Sydney’s The Lansdowne is an oasis of top-quality music in Sydney’s overpriced inner-city trendy-bar scene. Last Thursday it welcomed the EP launch for Tia Gostelow’s debut album Thick Skin.

With rock-n-roll in its essence, the shabby-chic venue was fitting for the Far North Queenslander to bring her indie folk-rock sounds to Sydney. Rough around the edges, but in all the right places, the night unfolded with a sense of magic as Darby warmed up the glowing red stage.

An intimate space by nature (I mean, the loos are unisex), the stage is in reach-distance for anyone front row. As people began to dribble away from the bar and towards the music, a solid wall of people had made their way to the front by the time Alexander Biggs took the stage. His music is moody and reflective and sounds exactly like the soundtrack to your favourite indie move (think Perks of Being a Wallflower or anything starring Joseph Gordon Levitt). Also shout out to guitarist Bec, who performed on her birthday and didn’t cringe too much when the crowd sang back to her ‘Happy Birthday’ most definitely out of tune. Sorry about that.

After a brief hiatus for a good ol’ tech-check and stage rearrangement, Tia took to the mic. Her voice was noticeably smokey and her country twang was accentuated.

She had the flu, “If I sound a bit shit, that’s why” she told the audience. No one minded.

Hey Friends had the crowd singing along with every word, but Tia held the room silent for the introspective Vague Utopia. As an audience, we were with her as we moved through the emotions of each song – and despite having the flu Tia’s voice was as powerful and full as ever.

That’s What You Get – your new break-up banger – is a true and personal story that I think we can all relate to one way or the other (whether you were the betrayer or the betrayed, you know the gist). But it was Blue Velvet that had the real Lana Del Rey vibes and showed off Tia’s vocal range in a ballad-style.

I’m going to go out on a limb here and say Tia’s Like A Version cover of Empire of the Sun’s We Are The People is up there as an all-time favourite, and the crowd was legitimately ecstatic when she played it. The energy surged.

Tia had another surprise in store for us though. Melbourne’s LANKS appeared on stage to sing Strangers, a track the pair co-wrote and performed beautifully.

Tia gifted the audience with one last treasure, finishing the night on Phone Me, and lots of ~dancing~ from the audience. It was a high.

Tia was gracious and seemingly overwhelmed to not only see the venue full, but a crowd that knew all her songs and loved them.

Tia Gostelow’s final Thick Skin Launch will be on November 16 at Black Bear Lodge, Brisbane.