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Angus & Julia Stone transformed the Palais into a blissful dreamland

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Image source: 
Nathan Penhall Photography

The Palais Theatre really is a different kind of animal – its neon majesty beams across the night sky, a beacon for musical mecca. Closer inspection reveals ornate archways, limestone pillars, a ceiling inside full of flourishes, the motif is detail. It’s another worldly place, an invitation to wander off the street and explore inward. A place where people can sit and dream together; listen to a story be told.
 
Fitting then, that Angus and Julia Stone played here. Their folk-laden soundscapes have always suggested a kind of dreaming. In the ethereal quality of their harmonizing voices, and the mood sketching of their ambient guitar work, you’ll find the perfect vehicle to be whisked away and find yourself in the spin of a very good yarn.
 
The stage setup was surreal – dimly lit, with heavy fog covering the stage. A large wooden owl adorned the centre. The Stones entered stage left to loud applause. Julia christened the voyage with a few dulcet notes from the trumpet before a song broke out. The pace was kept for three more tunes before the end of Oakwood had Julia chatting with the crowd. Louis Armstrong she said with reverence, played at this very place, all those years ago. It was a mystical feeling, having such a realisation. You got the feeling the walls might remember too.
 
From there Angus and Julia mixed things up with hits from their older albums and plenty of new numbers from the latest LP Snow. Chateau brought on plenty of cheer and recognition from the crowd, a man in front let out a visceral “yes” at its first high-strung note. Their moving between songs had an effortlessness to it, something that felt entirely organic. Cellar Door for instance, began as an unrecognizable jam, slowly building from scratch, layer by layer. It was like we were being shown the raw elements of something, before it was minted.
 
Other songs called for a lead in. For You, Julia said, was a love song they hadn’t missed a show with yet. A glimmering light shone behind her giving lustre to every word. Her naked voice against only the woodiness of the guitar. The stripped-back instrumentation lent her performance a quiet power, in contrast to the busier songs throughout.
 
Uptown Folks from Angus’ other project Dope Lemon made an appearance and felt massive, as the grittier guitars coasted through the large open of the theatre. Its sombre rumination on regret delivered a gentle pathos. The song’s climax brought in a crescendo of guitar and drums before the crowd showed their adoration.
 
They ended the night well by revisiting Big Jet Plane. It brought out the absolute joy of everyone in the audience and was a good reference point for the ensuing Snow. The latter saw snowfall recreated on stage. Little white paper droplets filtered down ever so gently by Julia, and her chorus of “la la las” a pleasing sound indeed. 
 
When they exited stage left, it was time to wake up again, I just wasn’t done dreaming yet.
 
Highlight: The chills that shot down my spine during Julia’s vocals for you.
Lowlight: People yelling “yeow” when they were talking on stage.
Crowd Favourite: Every time they told the crowd they were “going to do an old song.”