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REVIEW: Jack River, Cambridge Hotel, Wednesday September 26

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REVIEW & GALLERY: Jack River delivers golden pop masterclass SPOTLIGHT: Jack River shone like a bright rising star in her biggest Newcastle show to date. Picture: Paul Dear
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TweetFacebookSugar Mountain that features some of the best indie power-pop you’re likely to hear in 2018.

“This is pretty much my hometown show,” the Forster-bred River told the sold-out crowd that included her parents David and Donna.

River also later explained a close family connection to the Cambridge as her parents went on their first date at the venue 35 years ago.

STAR: It was Jack River’s first Newcastle show in six years.

The gigswelled with the energy of a triumphant homecoming. River took several peeks from backstage with a cup of tea in hand as the rowdy crowd’s volume rose in anticipation.

Theycame to sing and they broke into full voice when River and her four bandmates, which included Cessnock-bred drummer Tom Myers,opened with her teen prom anthem Ballroom.

River appeared genuinely shocked by the enthusiasm, which almost drowned out her vocal. The band were dressed in white jeans and silk shirts, while River stood out in her sparkly body suit and glittery eye shadow.

READ MORE:How Jack River overcame family grief to write Sugar Mountain

There was a slight detour through her older songsPalo Alto and Talk Like Thatbefore she returned to the peaks ofSugar Mountain.

By thetime River reached the infectious chorus of the pop-folk flavoured Limo Songit became obvious we were watching a master pop songsmith at play.

River has that innate ability to write epic late ’90s-stylepop choruseslikeNo Doubt and Wheatuswith touches ofmodern synth pop,folk, and even, country.

SELL-OUT: The Cambridge peaked for Jack River’s cover of She’s So High and her original Fool’s Gold.

Those folk and country elements were on display during her most contemplative song, In Infinity, which she explained was“written in the darkest time of mylife.” Areference to the aftermath ofher 11-year-old sister Shannon’sdeath in 2006.

READ MORE:A review of Jack River’s sweet debut album Sugar Mountain

The pop hooks continued with Confess and Fault Line before River left no question about where her influences reside by performinga soaring coverof one-hit wonder Tal Bachman’s 1999 smash She’s So High.

For the finale River showed she’s just as capable of penning a pop classic as Bachman by delivering Fool’s Gold. It’s undoubtedly hermost powerful song, again complete with a soaring chorus.

Jack River is no fool’s gold.She’s the real deal.

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