Endearing, relatable and mesmerising; Angie McMahon is a superstar

Selling out a show at the Corner Hotel is no small feat, particularly for an artist who has only released two songs. While the weather outside was dismal, Melbourne-based supports Merpire and RAT!hammock warmed up the bandroom nicely, leaving the crowd buzzing with anticipation.

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Zachary Snowdon Smith

What followed was a false start, where the red velvet curtains opened to rapturous applause, only for it to die down as soon as the crowd realised the stage was empty. When Angie McMahon and bandmates Alex O’Gorman and Lachlan O’Kane finally appeared a few minutes later, the cheers were twice as loud.
Endearing herself to the eager crowd early by almost tripping over a guitar stand, McMahon declared, “I’m very nervous,” before launching into the first spine-tingling song of the set. She had no reason to be concerned. She’s had a stratospheric rise over the past 12 months, winning the 2017 Josh Pyke Partnership, supporting the likes of Angus & Julia Stone, The Shins and Father John Misty, and taking out a spot in triple j’s Hottest 100 with her debut single ‘Slow Mover’. The crowd were clearly on board; so bewitched by her performance and focussed on staying in the moment that there was barely a phone in sight.
The great fortune afforded to McMahon in such a fickle industry wasn’t lost on her. She shared how she had an irrational fear that despite the show being sold out, no one would turn up, instead staying home to watch Harry Potter. This was followed by one of many dedications to be littered throughout the show, firstly for her manager, Charlotte.
Throughout the set, McMahon’s vocal tone switched between a softer, folky sound reminiscent of Julia Jacklin, to a glorious mix of soulful powerhouses Meg Mac and Hannah Reid, all while remaining completely her own. ‘Stand Out’ in particular showcased the versatility and range of McMahon’s voice through its punchy, yet delicate elements. Given the strength of the performance, it’s hard to believe she was forced to pull out of shows in the UK mere weeks ago after losing her voice.
An eruption of cheers from the crowd met the familiar opening chords of ‘Missing Me’, before the band slowed the tempo down to allow McMahon’s vulnerability to shine. Despite only playing together for a year, the band are a tight unit. So much so that when it came time for McMahon to perform solo for a while, the voice in her head said, “Don’t leave me.”
Known for her honest and relatable songwriting, McMahon isn’t afraid to tackle tough topics. One of the more emotional moments came during ‘And I Am a Woman’ – a song written after a very bad dinner date involving a conversation about gender equality. “It’s a very angry sounding song in parts, but I hope the message is positive,” she said. The band backed this up with a cover of Fleetwood Mac’s ‘Silver Spring’, before McMahon teased a heckler by telling him she wouldn’t play ‘Slow Mover’.
After admitting she finds encores “quite awkward”, McMahon told fans these last two songs were definitely the last ones. The penultimate ‘Pasta’ is a tale of being tired, lost, and potentially allergic to the delicious carby substance, unsurprisingly written after eating a lot of it.
Ending on a high, McMahon declared this is “the true last song, then everyone gets to go to bed,” and “if I never see you again, it’s been great,” before the crowd broke out into a heart-warmingly impassioned singalong to ‘Slow Mover’.
Highlight: ‘Pasta’. Who doesn’t love a song about being lost, tired, and eating too many carbs?
Lowlight: Waiting until 11.30pm for McMahon and co. to begin, although she did apologise for it being so late.
Crowd favourite: ‘Slow Mover’.