It’s been four years since Ohio born, folk singer-songwriter Joshua Radin returned to our shores, and his small yet attentive welcome-back to Sydney proved that he had still left his mark on us which will be sure to continue after delivering a beautifully authentic and heartfelt performance at Sydney’s Metro Theatre on Thursday night.
‘Sorry it’s been so long, it’s a great big world out there, but thank you for remembering me’ Radin shyly announced in his deep brooding voice before he launched into his short but sweet set filled with with tear-jerking sonnets of lost loves and bitter-sweet memories from his 6-album career.
Accompanied by a two piece band who’s talent seemed endless as they switched instrument after instrument as the night progressed, Radin, dressed casually in a black t-shirt, grey trousers and matching grey fedora, didn’t look like a ‘star’ by any means but as soon as he began to sing, accompanied with nothing but simple guitar riffs and gentle percussions, it became clear why he is melting hearts all over the world and in fact, it is this very quality that makes him so endearing and such a pleasure to watch. Yet to be tainted by the unforgiving and trend-focused music industry, it quickly becomes apparent to me that I’m witnessing a true musician who simply loves to write songs and perform them to an audience, however small it may be.
I was at first a little shocked to see The Metro so sparsely filled, having visited the venue just last month to watch pop-electro outfit Years & Years, it was in stark contrast to that loud, overbearingly busy performance and I was at first a little saddened for him but it was this intimate setting that made his performance all the more haunting and engaging. It was if he was singing to a small group of close friends and looking around at how the crowd responded and reacted to his songs, he pretty much was.
Radin is first and foremost a songwriter, and his little songs are made to be heard just like this and his lyrics often evoked ‘aww’s and ahh’s from the audience, his tales of lying in bed all day, writing songs and waiting for his now ex-girlfriend to return home from work so he could sing them sparked many screams from the mostly female audience, the sound of the clenched jaws coming from the accompanied jealous boyfriends rang loudly throughout the theatre.
Standouts included You’ve Got Growin’ Up To Do, My My Love, Today– perhaps his most well known song thanks to Ellen who loved it so much she asked him to perform it at her wedding ceremony and a stirring rendition of his song he wrote for Hurricane Katrina victims Everything’ll Be Alright.
The climax to the near-perfect performance ended just as I expected it to, a short applause erupted as the lights dimmed but Radin was off stage for no longer than a minute before running back out on stage declaring his distaste for encores ‘waiting for you to clap so we can come back on seems quite ridiculous’ he said as the audience laughed and clapped, begging for more.
He ended the set by asking his band to join him by circling around a single microphone in the center of the stage belting out a Bob Dylan classic Don’t Think Twice, It’s All Right and Tom Petty’s I Won’t Back Down in perhaps the evening’s most spine-tingling moment. There were no effects, minimal lighting and even their instruments were unplugged, it was just three men having fun, performing beautiful, simple folk music to an audience who clearly l
As he thanked the audience and promised he would return sooner next time, he left the audience mesmerised, many standing still hoping for the lights to once again black out.
If he continues to perform shows to this standard, he will no doubt garner a much bigger audience upon his next visit. But he very well could be the bestkept secret in music right now and it appears that he’s just fine with that.