The Triffid, one of Brisbane’s most well established and intimate venues, shines both in its large live room and in its smaller beer garden shows. The greenery may pay homage to the giant, man-killing plants the venue is named for, but a friendly, personal vibe makes it ideal for the singer-songwriters who often perform on the small garden stage.

There are very few headliner-support combos as well suited as Chloe Styler and Jem Cassar-Daley. It’s easy to become generic in a genre of music as popular and saturated as theirs, but both artists bring something to the table, making this a special combo.

With a clear, strong, and pure voice (and a smile to match), Chloe shows the benefits of a burning passion for what she does. She has an uncommon recognition of her best register and matches quick chord progressions with funny, poignant, and most importantly, relatable lyricism. This was definitely most clear on her new single “Consider Me Gone”, a driving tune with hints of Thelma Plum on the album version, and Crowded House on the live performance. Chloe genuinely seems like she loves what she does. It is vital to feel a connection with the performance in gigs like this, and Chloe can accomplish this in spades. At one point, forgetting how to begin her song “Sweden”, she jokes with the audience, soldiering through what I can tell you can be a mortifying experience. However, her charisma and determination not to skip the song showed the character of someone who will doubtless go far in the Brisbane music scene. It came together spectacularly, and there is something touching about being able to see the pride on her father’s face as she pulled it off.

Jem Cassar-Daley, resplendent in a starry, sparkly black outfit, has a stage presence you can feel tangibly filling the performance space. Supported by a band of bass and drums, Jem shows a delicate touch and restrained fire on the keys, shaping her sounds by ear on the synthesiser before each song. Few young artists show such a refined sense of pacing, bringing the venue to silence on slower, quieter songs while putting her personal stamp on a couple of crowd favourite covers.

Beyond simply being brilliant tracks, Jem’s range of covers served to showcase her skills in different areas and genres of music. Beginning by stating that she’d always wanted to play the piano like Billy Joel, Jem proceeded to weave wonderful piano lines and a subtle vocal style into a stunning cover of “Vienna”. The inspiration she has taken from fellow songsmith Phoebe Bridgers was startlingly apparent on her duet with Chloe on Bridgers’ track “Motion Sickness”, and the striking harmonies and pure notes made this performance one of the best of the night.

Jem is the product of a creative community and a musical upbringing, and this was never clearer than during her cover of Ryan Adams’ “Oh My Sweet Carolina”. Inviting her parents Laurel Edwards and Australian country music powerhouse Troy Cassar-Daley onto the stage, the trio performed a heartfelt, strikingly beautiful rendition of the classic tune. Moments like this are what make shows special, and Jem’s ability to hold the spotlight and perform so flawlessly in harmony with her parents made this song unforgettable.

New single “Changes” further showed the breadth of Jem’s talents. Heavily jazz-inspired in both tone and rhythm, “Changes” illustrates Jem’s talents on keys and vocals while embodying a maturity of style absolutely essential to creating the mood this song strives to create. This is the kind of new music Brisbanites love, and Jem’s effortless talent in capturing the vibe and enthralling her audience bodes well for her future career and the state of Aussie music at large. Her tenderness in the quieter moments, her power on the big notes, and the joy on her face while performing music she loves makes any of her shows a must-see.

Listen to Jem’s new single “Changes” and Chloe’s new single “Consider Me Gone” on streaming services out now.



Cover image by Ned Hammond