Concert Review: Julia Deans

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By Glenn Blomfield

Artist: Julia Deans

Date / Venue: Saturday September 1st, 2018 - The Tuning Fork, Auckland

What makes the best compliment to a concert? When you straight away buy the CD. Well that's what exactly I did. Julia Deans graced us with a night at The Tuning Fork music with a five piece band, which was part of a tour of concerts for her new album ‘We Light Fire’. Most Kiwis will know Julia Deans from the Band ‘Fur Patrol’ which grew into popularity in the early 2000s, with the single ‘Lydia’ hitting number one on NZ charts.

I definitely had a connection with Julia Deans. Her music does sweep you in. I like that feeling of being captivated with the music. You just loose concept of time, enjoying the experience. The audience was at a breathing silence, a general politeness of willing to be taken away with the music. Julia Deans really has this impressive melodic and haunting touching melancholy in her voice and the music, and yet with some songs there is those rings of pop music, that widens its general appeal with the audience.

There is this sense of acceptance with Julia that I guess I can best describe with that bond of her vulnerability. That brooding underlining of emotional truths, and burdens of sadness and contrasting happiness.  The slow and sweet, touching song like ‘Chelsea’ with lyrics “opening our hearts… jealously is the loneliness nights”. Julia Deans voice certainly is drawing you in, with its high melodic pitches and sweeping long moments that feels like moments of thought and contemplation.

The first song of the evening ‘Clandestine’ was a slow paced opener. With bluesy soul undertones, you can imagine yourself in a quiet smokey jazz like bar - in some magical late hour, like a scene from a David Lynch film and Twin Peaks. ‘Clandestine’ is a great song. Actually I think all the songs from the evenings show are great. Deans picks things up with ‘Walking in the Sun’, pop melody running through, and ‘The Panic’, catchy and upbeat with moments played on the ‘KORG’ organ playful and fun. I love that dreamy sounding voice Julia Deans has.

‘We Light Fire’ the title song of the album, is a great way of giving some type of a summary and theme to Julia Deans show as well as the new album. That burning fire in us, fire is used in many forms of connection with people across all cultures and religions, for example in rituals, celebration, fire for warmth, the language of fire as emotion is understood by everyone. I genuinely felt a journey of vulnerability through the evening's concert. A touching of emotions, she best described herself during the night when talking to the audience at the end of the night “A big warm Hug”.

People may find connection with her music to others like Kimbra and Lana Del Ray. I even found Chris Isaak, all mixed in the melting pot, that is the very unique Julia Deans. This brings me back to the very beginning of my review, the best compliment to the night was immediately buying the her new album ‘We Light Fire’. Do yourself the same. Fantastic evening concert, and also a beautiful new album. High praise.