– by Melissa Greenberg
Joshua Radin may not be a name you recognize, but his voice is not one that is easily forgotten. This past Sunday marked Radin’s first time in Perth and the beginning of his Australian tour for his latest album Onwards and Sideways, with the intimate, cosy vibes at the Rosemount Hotel served as the perfect background for Radin and his opening act, local singer-songwriter David Lazarus.
Lazarus, at the ripe age of 22, had the audience enraptured and entranced with his sweet, heartfelt love songs: my favourite, ‘Emily’, features his incredible falsetto and had me swooning. By the time he got around to his mashups of new and old pop hits, including ‘I Want to Dance With Somebody’ of Whitney Houston fame (may she rest in peace) mixed up with ‘Shut Up and Dance’ by Walk the Moon, I’m sure I was sitting there watching with my jaw dropped and little heart-shaped emojis floating around me; there’s just something about a cute man in tight jeans with a guitar singing Whitney Houston that sets my heart on fire.
While most of the audience filled in later and closer to Radin’s set, the fans who were lucky enough to hear and see Lazarus were treated to what felt something like story-time back in kindergarten––audience members sitting on the ground in a semi-circle around the stage and Lazarus recanting stories behind each song from his spot on stage in the middle of it all. Lazarus will be back at the Rosemount to play with Woodlock on the 8th of November, hopefully with some returning fans (I know I will be one.)
After a quick transition, Joshua Radin took the stage with fellow musicians Brandon Walters (guitar and keyboard) and Chris Farney (drums and bass) accompanying him on most songs. Radin alone would have been enough, but the additional instruments made it feel less like a crowded coffee shop set and more like the larger concerts Radin is used to playing in the States and Europe.
My date for the evening and I were lucky enough to nab spots in the front of the crowd, almost on the stage… We could not have been any closer. I warned Sam, my aforementioned date, that I have absolutely no shame when I am at concerts, so hopefully he wasn’t too surprised when I started talking to Radin from our spot in the audience. I told him we were from New Orleans (where Sam and I both attend Tulane University) and halfway through his set when he sang his song ‘Everything’ll Be Alright’, he looked at us and told us he wrote it while watching Hurricane Katrina, the horrific storm that ravaged our city, unfold on the news 10 years ago. He did this for many of his songs, giving the audience a rare glimpse into his life and songwriting process.
This was not the type of concert that has the audience dancing and screaming along… that’s just not Radin’s style. Instead, everyone stood around and swayed to his soft croon, some people mouthing the lyrics instead of singing them out loud as to not disrupt the cosy ambiance that had been established. I have been listening to Joshua Radin practically since he came on the scene back in the States in 2004 when his first song ‘Winter’ was featured on the television show Scrubs. Since then, his songs have gotten me through many a breakup and many a stressful week at school, but for each bad day I have listened to his music, there’s an equal number of great days his albums, especially Wax Wings, have served as my soundtrack. I made it halfway through the show before I got overwhelmed and started tearing up from hearing all of these songs that I’d grown up with and relied upon for so long. I looked around however and noticed I wasn’t the only one crying. “If you know my music, you know I’m corny,” he remarked, going on to tell us to “lean in to the corny.” Lean in we did, some of us a little more than others, I suppose (and I may or may not be tearing up a little as I write this article just thinking about it.)
I left the concert feeling like I was floating, his voice having lulled me into a sleep like state and invigorated my heart and soul wide awake at the same time. There’s something about his music that makes me want to call everyone I’ve ever loved and tell them how much they mean to me. I think the ability to make someone feel that inspired by and thankful for the love in their life speaks to his skill as a songwriter and performer. Thank you, Joshua Radin and co. for reminding me that I have so many people to be thankful for and so much love surrounding me. Now if only I could write songs like Radin’s to express it.
Photo Credit: Rosemount