Pop goddess Melissa Tkautz celebrated the release of her fabulous comeback single "I Want Your Love" on Friday night - and invited 50 of her biggest fans to join the party! Industry showcases are usually as appealing as an unairbrushed photo of Madonna but I was never going to miss the opportunity to spend an evening in the presence of a legendary diva like Melissa. I didn't know what to expect when I arrived at Trademark but I was pleasantly surprised to discover a fun mix of industry types and diehard gay fans. After an hour and a half of boozing and schmoozing (emphasis on the boozing!) the crowd settled around the stage in eager anticipation of Mel's arrival. I somehow found myself standing next to the lovely Cosima De Vito, which kept me well amused until the lights were dimmed.
I've seen Melissa perform many times over the past decade but Friday's showcase was the first occasion I've had the pleasure of hearing this national treasure perform with a full band - although admittedly for only two songs! Mel kicked off the show with a sultry acoustic rendition of her breathtaking #87 hit "Easily Affected". I've made no secret of my love for this anthem. I honestly believe it's one of the best slices of Aus-pop released this decade and its failure to set the charts on fire still irks me. The song sounded brilliant in its pared back form but I was having trouble concentrating on the music, such was spectacle of Melissa's ravishing beauty in her stunning sequined gown! The next tune to receive the acoustic treatment was "True Love", an album track from her hugely underrated "Lost & Found" opus. I suspect "True Love" might be recycled for Melissa's forthcoming album because she has been performing it at all her recent shows.
Opening the show with a duo of acoustic treats was a great ploy to showcase Melissa's heavenly vocal ability but I think most fans breathed a silent sigh of relief when she announced she would use a backing tape for the next few songs. The acoustic set was wonderful but as Mel said herself, she is the kind of performer who usually "rocks up to a nightclub at 2am to belt out a number" and for that we thank her! I was ecstatic when Melissa launched into a killer rendition of "Lies". It's one of my favourite tracks from "Lost & Found" and the revised version of the song on her unreleased 3rd album is even better. "Lies" was followed by an adorable interpretation of "The Glamorous Life".
The best was definitely yet to come. As I mentioned earlier, I had never seen the Tkautz perform with a full band in all my years of devoted fandom - so I was intrigued when Melissa called a group of musicians (including Nick Skitz) to the stage to assist her on "I Want Your Love". I was completely blown away by the results. The band sounded amazing and Melissa really fed off their energy. The live version of "I Want Your Love" has a much harder rock edge than the single and it's all the better for it. Melissa really needs to explore this sound in the future. I'm not suggesting she channel Pat Benatar but a move towards electropop could be her calling! The band stuck around for the big finale - a rousing and completely unexpected rendition of Joan Jett's "I Love Rock & Roll". Mel unleashed her inner rock chick and had the crowd eating out of the palm of her pretty hand. The showcase was over after only 6 songs but this was definitely a case of quality over quantity. Melissa displayed her usual vocal prowess as well as an unexpected versatility. No wonder she's still so well loved by her army of gay fans. "I Want Your Love" was released on Saturday. Support this local icon by downloading the song from iTunes or buying a physical copy from Chaos.