Live Review – Brianna Carpenter at The Old Museum

Live Review – Brianna Carpenter at The Old Museum

Brianne Carpenter - The Old Museum - Ben Knight-3

BRIANNA CARPENTER
CD Launch at The Old Museum 8th June 2014

Story by Cat Anderson
Photography by Ben Knight

Brianna Carpenter is a Brisbane singer-songwriter who has recently released her second album, ‘On So It Goes’. She launches it with some special guests tonight at The Old Museum. While Brianna releases her work under her name as a solo artist, her special guests are some of the musicians who have helped create the album and include a string quartet, a pair of talented backing vocalists and a drummer referred to as ‘Doctor Motown’.

The stage is set with a grand piano out front of the raised stage and a brightly coloured backdrop that Carpenter tells the room was designed by her husband, who is her partner in business as well as life. It fills the high ceiling above the band without obstructing the sound. The set starts with a track from Carpenter’s debut album ‘Harlequin’, but that song turns out to be the only old song in the show. The rest of the performance is drawn, fittingly, from the album being launched tonight.

Between songs, Carpenter shares short vignettes about each track such as the inspiration behind ‘Save Me’ – which is about Brisbane being like a country town and what it would be like to always have to run into someone you couldn’t bear to see. It’s also only got three chords, with Carpenter quipping, “Well, if the Beatles could do it…”.

Throughout the show, she is an engaging performer, talking comfortably to the audience and moving between grand piano and guitar, despite needing to climb up and down from the stage that’s just a bit too high for a simple step when wearing a dress. Brianna Carpenter describes herself as someone who notices and says she writes about what she notices. So her songs, she says, are usually about other people. The exceptions are a new track, not on the album, called ‘Tea’ and the set’s closing song ‘Wolves’, which has lyrics written by her mother.

It’s the musical performances though, from both Carpenter and her band mates, that bring the room to life. Being able to perform her songs with a string quartet has been a goal of Carpenter’s and their inclusion tonight is inspired. They add a layer of richness to the songs that reflect the production of the album they come from. Brianna Carpenter describes creating this album and tonight’s show as a labour of love. She says that she doesn’t do encores so please don’t ask for one, but when the final crashing chords of ‘Wolves’ finally fade it’s abundantly clear that Brianna Carpenter’s labour is one well realized; the room feels full of that love.

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