With all the accolades that Washington has given her support act in the press, it doesn’t come as much of a surprise that she joins Lissie on stage for one of her songs, and provides the crowd with an early highlight in the night. Another one is Lissie’s cover of ‘The Pursuit of Happiness’, a well-known but still surprising rendition.
Washington emerges, appropriately tardy, looking like a dark pixie and immediately throws her whole body and energy into the performance in her characteristic style. Her band is a nice blend of clean and unkempt, looking quite smart in their shirts and dress pants in contrast to their disheveled locks. The other thing they all have in common is that they actually look like they want to be there, and the smiles and jokes between Megan and her band continue throughout the night, a welcome change from the bullshit nonchalance that many bands offer their fans.
After performing the much-loved ‘Clementine’, the audience is introduced to a new song titled ‘Plastic Bag’. It’s less keyboard driven during the verses than many of her other songs and features denser vocals with the bassist and keyboardist accompanying Megan during the choruses. Given the relentless touring that Washington have been doing since the release of I Believe You Liar last year, it’s impressive that they’ve found time to write, much less, rehearse anything new, but this song is perhaps a hint that the touch has not been lost.
Washington’s vocal crescendos throughout ‘Spanish Temper’ prompt spine tingles that don’t occur when listening to the same song on her LP. It’s one of many examples that Washington’s recordings are the Valium equivalent of her music performed live; the edge is simply knocked off.
After taunting the crowd with the suggestion that Adelaide is known for its polite and inhibited people, the band launches into ‘Rich Kids’ and Washington growls through the final chorus, before moving on to the more ballad-esque ‘Underground’. She prefaces the song by saying that she realised that young people don’t make wills and that if a young person dies, no one knows what to do with their facebook account. Her humour is often somewhat crude and dark, but it only adds to her appeal.
The crowd acts as accompaniment during ‘Underground’ and Washington steps away from the microphone to let the room sing instead, creating that lovely feeling of unity that’s found in few places other than gigs (by atheists anyway).
The difficulty presented in trying to “fade out” outside of a studio compels many bands to bring their songs to an appropriate halt when they’re played live. Washington, however, rather skillfully and brilliantly moves gradually away from her microphone to fade out during ‘Someone Else in Mind’, a song she describes as being about the two feelings she has: shame and fear.
Washington’s cover of ‘I Touch Myself’ and the accentuated haunting start to ‘Cement’ are further highlights in the set, before the band re-emerges for a two song encore, playing ‘I Believe You Liar’ and ‘1997’.
Those who dismiss Washington as an indie popster or triple j princess don’t realise the phenomenal talent that this young woman really is. She’s a host of contradictions, she’s equally well suited to swilling whiskey as she is to tying daisies around her microphone stand, and though it’s her catchy songs that have brought her wider fame, it’s her persona that endears her so much to closer fans.
– Dunja Nedic