“It’s good to be back Brisbane” Conrad Sewell exclaimed as he walked across the stage. The sold out crowd were screaming in admiration as the singer-songwriter soaked in the electric atmosphere of this special hometown show. And that it was. The intimate and vulnerable showcase saw him stripping everything back and delivering these heartfelt songs in their raw format to a very appreciative crowd. Joined by just a guitarist, a keyboardist and 3 backing vocalists his usual bold band sound was a little more stripped back and intimate. Opening with new track “Real World’ he did use this set to test out a lot of new material from his forthcoming debut album which the crowd willingly obliged to. ‘Love Me Anyway’ and ‘Right Now’ followed before he gave the crowd some material they proudly knew the words to. A more sedated rendition of ‘Hold Me Up’ lead into the piano ballad ‘Start Again’ that had Sewell sitting down at the Keyboard by himself and belting out.
Throughout the night he candidly spoke to the crowd about the stories behind these songs and opened up like he has never have before. With a lot of his family and friends in the crowd he was a little more personal than usual. Before ‘Come Clean’ he addressed his substance abuse and the personal importance and inspiration behind getting clean. He then brought his keyboardist back on stage to perform his new single ‘Changing’ which reflects on realising that you’ve treated someone badly in a relationship and taking recognition that you’ve made a negative impact on their life and don’t like how they are changing because of your actions. After getting a little personal he then addressed heartbreak on the big singalong ‘Remind Me’ before paying homage to Michael Jackson with a beautiful cover of ‘Man In The Mirror’. He then returned to the new music portion of the show with the ambitious ‘Can We Talk’ and ‘Neighbourhood’ and the romantic ‘I’m Bound’ which offered some strong and promising moments.
During the whole night he continued to give the crowd intimate and candid anecdotes that instantly made you feel like you were sitting in a lounge room listening to him perform. His vocals were powerful and had this raw element that was captivating. He wished his guitarist Matthew Copley a happy birthday by getting the passionate crowd to join in on a singalong before closing the show with a stripped back version of ‘Firestorm’. But after a little chant he returned for the anthemic ‘Healing Hands’ which had the crowd singing along louder and even more passionately than they had been the whole night. It was an incredibly intimate show that held onto the raw essence his music has always embodied and further explored the gospel inspired sound his new music is heading towards.
Opening for Conrad Sewell was New Zealand’s current rising star, Mitch James. His debut self-titled album will finally be released on September 14 and hears him vulnerably introducing him to listeners with a very honest and direct delivery. Launching straight into ‘Can’t Help Myself’ he took the opportunity to educate the crowd with some of the songs that will be featuring on the soon to be released record. He was noticeably very excited to be playing his first show in Brisbane and nervously began to make fun of his own accent. Before each song he would briefly explain what it was about or gave a little candid story of the creative process which allowed people to get to know him in a less intimidating format. ‘It Ain’t Helping’ (Co-written by Six60) and ‘All The Ways To Say Goodbye’ (Co-written by Emily Warren) followed before he explained his London working experience through the song ‘No Fixed Abode’. Stripping it back even further he delivered a captivating cover of King Princess’ ‘1950’ before also diving into the other piano ballad ‘No Getting Older’. Rounding the set off with the upbeat ‘Old News’, ’21’ and ‘Move On’ he delivered a sound that was reminiscent of early Maroon 5 meets Ed Sheeran. His genuine and grateful personality made him instantly likeable and you couldn’t help but have a massive soft spot for his emotional tracks.