This week, Sydney sees a group of washed-up has-beens take to the stage attempting to relive their glory days and refill their emptied coffers. And not one of them is a member of Killing Heidi, who eschewed the spectacle of the Qudos Bank Arena in favour of a good ol’ fashioned Metro gig on Thursday.
Being any kind of music historian/enthusiast/whatever, one of the great joys of live music is seeing a headline act’s DNA embedded in their supports. It’s fair to say that Eliza and The Delusionals probably would not exist without the influence of Killing Heidi, given their shared genre roots and the frontwoman’s eye-catching style. Eliza Klatt is the band’s heart and soul, a fiery singer whose developing stage presence is completely compensated for by her powerful pop-rock pipes. Her band, The Delusionals, were exceptionally tight, with the lead guitarist bringing some real attitude to their set and covering a pulled lead heroically.
Iluka, on the other hand, seemed a strange tonal match to the headliners. Certainly they shared elements of country and folk – and a love for Fleetwood Mac, evident in Iluka’s head-to-toe Stevie Nicks get-up. But outside of the singer’s raw vocals, they had little in common. Iluka has an incredible capacity to sling gravelly, heartfelt vocals with little physical affectation, but her body remains resolutely still. Failing to name her band members struck as ungenerous, as well, despite their function as support to her songwriting efforts.
Remember the glory days of Killing Heidi? We sit down with Ella and Jesse Hooper to watch some video clips they haven't seen in years – including THAT belly dancing scene.
Posted by THE BRAG on Tuesday, June 6, 2017
The crowd had remained still for most of the evening, but when Ella Hooper leapt out onto the Metro stage, they lifted the ceiling with their cheers. Hooper has lost none of her rock-chick glory, merely tempering it with a daggy mum energy that makes her incredibly endearing. She put the dag aside as the band slammed into ‘I Am’, and we all returned to adolescence.
Amazingly, Hooper was able to poke gentle fun at the pretensions of her teenage self, without jeopardising the powerful emotional link her audience (or she, as a performer) had to the material. The years have only strengthened her relationship with brother and co-composer Jesse Hooper, who may have lost the dreads but hasn’t lost a shred of his musicianship.
Hooper has lost none of her rock-chick glory, merely tempering it with a daggy mum energy.
While other bands have stuck to playing ‘the hits’, begrudgingly fulfilling the requirements of a reunion set, Killing Heidi were more enthusiastic in their track selection. A few excellent tracks from their post-Heidi days slipped in (The Verses’ ‘Want Everything’ and Ella’s fantastic ‘Monkey Mind’), but had they not been announced, a less knowledgable fan would consider them indistinguishable from the band’s old repertoire.
Of course, the night ended with ‘Mascara’ and ‘Weir’, but they gave Sydney some cheeky extras in the form of ‘Leave Me Alone’ and ‘Superman/Supergirl’. For a moment in time, we had returned to the early 2000s, and our nostalgia did not feel tainted by desperation. We were living like we were 17 again – the band included.
Killing Heidi played the Metro Theatre on Thursday June 8. Photo by Ashley Mar