Written by: Hannah Holbrook
In a modest setting at the Middle East concert hall, local musician Julia Easterlin entertained audiences with unconventional harmonies and instruments. A recent phenomenon, Easterlin is gaining notoriety in Boston’s local music scene for her use of a loop station- a recording device that layers sounds on top of each other. Easterlin is notorious for her quirky renditions of songs such as Spears’ “Toxic,” and Pixies’ “Break My Body.”
Last Friday, Feb. 10th, supporters crammed into the over-capacity venue in Cambridge to support the Berklee alumnus and her unconventional music style. The show had eclectic mix of opening bands including Colubus, The Fates and Colour. Many of the bands showcased stripped-down, folk-inspired songs, matching perfectly to the venue’s grungy atmosphere.
Virtually everything about Easterlin contrasted with the setting. Her music, clothing style and general personality were a refreshing twist to the night’s events. Equipped with only her looping station and background drums, Easterlin wowed the audience with her innovative live-recording technique. Building layers upon layers of music, each song consisted of intricate harmonies and beats.
Even listeners unaccustomed to her music style would appreciate Easterlin’s performance. She captivates the audience with her undeniable stage presence and raw vocal talent. The musician’s infectious dance moves created an atmosphere all music-lovers can enjoy. Among the set list were notable songs, “Whisky,” “Unison,” and “Go Straight Away.” “Whiskey,” a song reminiscent of Easterlin’s Georgian roots, was complimented by a killer saxophone solo from Easternlin’s childhood friend.
Perhaps the best performance of the night, however, was Easterlin’s cover of “Toxic,” originally by Britney Spears. Performing completely a cappella, the singer gave a slowed-down version of the infectious pop song. The blues-inspired song was uniquely intimate and a truly memorable ending to Easterlin’s performance.
Easterlin, a Boston resident, frequents local music venues and does occasional shows along the east coast. I would recommend attending one of her shows the next time you hear of an appearance. Easterlin’s charm and raw talent can translate to any music lover willing to give her unconventional style a chance.