Review: Macy Gray

Macy Gray performs at Lizotte’s. Picture: Jonathan CarrollREVIEW

Lizotte’s Newcastle,March 17

MACY Gray never topped the commercial success of her worldwide hit I Try, the soulful ballad that earned the singer a Grammy award in 2001.

A good 15 years have passed since then and, though Gray may have fallen off the radar for some, one thing that can’t be forgotten is that unmistakable voice.

Her raspy, but equally smooth, voice has been described as “Marge Simpson crossed with Minnie Mouse” but that’s not exactly right.

She is a force, that’s for sure, and her voice really is something special.

It can be soft and delicate, then big and soulful.

And she makes it look entirely effortless.

Touring across Australia this month with her eighth album, My Way (released in October), Gray’s show in Newcastle was a complete sellout.

It actually sold so well that venue owners had to rearrange the floor plan to accommodate extra seating.

With everyone wedged in such close confines, there was a buzz of anticipation in the venue that erupted into wild cheers as Gray emerged on stage from behind the speaker stack. And, wow, she is a presence.

She is incredibly tall and with heels and a wild Afro adding a few extra inches, Gray towered over her four male band members.

She sparkled like a Las Vegas Christmas tree in a sequined floor-length gown, feather boa and elaborate fake lashes to compete the look.

Opening with Why Didn’t You Call Me? (from her hit album On How Life Is), Gray was cool, confident and irresistibly charming.

Her banter in between songs shifted from downright funny to flirty to coming up with oddball statements like “Google says the more you drink, the better we sound”.

Halfway through the set, she left the drummer to entertain the crowd for a slightly too-dragged out drum solo before returning in a new dress with a long, dangling fur draped around her body.

The set featured the hits (I Try, Do Something, Sweet Baby) and a couple of covers (Melanie’s Brand New Key and Radiohead’s Creep – the latter seemed the perfect choice for a woman who has lived a notoriously turbulent life on and off stage).

By the time they busted into her disco-flavoured groove of Sexual Revolution (fused with Rod Stewart’s Do Ya Think I’m Sexy), the crowd was up and dancing (after prompting from Gray) and the two mirrorballs on the ceiling were switched on.

Tonight it was just one big party at Macy Gray’s house.