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Its hard not to be romantic about music after seeing James Vincent McMorrow work his magic over a completely packed out Sydney Opera House. My recent trip into the city as part of the Vivid Sydney experience however, not only turned my love for James Vincent into something verging on a dangerous obsession, but introduced me to one of my favourite new musical discoveries of this year.

airlingSupporting James Vincent McMorrow at the Opera House was my first introduction to Airling, aka Hannah Shepherd. One taste and I wanted more (like Pringles)

Newly crowned indie pop darling Hannah Shepherd, better known as Airling, was not only the before act for James Vincent McMorrow at his string of Opera House performances in May, but she’s currently touring with the Paper Kites all over the country, and will be performing with Icelandic artist Asgeir at his NSW show at the Metro next month. Airling was named last week’s triple j unearthed feature artist and has recently signed with Pieater, with her debut track Ouroboros being produced by Big Scary’s Tom Iansek.

Shepherd,who hails from Brisbane but now calls Melbourne home, uses a combination of keyboard and a guest guitarists to offset her smooth, ethereal voice with some subtle but cool underlying beats.

She makes the idea of playing barefoot in the Opera House (the fanciest place I have ever been, by the way) seem like a completely reasonable idea, while she sways to the electronic tones of her magical music in a floor length gypsy skirt. With polite song introductions and mesmerizing anecdotes, Shepherd flawlessly captured the attention of the audience and perfectly set the scene for James Vincent.

I came to the realization only when she finished her set and said a modest goodbye, that I would’ve been completely content watching her all night. And although it was significantly fancier than my usually attended gigs, the post gig depression was definitely still present. I just got an expensive glass of champagne to wash it down with this time.

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June 11, 2014

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