Julian Peretta, support

Alisha Ahmed 20/08/2009

The good news is that apparently the music industry is still able to produce original ideas persons who'll become prototypes to inspire new stuff. The downside is that prototypes lead on to stereotypes and imitation. But to set things straight to those who, like me, will find more than a few similarities between the number one album singer/songwriter Paolo Nutini and the new hope and recipient of much interests Julian Perretta,
I went down toBush Hall and saw for myself the artist who's sure to be a massive deal in a few months time.

To begin with: Julian, a word of advice - when you start headlining, and you do it after an hour and a half of poor DJing, you don't get on stage 25 minutes late. Otherwise the non-starry-eyed girls in attendance might feel this is not the best of introductions to your act. Secondly, I notice that your crowd consists mainly of teenage girls in love with you. Perhaps this last explains why he got signed for a 5-album deal with a major label just aged 19.

Julian Perretta is in fact the new so-called enfant prodige who writes with Jamiroquai and goes out to party with Paris Hilton; all of which actually had me thinking of the old saying 'don't judge a book by its cover, reconsidered in music terms as 'don't judge an act by his crowd'. It's hard to believe but the teenage hormonal storm that was around Bush Hall had me almost believing that the act taking the stage would be just another temporary dazzle, not set to last longer than a single or so (even an album if backed by good promo). Little did I know, the largest part of his crowd was most likely dragged along from the tour he did as support act for Girls Aloud last spring. So, how to say this nicely? Bad habits die hard. But hey, who does not like a surprise once in a while? And that's how Julian managed to turn around the not so flattering opinion I formed of him even before he stepped on stage. Which I think is actually a flattering thing to say about a musician, meaning his music actually won me over, despite all the extra-details that were did not inspire praise.

His music is vibrant and gripping, and not as cheesy as the prologue had me fearing. The full band backing him is really necessary and put to full use to reproduce live nearly all of the tunes from his album (out early next year). As if that wasn't enough, Julian can also hold the stage as if he was some strange yet perfectly successful experiment that mixes the joyous appeal of Mika (if he was actually handsome and appealing to the heterosexual public) with the songwriting charms of Paolo Nutini enhanced with a wild touch of flirtatiousness.

Also, he's the only one who succeeded in dignifying Call The Shots by Girls Aloud as per his rendition for the evening. That is an accomplishment. The charisma and spirit of Julian though, are both his supplice et délice, for his music could be worth much more than what his crowd give him credit for, and his art deserves acknowledgment far beyond smiles and flirty looks, yet the way he searches for eye contact from the stage himself is definitely part of what makes people fall for him.
I guess in the end it comes down to that age-old decision: style or substance? Julian right now is focused on the first, by chance or by choice I might not want to know because I still want to like him, and anyway I see that so far this choice is working for him. That dichotomy, though, will soon bring up a consequential one which will say 'artist or puppet?', and for me to be hopeful that Julian will prove his integrity as an artist beyond all that glitters.

When I'm about to leave Bush Hall at the end of the gig my friend asks me if I liked him. I say to her: 'He's great. He's doomed.' But hopefully he'll prove me wrong.