“Music is for moving people, and making people move”, he says to a sold-out crowd of silent, patient people. The same vibe carried throughout the whole performance, as we were all far too captivated by Didirri’s voice, musicianship and storytelling to make a sound. He even commented, and thanked us, for being the quietest audience he’s ever played to – a sign of good listeners. And it was impossible not to listen, admire and absorb the music that Warrnambool’s Didirri laid out for us that night.
Beginning his set with a single spotlight beaming down on just him and his guitar, the very first note that he sang hit with such a force; one that stayed with me for the entire show. I genuinely struggle to put to words how good Didirri is, and have spent a lot of my time following his first Howler appearance by convincing everybody I know to listen to his work. From that first note, right throughout each song, as band members joined him and left again at various times, his presence through the combination of voice and lyrics altered the entire room’s perspective on what it means to experience live music.
For an artist who had only released four singles at the time of the gig, Didirri was bold yet poised – his unassuming, quiet confidence held the venue together, making us feel like he was a seasoned performer with decades of knowledge and experience. Didirri’s lack of available discography allowed him to present a whole range of new material, including the recently released single “I Can’t Get Last Night Out of My Head”. The repetitive, simplistic chorus encouraged everyone to sing along, drawing an even closer connection to Didirri as he crooned through his set with such passion and emotion.
Crowd favourites obviously included the other singles from his forthcoming debut EP ‘Measurements’, including “Blind You”, the ever-building belter, “Jude” and the darker, folk-rock-inspired “Formaldehyde” – accompanied by a live trumpeter. Also joining Didirri on stage through the night was his band of close friends and some regional Victorian music legends, consisting of Daniel O’Keefe, Liam O’Leary, Isaac Barter and Rory Walker.
I don’t understand how an artist can seem both raw and polished simultaneously, but Didirri holds exactly that. His captivating blend of challenging, gut-wrenching lyrics paired with the full, embodied sound of his acoustic guitar has pushed him into the hearts of listeners around the globe, but it really is his on-stage charm that is quickly making him one of the greater ‘must-see’ acts.
Didirri’s incredibly unique understanding of storytelling through music makes for one of the best and most exciting live performances I have ever been lucky enough to see. He was right – his music made me move, and unequivocally moved me like no other artist has.
When: Thursday April 26
Where: Howler, Melbourne
Supported by Max Quinn, BATTS
Reviewed by Zach Edwards
Photo by Jess Gleeson