Natalie Prass and Stella Donnelly Show Review

Author: Jordan Madden

 

The retrospective and glowing authenticity of Natalie Prass at High Noon Saloon on Thursday invited listeners to explore their minds, worlds, and hearts.

Natalie Prass photo courtesy of Alexa Johnson

From the seas of Australia and the beaches of Virginia, High Noon Saloon was privileged to welcome to Madison, WI the insatiable sounds of Natalie Prass and the haunting melodies of Stella Donnelly. Stella’s opening provided a tender and enthralling introduction to an evening the audience was blessed to experience.

Stella’s enchanting vocals and mesmerizing guitar sounds are borne of the sea—the 26-year-old Australian treasure’s performance felt large, like she’s best heard echoing within the damp and salty chambers of an oceanside grotto. Equipped with nothing but her talent and a heart-full of feeling, her ability to command a stage with such haunting yet personal sound distinguishes her as an act to be truly reckoned with. Her delivery of “Mechanical Bull” from her debut record Thrush Metal, grounded a sturdy bedrock for the evening, showcasing her impressive range, vulnerability, yet wholly mighty.

Stella Donnelly photo courtesy of Alexa Johnson

With such an impressive performance, I was left wanting for an equally strong accompaniment to her performance—percussion, brass, and synths would make “Mechanical” an even more pronounced track. However, as she so eloquently refrains on the same track, “…I need to be alone.” As she is, here and now, Stella Donnelly is a true performer and incredibly promising artist. I cannot wait to see where her talent takes us and what adventures she has in store.

The third show of the autumn leg of her tour for her new record The Future and The Past, Natalie Prass delivered a phenomenal performance. An evening filled with ripe grooves and quirky moves, Natalie stunned and soothed an intimate gathering of Madisonians under the dimly lit lights of the Saloon. Dawned with her sparkling yellow dress, shining guitar, and shimmering vocals, Natalie visually glistened and sonically glowed.

Natalie’s smoldering voice brought a swooning crowd, making the stage a home for both her and us—her grinning at the crowd’s silly dancing, discussing her time growing up in Virginia Beach with another Richmond native in the crowd, and laughing with the audience’s offerings of gifts and praise. She was having fun with her time in our city, and we were having fun right back. 

With cheese curds waiting for her backstage, and a new vintage haul from Madison’s own Good Style Shop, she welcomed us on an adventure. Opening the show with of her a perfect ‘80s track “Oh My” and a triumphant performance her 2018 oeuvre and anthem “Sisters,” she prepped the audience for a smooth yet venturous show. Her transfixing performance of her power ballad “The Fire” provided a such a stylish accent to her first half that wowed.

During the introduction of her impressive second-half, Natalie gave an explosive performance of her 2015 track “Bird of Prey,” enthralling our hearts and minds to make us listeners feel ever so tender. Maintaining momentum to the near conclusion of her set, she crushes “My Baby Don’t Understand Me” with utter elegance and somber contemplation.

Ending her set with her sparkling hit single “Short Court Style,” the audience was enticed into a bold and boisterous outro dance—almost hypnotically, we sang “’round and ‘round…ups and downs.” The show was a fun and fulfilling time, and this reviewer and fan “can’t be without the love that I have found” from Natalie Prass.

Natalie’s sound itself is so retrospective, as though you could hear her any of her songs and be believably told they debuted anytime between 1969 and now. Her latest album’s guitars weave in and out ‘80s-esque vibes that sound remarkably inspired by the likes of Dianna Ross and Chaka Khan.  It may not be a coincidence that “Ain’ Nobody” from her latest record is her encore.

Her band perfectly complimented her rockin’ grace. Guitarist Alan Parker, as well as Bassist Dom Angelella, danced with Natalie during this final song. Both with immense talent and attention to detail, their strings danced throughout the set and delighted atmosphere and straight into our minds’ eye, and for that I am grateful.  Her drummer Eric Slick provided a damn fine accompaniment to Prass’s loving vocals on the percussion-heavy tracks included in the new record. Keyboardist Jacob Ungerleider provided a gorgeous array of sound to accentuate the atmosphere. A fantastic ensemble that curated an incredible set. 

Privileged by her presence, I had the distinct honor of sitting down briefly after the show with Natalie Prass to talk about her music, her inspirations, and her place in music history. Keep an eye out for my interview with Natalie coming soon. Below is a complete setlist of her Madison performance. You can check out her music and buy her latest record at https://natalieprass.com/, also available on iTunes, Tidal, Amazon, and more.

Prass Setlist 9/20/2018

  1. Oh My
  2. Sisters
  3. The Fire
  4. Your Fool
  5. Bird of Prey
  6. Hot for The Mountain
  7. Never Too Late
  8. Ship go Down
  9. Lost
  10. Why Don’t You
  11. My Baby Don’t Understand Me
  12. Short Court Style

Encore

  1. Ain’t Nobody
  2. It is You

Drummer – Eric Slick

Bassist – Dominic Angelella

Keyboardist – Jacob Ungerleider

Guitarist – Alan Parker