Nothing could have prepared me for the emotional rollercoaster that was Maggie Rogers and Stella Donnelly in concert last Monday.
These two queens are a match made in heaven – opener Stella Donnelly charmed the audience with her adorable manner and quirky dance moves, followed closely by the supernova burst of energy and positivity that is Maggie Rogers.
Donnelly burst on to the music scene in 2017 with the heart-wrenching Boys Will Be Boys, a hauntingly melodic j’accuse to her friend’s rapist. Her music is light and occasionally almost childish in its simplicity, which disguises the deceptively profound lyrics and strong messages. Listeners shouldn’t be fooled by her infectious grin and her soft, girlish voice, however – this woman takes no prisoners. Introducing a song about her old boss, Donnelly spoke of a pub in WA that she used to work in, which would remain nameless because she’s ‘not a fucking idiot’. There was a pause, and just before launching into U Owe Me, Donnelly coughed the name of the Fremantle establishment into the microphone with a wink and a grin to her laughing audience.
With only the occasional accompaniment of her one fellow musician Jenny on guitar and keys, Stella Donnelly moved seamlessly from emotional content to comedy and back. She giggled while she told the story of her mother’s reaction to Mosquito, and then provoked mascara tears and full-blown sobs (at least from me) during Boys Will Be Boys. It’s honest and relatable moments like these, combined with her dorky dance moves (ol’ Stells loves a grapevine) and truly magnetic personality, that convert people from occasional listeners into die-hard fans. Before attending the gig, I had heard and liked a few of Donnelly’s songs, but it wasn’t until I saw her live that I truly fell in love.