Georgia Fair @ Oxford Art Factory, Sydney (30/01/2010)

Usually if someone advertises a free gig there’s some sort of catch. But after a summer of festivals eating through my pocket, a free gig is a free gig. Taking the risk I checked out Georgia Fair, playing as part of the Oxford Art Factory’s slew of free gigs.

Georgia Fair is the type of music you turn up loud in the car, and unashamedly croon along to, as the summer sun melts the asphalt as you make for the beach. Their voices sweetly meld, with layered vocals reminiscent of classic Fleetwood Mac. It’s clear that the Sydney duo, Ben Riley and Jordon Wilson, have been inspired by the 1970s with their tight jeans, button up shirts, boots and shaggy hair.

Opening the set with a harmonica driven song, the duo follow it up with Little While, the song steadily builds with folksy guitar and easy-listening lyrics, supported by the duo’s well matched voices. It’s clear that the pair have been playing together for a long time.

However, they don’t seem to have clocked up much stage time. Between songs Georgia Fair appeared awkward, avoiding eye contact with the audience, as they quickly murmur into the microphones to introduce songs. Their lack of stage presence was perhaps due to there actually being no stage. With two microphones set up on the ground, there was no distance between them and the audience, who were either sitting cross legged on the floor, cuddled on couches or lounging against the bar.

Juanita was a relaxing love song that was followed up by the ballad Baby Blues, two slow songs in a row created a lull in the set, with the audience losing its attention. Momentum was soon regained with the upbeat Morning Light. The song’s classic pop sentimentality set the crowd swaying. The positive response of the crowd clearly reassured Georgia Fair, who appeared more comfortable as they diverted off the country music path and played the reggae inspired I Don’t Want It.

Closing the 30 minute set with the upbeat Picture Frames, the crowd was clearly not just made up of cheapskates, as their fan base showed their support by singing along to the catchy chorus. Gaining fans from support slots for John Mayer, Oh Mercy and Washington; and continuing to gig, Georgia Fair are set to make an impact when they release their album in the next six months.