Published May 31, 2010Australian folk pop duo Angus & Julia Stone made their Montreal debut to a packed house at L'Astral, greeting the audience with the acoustic "All of Me." The crowd fell silent in awestruck admiration as the musical duo delivered their set and closed with hushed voices trailing off as they sang "goodbye to my Santa Monica dream."
Joined by Matt Johnson on drums and Rob Calder on bass, Angus stared intently at Julia between songs, submissively taking his cues. Content to leave his sister to between-song-banter duty, he rarely engaged the audience; the only unrehearsed comment escaping from his lips was to praise her. "Isn't she great?" he blurted out after Julia gracefully got through her performance of "And the Boys" in the midst of frustrating technical problems. The distraction caused her to trip up on one of her verses, but the lines she patched together in the throes of her laughing at herself just added to her charm, oddly making the song even more appealing. The crowd lapped it up, rewarding her with vigorous cheers in response to Angus's encouraging prompt.
Julia's charismatic stage presence and musicianship, as she switched effortlessly between guitar, keyboard, harmonica and trumpet, unveiled the strength beneath her elfin childlike mannerism and baby voice, attesting to the talent and guts that brought them thus far. Her intimate rendition of "You're the One That I Want" from Grease enthralled spectators, while Angus's guitar solo on "Yellow Brick Road" was a real crowd pleaser that resulted in satisfied head bobs. A stand-out track on Down the Way, the latter song was brought to new heights with his live performance, and likely helped convince anyone sitting on the fence to jump onboard.