Atmospheric instrumental underscores, euphonious singing and strong rapport make indie-pop duo Angus & Julia Stone stand out from its crowded genre. Since the Australian siblings decided to pursue their respective musical endeavors in 2006, the pair’s natural chemistry and talent have electrified venues. The group’s performance Nov. 19 at the 9:30 Club fully captured this vibrancy.
Although both members have released solo work, the two are best known for their collaborations as Angus & Julia Stone. Their 9:30 Club performance was part of a tour promoting their September 2017 release, “Snow.”
The 9:30 Club’s intimate atmosphere complemented the duo’s earnest lyrics and layered instrumentals, as the venue’s open floor and lack of seating forced the audience close together. This setup made the performance feel less like a concert and more like a small get-together, despite the crowd. As the audience swayed in unison, Angus & Julia Stone amplified and adapted to the changing mood of the venue.
Julia Stone approached the crowd openly, as if she were a long-time friend of the audience. She conversed with the crowd frequently, thanking them for their support. Before the performance of some songs, Julia Stone recounted anecdotes that inspired her lyrics, detailing the heartbreaks and the high points of past relationships and life.
Angus Stone took a subtler approach. He sat by the wayside, communicating solely through song. Much like his singing, Angus’s strong presence solidified the performance. His mysterious and warm aura enriched Julia’s sympathetic style.
Angus & Julia Stone opened with “Baudelaire,” a slow and haunting song punctuated by horns. The opening piece was followed by a beautifully melodic mix of songs. Each performance blended seamlessly into the next, gradually building in intensity and momentum.
Older songs were interspersed throughout the many tunes from the band’s latest release, “Snow.” Rather than disrupting the ethereal tone of the album, the older songs served as a reference for the band’s progression. Most notably, “Nothing Else” reintroduced the acoustic roots that Angus & Julia Stone fans have come to know and love. The simple guitar and piano instrumentals provided contrast to the more ambitious songs with electronic influences.
The performance of “Big Jet Plane” marked a high point of the concert. “Big Jet Plane” was named the 2010 Australian Recording Industry Association’s Single of the Year and has been certified gold, having sold over 35,000 copies in Australia. Whereas many of the songs were enjoyed in silence by the listeners, “Big Jet Plane” evoked a chorus of voices as the audience sang along to the lyrics.
Similarly, “Snow” roused the crowd, drawing chants in unison. The call-and-response of “Snow” showcased Angus’ husky vocals and Julia’s angelic singing, and the song came off as lyrically developed and resonant. The track is an innovative take on the call-and-response format, which is often overly saccharine.
Other inclusions on the set list, such as “Cellar Door” and “Chateau,” added to the atmospheric and delicate performance. “Cellar Door” served as a musical palate cleanser, as the slow and repetitive voices gave the audience a chance to breathe. “Chateau,” on the other hand, was a warm and upbeat song that tangibly raised the energy in the room.
Aided by the intimate atmosphere of the 9:30 Club, the performance featured a well-balanced mix of soft acoustic tunes and rousing crowd-pleasers. Angus & Julia Stone harmonized extraordinarily well; the natural ebb and flow of the singers’ voices made for an experience that cannot be replicated.