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by reception
posted 13/05/2019

REVIEW: Lupa J & Sarah Belkner & BRENDAN MACLEAN

Lupa J & Sarah Belkner & BRENDAN MACLEAN @ Red Rattler, Marrickville 11 May 2019

Reviewed by Gavin Vance

Wow! I’d only ever seen him do a one-off track with recorded backing in a club here and there. Brendan MacLean is sharp and fierce and fully loaded as a live act. His band gives him full and phat support.

His latest release And The Boyfriends is a diverse affair which sees him digging deeper than his previous more poppy numbers. This is the artist stripped back a bit. More emotional. Not afraid to let his sweet voice take front and centre. On this night at The Red Rattler – the launch of the new release – he is all of those things: vulnerable and raw, only sporting a skimpy leotard under falling-down slacks and some kind of harness. Not Too Stoned is a stand-out, a loping, tripping, little beast of a thing, both menacing and paranoid, and already proving to be more ear-wormy (in a good way) than almost anything else we’ll hear this year. And his duet with Sarah Belkner is sublime. Her own act in support – think Kate Bush and then some – is pure, uplifting pop! And the support first up is Lupa J whose thin but beautifully soaring voice transports as it floats above breezy upbeat tunes. She is both danceable and lyrical, complete with violin plucks and strains, and Eurythmics ‘Sweet Dreams’-styled squelches from the keyboards. One to watch!

Maybe Red Rattler in Marrickville – the coolest and quirkiest of inner-west hangs with its mismatched antique chairs, moody red lighting, and fem-collectivist feel – coulda stayed open longer for us, but they should be proud of playing host to acts like these!

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