Stella Donnelly @ The Bodega 05/05/19
Australian Stella Donnelly and her band brought their show to the Bodega this bank holiday Sunday, providing a treat for the lucky fans who were in the venue. On the back of the release of her debut album ‘Beware of the Dogs,’ the musician, who is originally from Wales, brought the house down with an array of songs from the album as well as from her previous EP ‘Thrush Metal.’
The support act for the evening was Nottingham based singer-songwriter Alex Milne. Milne is a regular throughout the Nottingham music scene and can often be seen at the Rescue Rooms Acoustic Rooms event on Monday evenings as well as performing on the streets in the city centre. However, greater exposure outside of the East Midlands is surely inevitable based on this performance. Delicate vocals in accompaniment with skilled guitar plucking warmed the crowd up nicely. Despite referencing her nerves on the evening, Milne received a rousing reception after her five-song set. One to watch for sure.
By the time the Perth-based Donnelly trooped onto the stage, the Bodega was full to the brim with anticipation. The show commenced with a series of solo songs, delightful vocals and the positively isolated sound of a Fender Telecaster. This included the song ‘U Owe Me,’ an ode to Donnelly’s old boss in a Western Australian pub as well as treats such as ‘Mosquito’ and ‘Allergies.’
While many musicians are perceived to be introverted, Stella Donnelly appears as the complete opposite. Confident, quirky and incredibly funny, she kept the crowd laughing between her songs. Indeed, the chemistry between Donnelly and her band should also be commended. It was clear that they’re a group of close friends, whether it be the teasing of guitarist/keyboardist George and dancing with her bassist Jen, high fiving with drummer Tayla and downright carnage delivered by Jacob’s own dancing, the room was a sea of positive waves.
While the show was a bundle of fun and joy, there were elements of seriousness. Stella Donnelly’s lyrics confront societal issues which many musicians divert to avoid. The flagbearer for this confrontation is the song ‘Boys Will Be Boys’. In the lead up to the song, Donnelly described a saddening experience in which a close friend of hers had experienced at the hands of a male, best described by the lyrics “Why was she all alone/Wearing her shirt that low?/They said, boys will be boys/Deaf to the word no.” The eloquence of the approach to such a serious topic was appreciated by the audience.
The highlight of the gig, which was full of highs, was the song ‘Tricks,’ a lively and upbeat pop bop which is easy to dance to in its own way. As the band left the stage, the crowd demanded more and got an encore of the song ‘Mechanical Bull.’ Stella Donnelly and her mix of tackling serious issues and humour and innuendo was refreshing and something that is sure to encapsulate more music lovers throughout the remainder of 2019 and beyond.
Photo Credit: @bodeganotts on Instagram.