Hatchie transformed Howler into a dream-pop oasis

Hatchie transformed Howler into a dream-pop oasis

Photo: Sophie Hur
Words by Alexander Crowden

It’s been a big year or so for Brisbane native Hatchie, or Harriette Pilbeam as she’s known offstage, with several overseas tours and the release of her tremendous debut album Keepsake not long after last year’s Sugar & Spice EP. Her Friday night show at Howler was, by her own admission, her first sold-out show in the city. Something which she was clearly rather stoked about.

After Confidence Man played a thoroughly enjoyable and wide-ranging DJ set, Hatchie and her band graced the stage unassumingly much to the delight of fairly diverse crowd. As is typical of the venue, the sound was fantastic – it only took a couple of lyrics to be sung before the vocals rang true and there was nothing in the way of sound complaints to detract from a solid hour of dreamlike music.

The setlist was sourced heavily from her debut record, as you’d expect, and the crowd lapped up every single song played. Hatchie herself has a rather unique stage presence, she looked incredibly relaxed onstage but also appeared to be humbled by her gushing crowd.

‘Her Own Heart’ was a real highlight – her sugary vocals washing over her mixed-age crowd and garnered one of the biggest applauses of the evening. Her dream pop stylings really serenaded those in attendance and with each passing song, from ‘Secret’ to older songs like ‘Try’, the mood got more and more surreal. While some shows are more two-way than others, this felt a one-way street. It felt as if the show and its songs were being played for individuals in the crowd and the effect was rather hypnotic. People, for the most part, mainly swayed and let the sublime musicianship onstage guide their movements.

Her older tracks from Sugar & Spice were met with particular enthusiasm. ‘Sure’ at the end of the set was a real bright spot and had people singing along. As the regular set finished after exactly an hour, it felt like a two or three song encore was in the offing. However shortly after Hatchie and the band departed the stage, the lights arose and that was it.

Hatchie really treated her fans to a memorable night – the perfect way to ease into the weekend with a thoroughly enjoyable hour of sweet melodies and cosy narratives.

Highlight: The atmosphere in the venue.

Lowlight: None.

Crowd favourite: ‘Sugar & Spice’.