Sascha Ion @ The Elwood Lounge

Tucked away in the heart of Melbourne’s quaint seaside suburb of Elwood sits the unassuming Elwood Lounge. The Elwood Lounge has not only come to host the very best of Melbourne’s emerging musical talent, but also proves the perfect launching point for interstate visitors making a musical assault on the Victorian capitol. And last Thursday night the venue played host to two such acts.

First to take the stage was Natalie D-Napoleon. Having just returned from a west coast tour of the United States, for forty-five minutes the Perth-based singer/songwriter threw forth an enchanting offering of country-tinged lament. While she might be wandering the more reflective end of the emotion spectrum, through her soaring vocals and their impassioned delivery, D-Napoleon enchantingly makes a forlorn heart a very attractive proposition.

Songs such as ‘How Seamless (Seemed Love)’ and ‘After The Flood’ ache with loss and longing while ‘How The World Works’ provides a more cynical look at love and relationships. But it wasn’t all melancholy as ‘Leave A Light On’, a song that D-Napoleon coyly introduced as an ode to Belinda Carlisle, offered more than a worthy testament to the strength of love when challenged by the tyranny of distance.

No sooner had D-Napoleon departed the stage had Melbourne-based Sascha Ion assumed the vacated mantle. With Andrew Fuller, a colleague within one of Ion’s former musical entities Spank, at her side the two indulged in a degree of acoustic alchemy. Until recently Ion had been fronting One Horse Town and has only just stepped out alone. But in witnessing the defiance with which she charged her way through her set, one would never suspect as much.

Ion’s compositions typically build into a crescendoing surge that seduces one’s attention before sweeping up all that befall them. Hunched over the microphone and spending most of the night bellowing out her vocals with eyes tightly closed, Ion leaves it to her songs to express the diversity in emotions. And they do so with grace and poise with this nowhere more apparent than within the verses of ‘Songbird’.

With its infectious melody propelled by an eccentric charm, the song not only immediately resonates, but spins around inside your head for days to come. Such is the underlying power to Ion’s work. No matter whether she is blazing away out front of One Horse Town or gently charming audiences as a solo performer, Sascha Ion is someone not quickly forgotten.