Dustin Tebbutt at Northcote Social Club (Melbourne)

To celebrate the release of his long awaited debut album First Light, Dustin Tebbutt is headlining his own tour all around the country. After his first Melbourne show sold out, we caught his second jam-packed show in a row at Northcote Social Club.

The band room had strings of lights hanging from the roof, and those who arrived early sat cross-legged on the carpet waiting for the show to start. First up was Melbourne based producer, singer and songwriter Woodes. The 24-year-old had an ethereal onstage presence and a mature sound, if she hadn’t mentioned that this was only her second show accompanied by a guitarist I never would’ve guessed.

The audience sat back and enjoyed tracks including ‘Drifter’ and ‘Byron’ (written as an ode to the town which the tour had previously hit a few days prior), as well as her most well-known single ‘The Thaw’. Her sound was delicate and spiritual, but her modest chuckles at the end of each song and banter with the crowd kept her down to earth and friendly.

The next supporting act was Robbie Miller, Brisbane based folk singer-songwriter. Robbie’s deep and warm voice filled the room from the first song, and any chatter which had continued throughout the previous set was hushed. Each song was full of soul and emotion, his song ‘Sunday’ capturing the worth of family and ‘I Wish I’d Known’ really tugging at my heart-strings. ‘This Death’ and ‘Road’ were other favouites, as well as his cover of ODESZA’s ‘Say My Name’ which he performed on Triple J’s Like A Version in July.

Having spoken to Dustin a couple of weeks ago, I was thrilled to finally see him live. If our chat was anything to go by, this was going to be an intimate and emotional show, so I had my tissues ready and my best friends hand at easy reach by the time he took the stage.

Dustin and his band didn’t mess around, hitting us straight away with the first single of his debut album of the same name, ‘First Light’. His previous difficulty in translating his music from the studio to the stage didn’t hold Dustin back, with his band supporting his sound and bringing it to life for the sold out crowd to enjoy.

The band played tracks from the debut album as well as the pivotal songs from the three previous EPs. His latest single and my personal favourite from the album ‘Wooden Heart’ gave the crowd a chance to move their bodies and sing along, as did ‘Still In My Heart’. ‘Wild Blood’ and ‘Give Me Tonight’ kept that strength in sound while dialling it back to the more solemn sound Dustin established in his EPs.

Having only been released just over a week ago, the debut album impressed the crowd but it was the songs of his previous EPs which really hit home. Off his original EP The Breach there was ‘Where I Find You’ and the track which first drew me to Dustin; ‘The Breach’. ‘Bones’ drew sighs of nostalgia from those around me, and Woodes joined him on stage for ‘Silk’ which was recorded with Thelma Plum.

I can’t imagine a better environment to experience Dustin’s music, it was an intimate gig and he really established a connection with the crowd who had been following his music for up to three years. He told me he wants people to feel like they’ve had a “big warm hug” when they come to his gigs, and I can safely say we all left feeling just so.

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