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Australian produce Stella Donnelly and Alex the Astronaut made 300 new friends at the Corner

When two of Australia’s greatest up-and-coming singer-songwriters team up for a co-headlining national tour, one expects great things. 

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Flackseed

Stella Donnelly and Alex the Astronaut, opened by Melburnian Alexander Biggs, delivered great music. Though at one of Melbourne’s premier live music venues, these two made you feel like you were kicking back in your friend’s loungeroom.

The room was buzzing with a mixture of excitement and beer, but Stella Donnelly moseyed onto the stage so nonchalantly that the crowd hardly noticed her appear. After a quick “Hello,” she flew into a cover of Lianne La Havas’ ‘No Room for Doubt’; her swinging vocals reminiscent of Tash Sultana’s ‘Jungle’ vibrato, the minor key sweeping the crowd into a sense of dissociation. After playing unreleased tunes – touching on themes such as stingy bosses (‘You Owe Me’) and shitty Tinder dates (‘Should Have Stayed at Home’) – she played through Thrush Metal. ‘Boys Will Be Boys’ was unsurprisingly the highlight. Donnelly’s vocals were true to her recordings, and whenever she offered freestyle inflections not a single note was missed. The emotion conveyed through the plucking of her baby-pink electric was palpable.

After a break, Alex the Astronaut carried her acoustic on with a smile. Her presence was as endearing as her bush poetry-esque lyrics. She was chatty, regaling the crowd with self-deprecating stories. She looped the crowd into every aspect of her performance, whether she was shutting down hecklers, outing her cousin’s antics, or coordinating claps in the chorus of ‘Rock Star City’. Alex also directed a canon during an unreleased song that left fans trying to inconspicuously dab their eyes. A highlight of Alex’s set was ‘Not Worth Hiding’, prefaced by thanking the audience for taking these issues seriously; she dedicated the song to all the 14-year-olds who were currently struggling with sexuality and identity, which made the atmosphere all the more electric.

Alex invited Donnelly back onstage mid-set to cover Peter, Bjorn and John’s ‘Young Folks’ and again at the end of Alex’s set to perform Jimmy Eat World’s ‘The Middle’.

Though the night was a double-headliner, all three artists shared such friendly chemistry that it felt as though you’d been to an intimate recording session; Biggs baked Donnelly and Alex ANZAC biscuits, and Donnelly and Alex infected the crowd with the amount of fun they were having together onstage. Donnelly’s mid-song adlibs made the audience laugh so hard she could hardly stop herself from laughing at her own jokes, and Alex’s anecdotes cemented her as the next generation’s answer to Paul Kelly; they made this night much more than just another indie concert.

 

Highlight: Alex and Stella telling Tony Abbott to get fucked.

Lowlight: Alex came on about 15 minutes early, so a few of her first songs were missed by a portion of the crowd.

Crowd favourite: Jimmy Eat World’s ‘The Middle’.