Reviewed by Robyn: Stella Donnelly

Stella Donnelly makes her Canadian debut with opening act Faye Webster

Stella Donnelly. Photo Robyn Homeniuk Stella Donnelly. Photo Robyn Homeniuk

Stella Donnelly from Fremantle, Australia makes the music we need in 2019. Earlier this month, she released her debut album Beware of the Dogs, she is real and honest with her lyrics and covers more important topics than the usual woes of a broken heart (though that does get a track too).

Stella Donnelly. Photo Robyn Homeniuk
Stella Donnelly. Photo Robyn Homeniuk

Last weekend, Stella made her Canadian debut playing in both Montreal and Toronto. She brought along an American singer named Faye Webster with Pistol on a steel guitar. Faye was a great opener, with relaxed guitar and sweet voice she warmed up the crowd. With a hilarious yo-yo performance, she was endearing and is well worth checking out.

Faye Webster. Photo by Robyn Homeniuk
Faye Webster. Photo by Robyn Homeniuk

In concert, Stella is better than her recorded album – this doesn’t happen often but it is definitely true. On the stage, her witty personality comes through and the electricity of her music increased in the live setting. The gig was a perfect balance between showcasing her new album, playing songs like Old Man and Lunch, and songs from her first EP Thrush Metal. A master of guitar, Stella plays a great peach coloured Strat with an alternation between relaxing tunes and upbeat catchiness. The album showcases both her excellent voice and won’t take your shit attitude, and it is so refreshing. It isn’t all serious. The song Die was written for Stella to go jogging to after she’d made a catchy electric drum beat. It has some adorable and unexpected dance moves from the band.

She’s humble and makes sure to give the backstory for songs that require it – for example her track U Owe Me is about a horrible boss who treated her poorly and Boys Will Be Boys is about sexual assault. With a band joining her halfway through the set, it showed her versatility as an artist. It was easy to enjoy the concert because it was obvious that the people on stage were having a great time – so why wouldn’t you do the same? It was my second time seeing Stella and both times I’ve been left with the feeling I want to first tell everyone about her and second befriend her.

Stella Donnelly. Photo Robyn Homeniuk
Stella Donnelly. Photo Robyn Homeniuk

Her music showcases her guitar skills and unique singing voice. It is a true joy to be in her presence. Admittedly someone with a reflective face, it is easy to feel her joy in performing. For half of the show, she played solo with a kick-ass peach coloured guitar and her band joined for the other half. I thought it was a cool way to add another layer to her set and really enjoyed the chemistry between band mates.

Stella Donnelly uses her place in the spotlight for good things, calling out rotten politicians and awful uncles all in the same album.  Her album Beware of Dogs and performance is more than worth listening to. It’s something I’ve had on repeat for weeks and will continue to listen to for a long time.  My favourite tracks from the album are Season’s Greetings and Die, after you’ve listened to the album you will definitely have some.

Stella Donnelly performance reviewed.
Stella Donnelly. Photo Robyn Homeniuk

Here’s a link to her album on Spotify and Youtube – give a listen, you know you want to!

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