Why Angus & Julia Stone left me breathless

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Image photographed by Hannah Kenny

When I heard the unexpected news that Angus and Julia Stone were en route to my hometown of Geelong to tour their latest album, Snow, I immediately began strategising how I was going to get my hands on a ticket as I knew it would take only a matter of moments for the show to reach sell-out point.

Though I’ve always been unjustifiably weirded out by people who go to the movies on their own, I vowed that if no one was willing to join me at Deakin’s Costa Hall on Friday May 18, I would happily attend solo.

Why was I so adamant on being there? Having listened to their music religiously since the tender age of 11 when their first studio album, A Book Like This (2007) was released, it’s safe to shamelessly proclaim that I am a die-hard “fan girl”.

An iconic brother and sister duo from the northern beaches in Sydney, Australia, the vocal and instrumental dissimilarities between the siblings somehow connect harmoniously to deliver a sound that is emotionally charged, ethereal and charming.

Their four records A Book Like This (2007), Down the Way (2010), Angus and Julia Stone (2014) and Snow (2017), are as dreamy as they are angelic, with each album representing why Angus’ soft, versatile voice compliments Julia’s waves of hauntingly beautiful soprano, a unique balance that electrifies their world class indie-folk style.

Known for lyricising separately before collaborating, Snow is now famous for being the first record that the pair has written together. Recorded on Angus’ eight-acre farm in Byron Bay with their three-piece band using old cars as amplifiers, the duo stripped back to basics and worked closely with one another following their hiatus from music.

I don’t know if it was the coastal sun or the crisp ocean air, but Snow is undeniably the most artistically refined record the Stones have ever made. Can you blame me for wanting to witness it live?

As you’ve probably gathered, yes, I did manage to obtain a highly sought-after entry to their Geelong gig – and yes, it was nothing short of magical.

Despite my romantic feelings for Angus, Julia was absolutely mesmerising.  

The personality of the show, Julia loved connecting with the audience and igniting conversation, an important live aspect for fans like me. Her quirkiness and heavenly nature juxtaposed against Angus’ modest shyness and gave insight into how their music works, exactly what I was hoping for.

Fun fact: Angus and Julia indulged in some wine and cheese prior to the show at Union Street Wine bar in the city. Image – Pinterest

A personal highlight of the night occurred before the pair played their famous hit, Big Jet Plane. Angus obscurely reveals that he wrote the song after meeting a girl one weekend at a music festival. At first, he does a terrible job at explaining the inspirations behind the track. Angus and Julia begin playing the song before Angus stops and returns to the mic to say “sorry, I just explained that f**king horribly”. It was here that Angus delved into detailing his muse, stating that Big Jet Plane is the story of falling for someone and never being given the opportunity to see them again.

Angus and Julia Stone performing at Deakin’s Costa Hall on Friday May 18 – Photo taken by Hannah Kenny

Though I found Costa Hall to be a rather strange host-venue choice considering:

  1. It’s the university where I study at
  2. It’s quite restricted in terms of alcohol consumption
  3. It’s rather formal,

my best friend Sarah and I managed to make it work by:

  1. Ignoring the fact that we both study here
  2. Sneaking alcohol into Costa Hall underneath my oversized jacket
  3. Screaming “I love you Angus” during every pause

The disapproving stare from the security guard on the sidelines achieved little in winding the pair of us down. A little worried when a drunken Sarah waddled off to the toilet and took nearly an entire song to return, I took this opportunity to listen and engage without any distractions.

What can only be described as the perfect adult-lullaby music, Angus and Julia lived up to the idealistic reputation I had handcrafted in my mind all those years ago. A simply serene performance with uncomplicated yet effective lighting and sound production, the minimalism in the stage setup allowed for the musicians to literally steal the show – and I can tell you this much for free, they sounded even better in the flesh. 

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HANNAH KENNY
Hannah is a graduate year journalist who enjoys writing using an array of storytelling methods. Her experiences interning at local magazines in the Geelong area have inspired Hannah to continue working in print media. With her interests ranging from art, literature and fashion to Australian news, foreign affairs and women's rights, Hannah is eager to hone her skills in a professional and supportive environment.

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