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by reception
posted 11/03/2020

Review: Mavis Staples Rocks The Metro Theatre

Mavis Staples – The Metro Theatre, George St. 5 March

Reviewed by Nia Myrthil

The iconic Mavis Staples absolutely killed her performance last Thursday night at The Metro Theatre in Sydney! She indulged the audience with some new and old hits, and proceeded to leave them in awe of her old school persona.

Mavis Staples is a legendary Rhythm and Blues singer, actress, and civil rights activist from Chicago,Illinois. She has marched with Martin Luther King J.R., and has even performed for former President Barack Obama at the 2016 Kennedy’s Honor Reception. Mavis was also recently inducted into the Blues Hall of Fame in 2017 and the Rock n Roll Hall of Fame in 1999.

The Metro Theatre itself was a stunning, intimate venue that felt bonding between the audience and the performers. There were chairs sitting upfront for those who paid for reserved seating and there was standing room for general admission. Luckily, there were some stools for those who had arrived early to the general admission area, but for those who came to the venue closer to the start of the actual show had to stand up which may be a problem for some. Overall, the view was pretty great no matter where one stood, and the sound traveled through the venue really well.

The opening act, Emily Wurramara,  was an aboriginal performer who blew the audience away with her stunning indie voice and acoustic guitar. She gave insights of her life as an Aboriginal women, and how that has affected her music and style. Emily took the stage at a little after 7:00pm, and didn’t leave until after 8. The audience took such a liking to her, and she interacted well with the crowd. Given her youthful stage presence, it was very interesting to see the audience members, who were of an older age, actually enjoy her music and understand her life stories.

When a little after 8 rolled around, Mavis Staples made a grand entrance that absolutely threw the crowd into excitement. She had her guitarist come out and get the crowd hyped, and then she followed up behind with some powerful vocals. She had such a soulful voice, and made concert goers feel like they have seen and experienced Chicago Blues itself. With me being from America, I felt like I was actually back home for a moment while listening to her. She made me and the audience feel as though we were apart of a family, often calling out audience members her cousins. Her most powerful moment on stage was definitely when she sang “Wad in The Water”, and how she made the song her own with fast paced guitars and sultry background vocals.

I was really blown away by her stage presence as well. She had audience members in tears because she was so moving and kind. Mavis also encouraged dancing and people standing and having a good time. There wasn’t one song where I didn’t see the audience dancing or bopping their heads to the rhythm.

I think that Mavis did an amazing job, and gave her all for her fans. She absolutely blew me away with her performance! For those wanting to experience some good ol’ Chicago blues, Mavis Staples released an album just last year called “We Get By”, and it is available now on all streaming services. The Metro Theatre did a great job, and I would definitely recommend seeing a concert there whenever one possibly can!

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