Merryn Jeann singing on Gooch street in Thornbury one breezy Sunday, November afternoon seemed typical of Parlour, it was intimate, slightly haphazard, and unique. As we were rolling into the gig, housemates Coco and Doug brought out huge bowls of homemade curry and salad for everyone to enjoy whilst they chilled and chatted amongst an array of rugs, cushions and sofas clustered around the spot where Merryn would sing.
A fire pit made from the basket of a broken washing machine was a complimentary sight as it lay next to a satellite dish full of ice and beer. As Merryn commenced she was laughing and talking with us in between songs and sporadically introduced Steiner pal and violinist Elle Shimada and trombonist (Fresh from Berlin) Cèsar Ralleyguieb who improvised alongside her, with a playfulness that made it feel as though we were sitting in upon a few musicians hanging out together in their lounge.
Merryn's vocal acrobatics were astounding to me, and her subtle and imagistic lyrics were complemented by the offbeat nature of the gig. Listening to Merryn do a mash-up cover of Kanye and Kendrick in the backyard of an old dentist's office turned share-house in Thornbury isn't how I'd expected to spend my evening, but, thanks to Parlour, it was. Everyone in the audience had that rapt expression you see on people's faces when they find something beautiful in a thrift store. It was out of the way, it was surprising, and, thanks to Merryn and Coco, it was a perfect gig, the kind you don't come across very often.