Gig Review by Olivia Faye Wood with Photography by Megan Levers

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With support from Keto, Julia Jacklin plus band took to the stage to woops and applause in the intimate basement room of The Soup Kitchen, Manchester, the stench of cheesy feet not seeming to perturb band nor audience. Filling the room with her warming, self-assured vocals and indie-alt rock/country sound, with lyrics that explore the intimate intricacies and universal qualities of relationships and life, Jacklin was enchanting.

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Moving effortlessly between tracks from her debut album ‘Don’t Let the Kids Win’, along with new songs “About watching the stars and Steve Erwin”, Jacklin’s focus never strayed to the awed sea of magnetic gazes that fell upon her, but beyond them. Stunning harmonisation with the drummer cast an enthralled silence, with every audience member swooning over Jacklin’s dreamy, perfect vocals. The diversity of the album is all-the-more apparent live, from the louder, crowd pleasers ‘Coming of Age’, ‘Pool Party’ and ‘Leadlight’ (“No one ever sings along to this song”), to the quieter solo performances of ‘Elizabeth’, ‘Sweet Step’ and ‘Small Talk’ (an absolute favourite of mine). The final album-title track ‘Don’t Let The Kids Win’ truly won the hearts and flooded the eyes of the audience members. I felt almost uncomfortable listening to such an emotional and raw performance, so personal, yet immediately relatable, with lines: “Don’t let the time go by/ Without sitting your mother down/…tell her it’s okay/ If she puts herself first”. Yet it was the encore of ‘Someday’ by The Strokes, that stole the show, with Jacklin making the cover completely new, completely hers.

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Stepping off the stage to whistles and rapturous applause-impressive for such a small venue- Jacklin must have known that she had caught every audience member on a line. Her presence and her music exude warmth, a quality that creeps up on you, embracing your heart until you sway with the pleasure of its loveliness.

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