Program Schedule

Download PDF Version
On Air : Listen

Julia Holter- PIAF Festival Gardens

Tuesday 11th February / presented by Adam Trainer

When she was first in Perth just over a year ago Julia Holter played to a small crowd of no more than 70 – more inquisitive than attentive – as part of the Laneway festival. Since that time she has released her third studio album, Loud City Song, to almost universal critical acclaim (it made four out of five Out To Lunch Top Tens last year), and her profile certainly seems to be on the rise. With this in mind, Holter clearly still only has cult appeal in Perth, as it was a small, but significantly more attentive and engaged audience who turned out on a Monday night to see her play at Festival Gardens.

Matt Mondanile of Brooklyn indie-rock outfit Real Estate opened the show with his solo Ducktails project, offering a short, disarming set of jaunty pop confections, playing guitar and singing over backing tracks. It was a pleasant and upbeat way to begin, but like many shows in the Festival Gardens, the large audience space was populated early on by a rather tiny contingent, as punters milled about in the bar before the main act. Mondanile didn’t seem too perturbed, but it did feel like he was playing to a handful of attentive listeners and vacuum of absentees.

Thankfully by the time Julia Holter and band took to the stage the numbers had filled out, though not significantly. It must be disconcerting for performers who can play to packed houses in larger cities to walk on stage in Perth and play to a (just over) half empty venue with a capacity of 1400. Nonetheless, Holter and her four accompanists (cello, violin, drums and saxophone) didn’t falter musically, maintaining an excellent balance between arranged tightness and less structured atmospherics. Seeming rather cool and detatched at first, after several numbers Holter warmed, as the mood of the crowd lifted.

By mid-set Holter seemed perfectly comfortable, and the audience – some of whom may have been less than familiar with the material – had settled into a keen and appreciative vibe. Although they stuck mostly to material from Loud City Song, with ‘Maxims I’ and ‘In the Green Wild’ particular standouts, the set was scattered with a few newer numbers, consolidating Holter as a prolific writer (three full-length albums in three years is evidence of that). Arguably the highlight of the main set though, was ‘Marienbad’ – the opening number from 2012’s Ekstasis, which encapsulated Holter’s demure yet pristine vocal style, and her peerlessly subtle but emotive compositional prowess.

After a short spell the band returned for a two song encore: a new song, and a welcome rendition of ‘Goddess Eyes’, a tune which appears on Holter’s debut Tragedy and again twice on Ekstasis. It provided a gorgeous denouement to an impeccable set, perhaps made even more special by the fact that it was shared with a small but attentive crowd.

One can only hope that Julia Holter will continue her prolificacy in terms of recorded output, that this will bring her back Perth soon – and that in the meantime a few more will catch on to her beguiling brand of avant-pop. Next time it would be nice to greet her with the rapturous welcome that such a talent deserves.

Photo credit: Toni Wilkinson

Tags In This Story

All live musical performances are included in our podcasts with the express permission of artists, who reserve all other rights in their music. All music used in our podcasts is licensed under an APRA Community Broadcasting license agreement.

Latest Stories

Andrew Cox’s Treemendus Chord

Friday 21st February

Andrew Cox’s Treemendus Chord

Sound therapist Andrew Cox joins us in studio to chat a little bit about sound therapy […]

Climate Change – Fossil Fuel to Renewable Energy

Friday 21st February

Climate Change – Fossil Fuel to Renewable Energy

Peter Newman, a professor of Sustainability at Curtin University discusses an air-powered generator, a device that […]

Movie Squad: Guns Akimbo & Honeyland

Friday 21st February

Movie Squad: Guns Akimbo & Honeyland

The Movie Squad return for another week, this week Movie Squad Podcast guest host Cecilia Allen […]

The Business of Being a Writer with Georgia Richter

Friday 21st February

The Business of Being a Writer with Georgia Richter

Georgia Richter from Fremantle Press, chatted with RTRFM about the Business of Being a A Writer, […]

Literature & Ideas – Ahmed Yussuf

Friday 21st February

Literature & Ideas – Ahmed Yussuf

Writer and journalist Ahmed Yussuf is the co-editor of Growing Up African in Australia, the first non-fiction anthology […]

Saturday Slowdowns – Pig Melon

Friday 21st February

Saturday Slowdowns – Pig Melon

Founder of Pig Melon Gallery Leigh joins us in studio to chat about the first instalment of […]

Literature & Ideas – Heather Rose

Friday 21st February

Literature & Ideas – Heather Rose

Heather Rose is the author of eight novels for both adults and children. In 2017 her […]

URBAN LEGENDS SPECIAL! (Midnight Special Podcast)

Thursday 20th February

URBAN LEGENDS SPECIAL! (Midnight Special Podcast)

For this episode of the Midnight Special Podcast, tis’ going to be’th a spooky audio journey! […]