An early show at The Roxy with drew in fans of Northwestern-based Black Belt Eagle Scout and Australia’s darling, Julia Jacklin. The place was packed with mostly young women who fan-girled over Jacklin about as die-hard as the Maggie Rogers crowd.
Unfortunately for me, I missed most of Black Belt Eagle Scout who started promptly at 8:00 p.m, as they were the band I really made the trek to Hollywood to see. I did manage to walk into a shredding solo from singer and guitarist Katherine Paul, and was immediately delighted to see three women on stage, fronting the band. Paul invited Jacklin and her drummer on stage for their final song, “Soft Stud,” Jacklin joining on guitar and singing along to the lyrics,”need you want you.”
This being my first experience with Julia Jacklin (other than some spot listening), I wasn’t sure what to expect. Her set captured just about every feeling in me, from boredom to hair raising and hopeful. Jacklin’s songs for the most part start softly with just her and her guitar, and build up and get heavier as the rest of the band is added and she sings with more intensity. The songs are simple, but her voice is warm and captivating, reminding me of Angel Olson or Maggie Rogers. And her crowd banter was incredibly charming… “I don’t get much free stuff at my tier of celebrity,” she said about getting in free to see comedian Dave Chapelle. She shared about how connecting with the crowd is the toughest part of performing live for her. “He has to keep being funny the whole time,” she said about Dave Chapelle. “I can say some dumb shit and say ‘well here’s a song'” she continued.
Throughout the set, her songs told a story. The lyrics were so clear and cutting, yet unexpected at times. Songs like “Turn Me Down” off her latest album Crushing took an unexpected turn into solo territory, as she sang “why won’t you turn me down” in a cascading natural minor scale. A soft piano duet for “When The Family Flies In” was deeply saddening. Not knowing the context beforehand, it brought to mind experiencing death in her immediate family. “You know it’s bad when the family flies in, just to stand by your side” she sang, painting a story of her hearing the bad news in the car with her friends.
Fans cheered for classics like “Pool Party,” and many in the front row knew the words to every song. If you’re a fan of folk-infused singer-songwriter type music, Julia Jacklin is your new jam. She’s on tour now, so check out her latest album, Crushing.