If you constantly find yourself on a budget and bored on a Sunday afternoon, say no more, the National Gallery of Victoria has your back and have curated an epic summer line up of wonderful Melbourne musicians to keep your musical tastebuds satisfied. These events invite people of all ages, to come and hang out in the NGV’s luscious backyard and see some of Melbourne’s upcoming bands and DJ’s perform under the mesmerising stained glass roof of the gallery, whilst also being able to check out some cool art, entirely for free. To kick off this summer series, the lovely Gabriella Cohen took to the stage to enchant her audience with her playful and energetic set.
Gabriella Cohen is currently kicking goals after the release of her debut album ‘Full Closure and No Details’ last year. Since this release, she has appeared at a string of Australian festivals, concluded a North American tour and is also getting ready to head to Austin, Texas as a part of the prestigious SXSW lineup. Nevertheless, Cohen and her band’s gratitude for being able to play at Melbourne’s NGV was clear as she repeatedly acknowledged that to be playing the event was ‘such an honour’.
Cohen began her set solo, starting by trying to woo a sparse and slightly ill-attentive audience with an instrumental of the very entrancing and sleepy ‘Dream Song’. As the crowd filled in, most of the audience were actually sat on the floor in front of the stage, which for myself was a little unusual, but it did make for a very relaxed and laid-back feeling within the room. Inviting other band members to the stage, including Cohen’s part time guitarist, full-time soul sister, Kate Dillon, Cohen and band played a set that previewed a bunch of exciting new songs that fans haven’t heard before.
Gabriella’s wonderfully zany nature coupled with Kate’s onstage wildness proved to be a chemistry that only seemed natural with the two of them feeding off each other’s energy and grooving together. A highlight of the show was a duet of Cohen’s most recent single ‘Miserable Baby’. As the audience was asked to quiet down, Cohen and Dillon shared a microphone and swayed as they sung the song in a Capella, sweetly.
Cohen balanced her set well with a mixture of soft ballads and some louder full band tracks. In contrast to songs like ‘Miserable Baby’, she played catchy tunes from her debut album like ‘Sever the Walls’, and ‘Downtown’ which went down a treat and got the audience bobbing around on the floor. Playing to such a diverse audience would have been freeing for the young singer/songwriter as she was given the opportunity to share vibrant new songs without too many expectations from fans. Concluding with lead single ‘I Don’t Feel So Alive’ the show was closed with a particular feeling of warmth. Cohen’s twangy and simple chords complimented the summery Sunday afternoon well and ultimately lulled her audience into a meditative hour of bliss.
A part of the Summer Sundays is also being able to see some of the free galleries before or after the set. Currently NGV have a range of different limited exhibitions to visit including the Viktor&Rolf for kids space that allowed kids to create magical fashion accessories to use in the photo booths, or you can take a walk through Jeppe Hein’s ‘Semicircular Space’ which is reflective and distorting in itself.
Summer Sundays continue for the next three weeks at NGV International with super impressive acts like Ali Barter, Emma Russack and Camp Cope headlining each week respectively. Spend your next Sunday in the sun and enjoying what the NGV has to offer.
Gabriella Cohen’s Full Closure and No Details will excitingly be reissued for international release in March, but for Australian fans is available for purchase HERE.