prass welcomed Olympia back on stage and performed a personalised rendition of ‘It Is You’. Prass’ genuine affection for her support was incredibly humbling and changing the song’s lyrics demonstrated her willingness to be impromptu. Older track ‘Violently’ was performed solo by Prass and served as the only sombre moment of the evening. The spotlight was shone on Prass who confidentially and gracefully delivered a moving performance.

Prass proved to be easy going and humorous onstage and off,  admitting after the show that she had to restrain her onstage banter because she “ didn’t want to cuss in front of a small child sitting in the front now”. Prass and her band were the ultimate crowd pleasers, with the general consensus from the audience indicating that it’s only a matter of time before she becomes a household name all over the world.

By Holly Pereira / @pseudoholly

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