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Live Review : Leon Bridges, The Boundless Tour


Photo by @ryanblackburn_


It's a damp, chilly evening in Brisbane tonight, yet The Fortitude Music Hall quickly provides cosy sanctuary from the elements and, indeed, the raucous gathering of the more primal side of human nature just outside. There might not be a more perfect support for tonight than Milan Ring, her sultry vocals filling every distant corner of the room with ease. Having caught her set a couple of times in the setting of an opening act recently, one can't help but feel that she's an underrated gift to music in this country. Her debut album - I'm Feeling Hopeful - from very late last year is a gem and well worth your time.

It would be pretty difficult to dislike Leon Bridges, his natural charisma and clear talent positively drips off the man as he slides onto stage to the recent 'Born Again'. Bringing a bit of Texas into Brisbane, he knows exactly who he is and what his audience wants and isn't afraid to give it to them, perfectly playing into his role as the admired and desirable singer with a canon of songs which run the spectrum of soul, R&B, blues, funk and disco, perhaps making the line between the genres even more blurry than usual. "You know I'm always going to keep the blues alive," he confidently quips. It's a statement that is akin to an actor breaking the fourth wall, such is his remarkable ability to create an intimate and personable show in such a large sold-out room of 3,000 punters, all of who are keen to eat directly out of the singer's hand. It's actually remarkable to consider the state of music and audiences in 2022 and realise this guy is allowed to exist, his throwback sound is considered out-of-the-ordinary, and perhaps for that fact alone, can attract one of the biggest shows in a hard time for live music and selling tickets.


Recent jam 'Steam' is upfront the set and pops effectively as not only an early highlight, but also one of the best from his last year's longplayer, Gold-Diggers Sound. He actually plays an even smattering of

Photo by @jonopain

songs from each of his three albums, his debut Coming Home receiving only an extra showing. A pair of tunes from his collaboration with fellow-Texans Khruangbin receive some of the loudest reception for the evening, as does over-sentimentality of a track like 'Beyond' and the head-and-shoulders highlight of 'River' - it's just a perfect song, really.


His seven-piece band is sensational, the consummate backing for a standup soul man. The rhythm section is astounding and, if not for the frontman himself, you might not be able to tear your eyes of them. 'You Don't Know' from 2018's Good Thing shakes things into disco territory, giving Bridges and two backing singers some excellent space to shine with a three-way counter melody that lands as particularly spectacular in this setting. 'Bad Bad News' rounds out the main set, though somewhat of a more restrained version than usual. Of course, an encore ensues - two Coming Home tracks - 'Lisa Sawyer' and 'Twistin' & Groovin' - see it out in style, a genuinely grateful Bridges bows and acknowledges how lucky he is do what he does. His set feels like something of a jump to a better time, for music, at least. Don't worry, Leon, we are arguably more grateful to have you in our lives, not to mention in our town.


Photo by @fusspots


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