Remember Toni Childs? That’s right, she was a superstar of the Eighties who brought us hits like Stop Your Fussin and Don’t Walk Away. Twenty-odd years later and over a decade since she last toured, Childs has been travelling around Australia to promote her new album Keep The Faith. The show is a mix of old and new songs, all displaying the strength of her voice and performance experience. Accompanied throughout the tour by Melbourne-based artist Josh Owen and band, the result is a show that that makes you realise that there is little else that stirs the senses quite like live music.
Owen begins the show with a half our set that is just as professional and entertaining as that of the woman that everyone in the audience has come to see. He has a laidback style and appearance and his music is a unique mix of blues, reggae and jazz with hints of Jimi Hendrix and Diesel. Owen is a frequent performer at folk and blues festivals around Australia and away from the Josh Owen Band, Owen has released his own acoustic album Do You Wonder. His song titled Someday is a great cruisey song, with other highlights being Money Comes And Money Goes and Burn Slow, which is the only song he plays on the electric guitar. The very heartfelt Come And Go is yet to be released but is a tempter of things to come. With each song is a great beat and his half hour set is over all too quickly.
After a frustrating twenty-minute interval, the band walks onto the stage and to this audience member’s delight, so does Owen. The shrieks from the audience announce the arrival of Childs who strolls casually onto the stage in grey track pants, bare feet and the same promo t-shirt that’s for sale in the foyer. It is a look and a decision that is reflective of her life and throughout the show Childs takes the time to share with the audience her story. After being diagnosed with Graves Disease she has for the last ten years or so been living on a small island in Hawaii, learning how to live with her disease without the aid of medication. In fact, most of what Childs does comes across as being the most natural thing in the world; from her youthful appearance, to the organic way she moves her body, to the soft and husky lilt in her voice when she speaks, to the way she opens her mouth apparently without effort to release the astonishingly mighty singing voice for which she is so well known.
In this show all the favourite songs are performed and each is as great as you remember. All of Childs’ songs give the audience something to grab hold of; there is always a great beat, and a great variety of sounds. It is her new songs however, which display her diversity. Dream That We Dream Of is a softer song and her only duet with Owen. It is a pity as they compliment each other well. One of her most catchy songs is I’m standing here while Keep The Faith builds in a most wonderful way, offering more than just a glimpse of the fiery nature that Childs projected in her older work. In all these songs it is clear that Childs is a woman of conviction. Her anthem to women around the world is Because You’re Beautiful, which she wrote in an effort to make women realise how wonderful they are. According to Childs it is the reason she is here and singing today.
The venue for this show, The Palms at Crown Casino, does seem at odds with the style of Childs and Owen. The space itself resembles the theatre on a cruise ship, with the average age of the audience to match, however it does provide ample seating close to the stage and seems to be able to draw a fairly good crowd. Childs’ voice is indeed one voice that needs to be experienced live to appreciate its power and more importantly to realise the depths from which it comes.
with Josh Owen
Venue: Palms at Crown Melbourne
Date: Thu 9 April
Bookings: Ticketek 13 28 49 or www.ticketek.com.au