REVIEW: Georgia Maq, Hamilton Station Hotel, Saturday January 13

HEART-FELT: The Hamilton Station Hotel show was a rare opportunity to see Georgia Maq in an intimate venue. Picture: Josh LeesonEVERY so often an artist comes along who perfectly taps into the zeitgeist. Someone who’s lyrics and politics speak to the feelings and frustrations of a certain cross-section of society.

Georgia Maq is that type of musician. The frontwoman of the Melbourne folk-punk trio Camp Cope played at theHamilton Station Hotel on Saturday as part of her three-date tour to celebrate the re-issue of her 2015 EP Split with Newcastle’s Spencer Scott.

Newcastle’s Rachel Maria Cox and Scott were natural support acts for Maq and showcased why they’re two of our city’s best emerging songwriters.

But of course the sold-out crowd was there for the unique opportunity to see Maq solo. As Camp Cope’s prospects continue to soar internationally and a second album How To Socialise & Make Friends beckons in March, chances to see Maq insuch intimate surrounds could be evaporating.

Maq walked on stage anxiously. You could tell she was nervous and it made her more endearing to the audience. There was a row of young women in the front, hanging off every word.

After honouring the Indigenous land she was performing on and urging those in the audience to attend Invasion Day rallies next week, she took the audience through acoustic versions ofMulder, It’s Me (Something Terrible Has Happened) and New Phone, Who’s This? from her Split with Scott.

Maq’s voice divides camps. For some its unmistakablenness can be grating. But for me, that strongaccent makes her voice so relatable. So genuine.

It also empowers her lyrics about being a young woman in21stcentury .

There’s also an interesting contrast at play with Maq. Her punkappearance–which includes heavily-tattooed legs and nose ring– and her outspoken opinions on gender equality suggest confidence and rage.

Maq made headlines two weeks ago when she criticised The Falls Festival, on their own stage, for only booking nine female artists.

However, on the small Hamilton Station stage Maq displayed a more vulnerable side. It felt like she was intimately opening up to friends as she sipped coconut water between songs.

Whether it wasexpressing her initial fear that the Falls Festival saga had “ruined our career” or how she thought Oasis frontman Liam Gallagher was so attractive despite being an “old man” after seeing him perform during the summer tour.

Fans were treated to previews of Camp Cope’s second album with the songs How To Socialise & Make Friends and UFO Lighter. The former, Maq said, was initially going to be called “the town bike.”

It was the Camp Cope tracks Flesh and Electricity, Footscray Station and Jet Fuel Can’t Melt Steel Beams that drew the biggest response and had the crowd singing in unison.

Weak songwriting can be exposed without bass and drums. But Camp Cope’s appeal is built on solid songwriting foundations. The lack of instrumentationjust heightenedMaq’s lyrics and unique vocal phrasing.

Then came the finale, The Opener, a blistering attack on gender inequality in the music industry. It was the night’s most punk moment as Maq snarledinto the microphone.

“It’s another man telling us we can’t fill up the room/It’s another man telling us to book a smaller venue.’Nah, hey, cmon girls we’re only thinking about you’/Well, see how far we’ve come not listening to you.”

Well this man isn’t going to criticise Maq’s performance, because it was electrifying. Yet at eight songs it definitely left the audience craving more.