I’m standing, front of house, clutching my camera with the sweaty palms of my feverish hands, still manipulating my brain into thinking it was the right decision to leave the house tonight.

I’m sick. Not in the narley sense, more the, “hey doctor, is it ok to knock back two beers when i’ve just taken two paracetemols and one ibroprofen to help my fever?” kinda way.

I feel the warm draft of bubble gum breath, floating past my ear drums from a group of girls perching over my shoulder and feel a shudder of anticipation as the lights go down.

They come up again and this time with the fun, smiling figure of Julia Michaels gracing the stage and a wave of cheers swaying through the venue.

Hits, ‘I Miss You’ and ‘Into You’ get the crowd gasping with glee and excitement and make it almost incumbent of Miss Michaels to jump higher and higher on stage to allow her audience to tear fractures into their smiles.

Julia Michaels delivers some lovely lyrics. A music industry caught up in a world of political uncertainties and protests, gender equality debates and global warming issues, it’s nice to spend an evening listening to words coming out of the right hole for once.

“I like the way she moves on stage”, I surprisingly utter to the photographer next to me. Julia possesses a great stage presence and knows how to grab the crowd and then keep it under her control. Not in a domineering way, just a blissfully, appreciative way… I like that.

She burrows out of the bubble gum breath tornado with famed track, ‘Issues’.

It’s a crowd pleaser. It pleases the guy writing this review too. I’m a sucker for the hits. The songs that 80% of most audiences really come to the gig to listen to, even though they will tell their mates that bought the tickets, “yeah, I managed to listen to the first album a couple of times last week”.

Issues? From the audience and my perspective … you’ll have none from us.

I’ll give a mention to UK artist and support act of the night, Rhys Lewis. I see the male solo artist category a little over saturated and uninspiring of recent years, but he has the voice to reach out to the ones that need to listen and seems like a very likeable musician.

If you need a raspy, up tempo version of Tom Odell, or a soundtrack to your backpacker trip around Norway on a hangover, get this guy on your download list.

There’s 171,476 words in the english language (Googled), but only three that are needed to end this review of the evening.

Pretty damn good.

Coverage and Photo by Joseph Miller

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