Having never had the opportunity to see Mel play live, my only foray into her music catalogue was scamping through Spotify and maybe watching a handful of her well-crafted music videos on YouTube.
Mel epitomises the hard-working musician, working her arse off with constant tours of Europe, Australia & North America, her enduring hard graft has earned her fans both here & abroad, plus picking up a music award in Canada, which she is “humbled” about – bonus.
Starting the night with familiar songs she hinted at playing “songs off Drylands” she ambled through earlier works I Won’t Let You Down, True Story & Still Life.
Her band, including cousin Jed Parsons, himself an accomplished musician, were tight, masterfully adding the nuances and touches. Jokingly introducing him, “He’s not my son, or my brother.”
Get Out Alive, (after a lucky brush with death), the beautiful song Friend and Don’t Wait with cuzzie Jed on backing vocals – actually, the band were fantastic in that regard, the four-part harmonies immersing the audience as if hit by an incoming onshore wave – In a live setting it was very effective.
Letting loose with the odd expletive deleted (that’s fuck to you & me) Parsons is a breath of fresh air, one, that for myself, was inhaled and I was overcome by. Parsons is bolshie but in a nice way, she was in tune, finding rapport with her audience, bringing attention to her dresses adding “she bought in Tauranga”, then teasing again, likening it to an “ice skating” outfit.
Her songs are polished, a finesse finding their target in the audience, swirling melodies and vocal harmonies a plenty as she closed the night out with the haunting You & I and her upbeat hit Far Away.
The latter scoring brownie points with the audience as they reciprocated getting up on their feet to dance. Just a pity it was at the end of her set.
American Wilson Dixon aka comedian Jesse Griffin (or is that the other way around?) was the perfect opener for Parsons, his gentile humour tinged with original Country music songs was a breath of fresh air, not to mention hilarious – however Parsons was the main star of the show, keeping it together with simple anecdotes and her delicate timbre of a voice.
It was a show had all the elements for a great night out -song, dance, variety and her voice – Do see her live if you, like me, have only the music videos to go by – She is way better in real life.