No one does a comeback like Lauren Aquilina. Having ‘retired’ from the music industry at 21 waving white flags of defeat, the confessional pop songwriter filled The Garage with a fierce confidence, cutthroat new songs and an audience waiting with open arms.
Support came from Georgia Buchanan, aka Call Me Loop, who bounced onto the stage almost missing the mic for her first track; it's apparent from the start that she is a firework. Held tightly in the palm of her hand, and with plenty of perfectly produced pop songs, Call Me Loop sounds like red wine pre-drinks with the girls.
'Nobody ever taught me how to play this wicked game, where everything is just too much and I'm never enough' are the standout lyrics from Lauren's opening track "Wicked Game", and this sets the tone perfectly. Here is a woman who started in this business as a girl, self-made and starry-eyed, only to be sidelined by the industry machine. Yet, here she stands (in incredible metallic cargo pants) after two years out, bruised but not beaten, telling a different story. It's a story of confidence, of growth, and resilience.
Her set is a carefully curated mix of songs from her 2016 debut album Isn't It Strange?, her recent post-comeback singles and longstanding favourites from her trilogy of EPs, all tied together with her ridiculously strong and emotive vocal and an honesty and openness that was never lost along the way.
When the drums hit and the tension releases in "Ocean", Lauren flings her head back and her arms wide in pure happiness, and when she returns for an encore to sing recent single "Psycho", she is Alanis incarnate, channelling her hurt into a force to be reckoned with. Lauren Aquilina is entirely in her element and stronger than ever.