Caitlin Harnett

My boyfriend couldn't make it, stuck in St Kilda with a broken down car. I'd been stuck late at work and I didn't have my bike with me. The thought of trying to bus across town in 20 minutes was beyond me and I decided I would just go home. 

As I walked in the dark and the cold towards the Smith Street tram I saw a cab and made the split decision that I would not be miserable. 

I would go to the Parlour gig. 

The building that houses the Multiplicity Architects offices seemed to tower over Brunswick Rd. Standing up between setback, residential houses, the big warehouse doors held a poster with “Parlour” written, telling me I'd found the right spot.

I entered, the dirt floor and towering ceilings, dimly lit with fairy lights, soon opening up to a large warehouse room, complete with stage area, chairs and a small fire in the centre.  Couples grouped around the fire, drinks served and children chased the host’s dog around the enormous space. On the walls hung mirrors and beautifully weathered old signs. Building materials flanked the walls. Everyone mingling, chatting, until Caitlin Harnett took the stage, dwarfed by the soaring pressed metal roof.

She stands up with no microphone and apologises for having drunk a little too much the night before. Everyone settles quietly into chairs, onto the fake grass floor, and Caitlin sings.

Her voice carries perfectly in the space: the melancholy vibrato hovering out with a hint of the old country twang. Two possums creep in and settle in the corner. A child starts quietly drumming along on his chair and we laugh as she thanks him for the percussion section. Her stories of heartache and breakups are more humorous due to their universal and relatable truths.

We love her. She plays an encore. 

I have been to a few Parlour gigs now. All special in their own way, but this one has been my favourite. The setting was magical with the music so perfectly filling up the space.

The hosts, Sioux and Tim, fired up the BBQ after the performance, Caitlin sat back down on the floor to talk to an endlessly appreciative audience, and more food was served and the drinking continued.   

Hours later my boyfriend arrived in time to drive a very happy me home in a temporarily patched-together truck and the evening seemed perfect. 

Review by Kat Hamer.

Video by Glenn Luck

Photo's by Alyssa Amelia