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Her Sound, Her Story @ Queens Hall, State Library Victoria

Year after year, the opening night event of Melbourne Music Week encapsulates the current music trends, topical issues and local artists that are making a mark on the Melbourne music scene. Her Sound, Her Story: A Celebration Of Women In Music was no exception. Proudly introducing the exhibition and video series by photographer Michelle Grace Hunder and filmmaker Claudia Sangiorgi Dalimore, the show offered up an incredible all-women lineup, held in the very fitting Queens Hall.
 
As people filled the pink-washed historic space, excitement built and wonder wafted around the room. MC for the night was the ridiculously charming Ella Hooper. Electronic artist Nyne was first to perform with Bad Trip and gave the crowd all some kick to dance to, wrapped around her euphoric, reverbed vocals. Afterwards, Mojo Juju greeted the warmed audience with Your Love and Son Little’s Your Love Will Blow Me Away When My Heartaches. If the singer/songwriter didn’t already have fans in the palm of her hands, Drake’s Hotline Bling definitely got them there. Next up, Elizabeth Rose reached back to 1994 to find Tina Arena’s Wasn’t It Good and proved that there’s nothing better than an oldie but a goodie.
 
Soon it was time to bring out the highly anticipated collaborative performances. First off were Airling and Joanna from Big Scary, followed by epic duo Mojo Juju and Ella Hooper who pulled off Kira Puru’s All Dulled Out. Ella Hooper then took the crowd into her Monkey Mind with some quirky dance moves to boot. As expected, the Killing Heidi vocalist reminded us all exactly what it takes to hold a stage. Bringing her daughter on stage with her to sing Kasey Chamber’s Not Pretty Enough, Mama Kin shared the first surprise of the evening; Vera Blue was in the building. Joining her onstage was the one and only, Montaigne. The bittersweet nature of hearing the pair tackle Ngaiire’s Fall Into My Arms and acoustic cover of Blue’s very own Hold set in as it was realised that such performance perfection would not be accessible after the event.
 
Montaigne offered up a rendition of Julia Stone’s Let’s Forget All The Things That We Say in both English and French. After Because I Love You, the local talent introduced Stone who covered Meg Mac’s Never Be. Ecca Vandal was sure to cause a stir with her version of Killing Heidi’s Weir, but who thought she’d be able to carry it just as well as its originator. Thanking the audience for “Turning up for women in music,” Vandal captured the sentiment that was widespread around the hall.
 
Last but certainly not least, Sampa The Great arrived to perform F E M A L E in among the featured female artists that had taken the stage to celebrate the show’s conclusion. The ultimate double dose of urban flavour, Sampa The Great was soon joined by Vandal for the most self-empowering version of James Brown’s Man’s World to date. Sampa The Great summed the night up in her quick-witted rap as she proclaimed "I've got a crown on my head and I show it, I'm a queen and I know it"
 
By Phoebe Robertson
 
Highlight: Vera Blue stripped back.
Lowlight: Being short – as always.
Crowd Favourite: Everyone loves Ella Hooper.