Sookie Lounge, October 26
Having freshly released her latest album Sarah McLeod has hit the road with Mick Skelton to bring the new record to the stage in a series of solo shows. This evenings intimate Sookie Lounge in picturesque Belgrave is the perfect setting for an evening with Sarah.
The gig is informal, its candid and Sarah is unabashedly herself, talking about how she rigs up her guitars, making jokes about people’s hearing problems which makes her all the more likeable. However, when she makes that guitar sing like its an extension of herself you’d better be listening ( as one audience member rudely on his phone found out) and you better be paying attention, because this Rock Goddess has got something to say.
Her onstage banter is casual, it feels like we’ve all been invited into her garage, even if people are reluctant to get too close to the stage, something she encourages everyone to do. She is cheeky, funny and her rapport with Mick makes the whole thing feel more intimate.
Powering through a mix of her old and new ” No one wants” , ” In the Mood” and the latest single ” Wild Hearts ” Sarah is on fire as she switches from slowed down songs mellow to powering rock anthems with ease.
” <em>One of the beautiful things about being solo is that you can sort of break out of the shackles of what you feel like you’re meant to do and ah, write songs you just like and I mainly just listen to 60s music at home, its kind of my jam and in The Super Jesus I have to write rock songs, which I also like, but with this record I thought I’d also try to fuse the two because my last EP I sought- of wrote you know the 60s songs style of music that I produced it to the time so it sounded like it was from the 60s but with this new record I decided to produce my rock style so its like 60s song writing but with big fucking dirty heavy guitars and so thats in case you sort of wonder whats going on</em>” She explains. The thing is though the big fucking dirty heavy guitars are what make this live performance so good. There is no full band- no bass player or rhythm guitarist to back her up, but Sarah’s big sound doesn’t need it- she is a band all on her own.
<em>” The last time I played here I was an acoustic act which I still dabble in from time to time and this one song that I used to play in my show that I really really liked it so I thought I would bring it to this show and do it just electric” </em>before launching into a slowed down version of ” The House of the Rising Sun” which she makes slow and sexy all at the same time, something that has not been done before with this well worn song and its a highlight of the evening.
Playing her Fender Stratocaster – a gift from Billy Thorpe to encourage her to play guitar Sarah has managed to make the gig both intimate and a solid rock and roll show. Just before closing the evening she brings a select number of fans on stage to help her in the final number a medley of Rocky’s Diner, Blue Moon and Dream easily transitioning from one song to the next and back again, making it a truly memorable moment for the fans lucky enough to be on stage.
Sarah was inspired to write the by the thought of Rocky’s Diner being a place to gather and talk about life. A diner in New York, or maybe New Orleans one imagines but tonight the Sookie Lounge has been transformed into Rocky’s Diner and we were all guest, neon sign included.
Words by Amanda Lee Starkey
Behind the lens Amanda Lee Starkey