Alisa Fedele Industry Night @ Red Bull Galleries, Alexandria 25/9/09 An industry night is much like an audition. But rather than showcasing your talents to a panel of nameless judges, you've got to prove yourself to a thronging room full of critics - most of whom either exist in your inner circle, are ears that matter or are on their way to inebriated and callously judgemental. These were the critics that made up Sydney girl Alisa Fedele's launch crowd who were privy to a run-through of her Take Off EP. And if she knew just how important this night was for her burgeoning career as a soul songstress, she didn't seem to have her nerves on the guestlist. Amongst the bare-brick walls of a chic top-floor warehouse in god-knows-where, Alexandria, the free booze was brought to a halt as Fedele took up residence behind her keyboard. Some industry type whispered: "Oh, she can play too". Yes, Fedele is a Kinder Surprise full of talent. Apart from a voice that sounds like Katie Noonan through a thousand treble-boosted speakers, she's got guts and stage ownership that belies her age and experience - it could have been Mia Dyson or Renee Geyer up there. Flanked by her newly-anointed band in black (trumpet, keys, percussion, guitar, double bass and drums) she started with the title track from her EP and kept the tempo allegro apassionato until the relative oldie I Think I Like You, which is where George comparisons take root. All sass and circumstance in the breaks, it's during songs like this that Fedele's vulnerabilities come snaking out, and where she really flexes her singer/songwriter muscles. She's disarmingly frank too - mid set, Fedele bravely told a room full of critics that everyone thinks she can only sing at one volume: loud. So to prove them wrong out came the EP's closer Lazy Days And Lazy Nights, a luscious slice of quiet, soulful jazz which, prefaced by a little self-deprecation, sounded that fraction sweeter. Fedele and co. Finished the set by reverting back to "loud", much to the pleasure of the people in the front row, and Let's Dance Today was all the bar staff needed to hear before they climbed atop their bar to dance. Showcasing every iota of your diversity and playing the crap out of your release is exactly what an industry night calls for - and that's exactly what Fedele did. From piano darling to jazz mama, and from the unrestrained beauty of her old stuff to the serious focus of her EP, Alisa Fedele charmed a crowd that at first seemed damned hard to charm with a set of exciting tracks. Here's to a future filled with more fans - and hopefully less critics. Rebecca Keane.