Julia Jacklin @ YES, Manchester, 28 Nov
Sydney's premier purveyor of lovelorn confessionals plays a low-key basement show as she gears up for a huge 2019
"I’ll play one old song for every new one, so it’s even. I don’t want to neglect any of them. It’d be like choosing between your kids."
Clearly, Julia Jacklin’s approach to this low-key tour, intended to showcase fresh material, is an even-handed one. It doesn’t feel as if she’s been away from Manchester very long – she was last here a little over a year ago, on a victory lap behind her breakthrough 2016 debut Don’t Let the Kids Win – but after the success of a plum US support slot to First Aid Kit earlier in the Autumn, she’s elected to play a quick handful of European dates as she comes over to conduct press obligations for next year’s sophomore LP, Crushing.
The underplayed nature of tonight's show is only enhanced by the fact that it’s in the basement of new venue YES, the smaller of its spaces; the Sydney native could easily have sold out the bigger Pink Room upstairs, and indeed is already well on her way to doing so, with a second date pencilled in for next March. Tonight, the hardcore respond reverently to a slew of new tracks which sound instrumentally richer than the Don’t Let the Kids Win cuts, while retaining a confessional lyrical bent – Pressure to Party, a symphony in millennial angst, is among the early highlights.
One track in particular involves two long pauses at crucial moments, so Jacklin asks ahead of time that the audience wait until the third stop to start applauding – they oblige impeccably. This is as relaxed as Jacklin has ever seemed in front of a Manchester crowd, which lends the boisterous closer Coming of Age and unplanned encore Hay Plain a little bit of extra pep; with the stakes low tonight, she knows she can save the theatrics for next time.