LIVE REVIEW: Washington – The Tivoli

Washington’s third studio album ‘Batflowers’ is an immersive pop record that brings you into this vivid kaleidoscope world she’s created. Layered by raw vulnerability and DIY production, she unravels all of her thoughts in a very cohesive and impressive manner. 

With touring off the cards due to the current global pandemic, the Brisbane singer-songwriter has been limited in showcasing this record in an visual aspect. However thanks to Brisbane Festival and The Tivoli she was able to put together a very special album launch show in her hometown which captured the full theatrical nature she originally envisioned for this record. 

Selling out three nights at the iconic venue, she brought The Tivoli into a cabaret styled seating mode and lived her full theatre dream. Dividing the show into three acts, she performed the entire record and gave every song it’s own unique and special moment. 

As the red curtains lifted to reveal Washington sitting at the piano for show opener ‘Not A Machine’, she highlighted her powerhouse vocals that have always been the source of the foundations for her music. With the power soaring through her high notes, she got up for the chaotically brilliant ‘Dark Parts’ that had everyone wanting to dance, followed by ‘Silencio’, ‘Paradise Lost’ and ‘Switches’. 

Act Two was an intimate affair that saw her on the piano performing ‘Catherine Wheel’, ‘The Give’ and ‘Lazarus Drug’, which saw a spotlight go on the giant disco ball in the middle of the theatre for a nostalgic moment of reflection. 

Ready to dance and move across the stage again, Act Three begun with ‘Move You’ which is one of the albums grooviest offerings. But then she gave the performance of the evening with the powerful ‘Achilles Heart’ which may just be the best song she’s ever written. And as you walked away from the theatre after the show, the vulnerable delivery of the lyric “No one tells you it’s gonna hurt, to get your stars crossed” was still freshly painted in your mind. 

The retrospective ‘Kiss Me Like We’re Gonna Die’ was given an old school Hollywood treatment when she disappeared behind the curtain and a projection of her singing the song was shown across the curtain. With the curtain rising one final time, Washington had changed outfits, and more balloons had filled the stage for the closing title track ‘Batflowers’. With pyrotenchics falling from the ceiling during the choruses, she said goodnight to the sold out crowd. “Thank you for coming to my party” she gushed.

Walking back onto the stage for an intimate solo encore, she performed fan favourite ‘How To Tame Lions’, a cover of Elvis Presley’s ‘Always On My Mind’ with her sister Sarah Washington, and then properly closed the show with ‘One For Sorrow’.

Joined by a three piece band and three backing vocalists, she allowed each song to sound as grand or as a tender and raw as she naturally wanted it to. Nothing was off limits to her in this show with a huge LED screen at the back of the stage, two big balloon stacks and a continuous flow from a smoke machine creating a visual aesthetic. 

It was a very theatrical show that perfectly represented the strong vision that has led this new era for her. But when you strip away all the theatrics, her vulnerable heart and raw talent was still at the very core. 

From the moment the curtain raised to the moment she took her final bow, my jaw was comfortably rested on the ground, and my attention was fixated on her. It was a stunning show that showcased her immense talent as a performer, a vocalist and a musician. And hopefully she will be able to tour this show in the near future so everyone will be able to experience the ‘Batflowers’ world. 

Check out the full gallery captured by Gabi Rankine Photography BELOW;

Photos by Gabi Rankine