Review: Julia Michaels9 September 2019
We all have an inner monologue, that little persistent voice inside that narrates our every thought and feeling, but Julia Michaels has taken it to the next level, bringing her Inner Monologue Tour to Melbourne, for one night only.
Despite a sudden Spring deluge, fans excitedly lined up in the rain on September 4, wrapping around the Forum and extending up Melbourne’s laneways. Once inside, concertgoers had the chance to make their own inner monologue signs, not only giving an opportunity for self-expression, but giving fans a free memento of the evening, something scarcely provided without cost.
It was a surprise that an artist of such status, was playing at a venue as intimate as The Forum. After all, Julia is a Grammy nominee and has toured with the likes of Keith Urban and P!nk. However, the intimate nature of The Forum is intuitively the perfect setting for her insightful and personal lyrics.
Rhys Lewis, 26 year old singer songwriter, performed as Julia’s supporting act for the first time in Melbourne, and the two will continue touring the world together until mid-November. Although previously unknown to many, Rhys had the crowd enthralled with his enchanting voice and insightful lyrics.
Before Julia’s set, the stage was decorated with a large sign noting that it was a judgement free zone, and that singing and dancing was very much encouraged. Throughout the night, the crowd definitely followed through, with people dancing along and reciting her lyrics word for word with gusto.
Julia’s band took to the stage one by one, each receiving roars from the audience, before Julia joined them in a bright yellow outfit, setting the tone for the bubbly set to follow. Julia was dancing and jumping around the stage, at times her and her band were snaking their way across the stage follow the leader style, and she was perhaps one of the most enthusiastic and energetic performers I’ve seen live. Her energy was contagious, and she often made a point to thank everyone for coming to spend the evening with her, and for supporting her musical journey.
Girls and guys alike related to songs like ‘Falling for Boys’, which talks about the struggles of perpetually falling for the wrong sort of guys, and ‘What a Time’, a song about reminiscing on the times spent with an ex, which on her album is recorded with Niall Horan. ‘Deep’ was another popular track performed on tour, and the lyrics which toss between being in love and being heartbroken were sung loudly by Julia’s devoted crowd.
‘Anxiety’ was certainly (and unsurprisingly) a favourite, with everyone singing along to the song which so eloquently explained all of those unexplainable feelings that go hand in hand with having anxiety. Julia’s ability to turn topics surrounding mental health into chart climbing songs not only says a lot about her talent as an artist, but also goes a long way to reducing the stigma that surrounds mental health issues, and gets people talking. At one point, Julia asked the crowd to put their hands up if they had experienced anxiety or depression, and the amount of people willing to publicly declare that they had, was heart-warming. The connection that many of her fans have to her raw and honest lyrics shows the power of music and song, and was clearly seen throughout the night. Julia declared to everyone that she gets far less nervous on stage when everyone is singing along with her. With that in mind, the atmosphere of the concert felt like a collective of friends coming together to bond over music that each could relate to in one way or another, rather than complete strangers coming to see a celebrity.
At one point Julia made her way onto the floor, with those in attendance parting like the Red Sea to allow her to walk through to the middle of the standing area. From here she sang a couple of songs amongst her fans, playing her beloved ukulele and not seeming bothered by the masses of phones all trying to capture an up-close glimpse of the star. It felt as though Julia truly wanted to share herself with her fans.
The show of course ended with the song that brought Julia into the spotlight in the first place, ‘Issues’.
For an artist who has already clearly made her mark on the industry, it is clear that Julia Michaels is someone special. Her lyrics are both beautiful and heartbreaking, but relatable in some way to everyone, and her performance at The Forum was energising and genuine. The engagement of her band was also paramount to the holistically wonderful performance.
Thank you, Julia, for sharing your inner monologue with Melbourne.