Sophie Payten, aka Gordi, continues to smash it, following the successful release of her debut EP with a run of sold out tours across the country.
Wednesday night at the Northcote Social Club started off with the popular ‘Taken Blame’. Gordi fans were buzzing early but it seemed that the energy levels weren’t enough for one fan. He yelled at the crowd to “dance you motherfuckers” but Gordi had our backs. “I love your attitude but move as you like.” This was her first sold out show in Melbourne and you could tell that she’d already come a long way from the quiet and intimate setting of Sydney’s Hibernian House where we last enjoyed her music. She made it clear that she appreciated the crowd too. “Shows in Sydney are mostly just my friends and family and they heckle me the whole time.”
‘Nothing’s As It Seems’ was up next and it’s definitely a crowd favourite. But it was ‘So Here We Are’, a track from Gordi’s new EP, Clever Disguise, that had me most impressed. Bringing a trumpet into the performance really cemented those Ásgeir comparisons for me. It made it feel like a truly complete performance.
Another area that Gordi has clearly grown in is her stagetalk. Storytime on Wednesday night was about a Serbian Uber driver named Alan. In her best impersonation, which she self-described to “sound like Borat”, Gordi shared some of Alan’s less appropriate quotes. “Don’t take this the wrong way but you look very good at love making. Are you?” Aside from interesting stories, Gordi made sure to stress just how important it was to her to have a sell-out crowd in Melbourne. “It feels like it wasn’t that long that I was playing at a creperie in Northcote. My friend was like, I’ll bring my parents, and they were the only people there.”
Following her highly amusing story, we got some new music. The first song was just her and the piano, no band. It was very intimate and really reminded me of her cosy show in Sydney last year. ‘Doubts’ was quite the contrast with a full band back and a lot of energy. The lights display for this one was great when shining on her and the band. However, it could also be described as an assault to the eyes with how many times the lights made their way to the crowd, blinding everyone on their way through.
I’ve already described Gordi’s newest single, ‘Wanting’, as slowly building up into a powerful anthem. Her live performance was exactly that with a deliberate intro before going full speed ahead. The controlled verses followed by emphatic choruses made the performance a step above the recording. Finishing off with a bit of solo guitar, the whole show genuinely made me smile. And then the next song, her last, continued to build on the momentum. ‘Can We Work It Out’ was always the likely finisher and the return of the trumpet solidified the exceptionally strong finale.
“So this is new. I haven’t done an encore.” I’ve been stressing it but Gordi really has blossomed into a star. A sell-out show typically has an encore and Gordi delivered with her cover of Courtney Barnett’s ‘Avant Gardener’. (Interesting side note: She let us know that Andy from the song is also Andy the sound guy, and gave him some love during the song.) I’m the first to admit that Courtney Barnett is an incredible song writer but this song should’ve always been written for Gordi. It started out with just her on the piano, almost surreally beautiful, before the trumpet returned and then the rest of the band. Such an incredible performance.
Hometown: Canowindra, NSW
Latest EP: Clever Disguise, released 13 May 2016
Sounds like: A female Ásgeir mixed with Highasakite
Say what? Xavier Dunn made for a very interesting support act. Before Wednesday, I wouldn’t have believed you if you told me someone would cover A$AP Rocky, a song from Grease, and Iggy Azalea in the same set. The kicker was him nailing each one.