It’s not often that you get to see one of Australia’s biggest pop acts play an intimate venue like the Woolly Mammoth but that was the unique concept of Jessica Mauboy’s exclusive run of comeback shows. To celebrate the release of her new single ‘Sunday’ and her return for her forthcoming fourth studio album, Mauboy wanted to reintroduce herself to her biggest fans in an intimate and special way. With the crowd nearing capacity, a pre-recorded voiceover from Mauboy acknowledged the traditional owners of the land before Billy Davis & The Good Lords took to the stage for the big showcase. Jamming out to the riff of ‘Pop A Bottle’, Mauboy finally appeared donning a glittery black dress and a massive smile on her face as she looked out to the excited crowd. “I’m gonna take it back” she screamed as the disco meets R&B beat of ‘Been Waiting’ dropped before a reggae influenced version of ‘Inescapable’ and a soul interpretation of ‘Burn’ teased what was to come from her new music. Her vocals were as strong as they’ve ever been as she powered through hit after hit with ‘Saturday Night’ with special guest Briggs, ‘Can I Get A Moment’ and ‘Fallin’.
Segueing into the showcase portion of the evening Mauboy explained where the inspiration for this new record came from. “It’s been a couple of years since I last saw you. I took some time off to write my truth and to find myself again. Most of you met me when I was 16 and now we get to grow together and manifest our feelings through music and I’m so grateful for that”. After all this intimate show was all about her fans experiencing her new music for the first time and hearing the stories that inspired them. The slick R&B vibes of ‘Blessings’ kicked off the showcase portion and instantly felt like the bigger sister to her debut album ‘Been Waiting’. With this new music it feels like she’s returned to her roots and found a new found maturity and strength along the way. The soul centred ‘Get Back Up’ awkwardly starts off with the same chord progression as ‘Fallin’ but as soon as it hits the chorus you will be hooked by it’s motivating sentiment. Stripping things back for a moment was the classic ballad ‘Little Things’ which heard her getting intimate and vulnerable with the crowd with it’s stunning delivery. “I make big things out of little things. And I watch you keep missing them” she candidly sang. Wiping away a little tear she quickly started introducing the playful next track ‘Jealous’ which is a hit waiting to be unleashed. “I’m a grown woman now, I know what I want!” she quipped. “I have a fella now. He’s my sugar man. Or should I say, lover man” she gushingly and cheekily added before shaking and whipping her hair through the song. The playfulness of the song contains the essence of what you’ve always loved about her music but gracefully steps away from the bubblegum format and hears her taking inspiration from the likes of Tinashe, Janelle Monae and Mabel. As she started to thank the crowd for their continued support she announced that her new single ‘Sunday’ would be the last song of the night. But she didn’t hold back by giving a huge soulful and energetic performance of the song with Billy Davis & The Good Lords who helped creatively bring this show to life. After saying good night and walking off stage, a chant began for her to come back. “Do you want one more?” she playfully teased over the microphone before returning for an encore rendition of ‘Running Back’. She stood on the stage looking at the crowd who were cheering back in massive support and noticeably didn’t want to leave. After all, the stage was her home and tonight proved that. Her vocals are phenomenal, her banter is hilarious and her stage presence is out of this world. And don’t even get me started on how incredible the new material is, because it is.