There’s something about warehouses – the strange landscape of their ceilings, the raw and exposed insides. Parlour’s winter series at the Magic Johnson warehouse is the perfect setting to see music pared down to an intimate exchange between performer and listener.
Jen Cloher seemed relaxed and warm as she greeted the crowd seated on cushions and rugs, holding cups of mulled wine. Our chatter faded to silence as she began to play. Jen is a brilliant lyricist and a natural storyteller with raw, poetic vocals – both in her music and her between song banter with the audience she is charismatic and honest.
The crowd contained some avid fans and their enthusiasm was infectious. Mid set Jen conducted her own ‘Fleetwood Mac’ sing along, teaching us the chorus of one of her songs amidst laughter and jokes about the dagginess of audience participation. She was right though, it did feel good. And it sounded amazing!
Writing about this in some way feels cheesy, because it’s difficult to convey with words what the experience of a Parlour gig feels like. It’s hard to capture the connection you feel with the artist and their music.
Jen’s encore was perhaps the most special part of the evening. Abandoning the plugged-in instrument and microphone she’d used for the set, Jen knelt at the front of the seated audience, a little acoustic guitar propped on her knee. The instrument had belonged to her aunt, we learned in another of Jen’s intimate anecdotes about love and loss, while she picked at the strings, resonating beautifully in the silence of the warehouse. The song was haunting, and we were the first people to hear it performed live.