Reviewed on Thursday November 20 (photo by Ashley Mar)
Pop music makes us happy. There’s no better way to understand this than to see a great pop performance. First up, Banoffee played heartstrings with a lush one-woman set to start the night, synth and laptop at her fingertips. A more timid presence in person than on recording, Banoffee was inviting, but could have wowed the audience with a little more confidence in her execution. She really brought it, though, with her closing track ‘Let’s Go To The Beach’, sure to be a summer jam for many this year.
If anyone was anxious to see whether Kimbra could pull off the brilliant ambition of her new album The Golden Echo in a live setting, all doubt was blown away when she strode onto stage engulfed in a huge, feathered cape and opened with perfect control on album-starter ‘Teen Heat’.
As soon as you witness Kimbra perform, you know that she is where she belongs – in the spotlight. She is a natural, not only in vocal performance, but in her movements, which carry her frenetically and gracefully across the stage, and in her undeniable warmness. Her sweet stage banter and broad smile are infectious signs that she takes great joy in making live music.
While big tracks like ‘90s Music’ and ‘Settle Down’ were sing-along favourites, the show hit full swing somewhere around ‘Something In The Way You Are’ from 2011’s Vows. A special energy possessed the excellently weird ‘Everlovin’ Ya’, where the new album’s complex instrumentation was allowed to breathe, and ‘Rescue Him’ showcased an incendiary groove and vocal performance reminiscent of Amy Winehouse. Some interesting change-ups, including hard rock interludes and vocal ad-libs, were evidence that Kimbra is continuing to make decisions that push the boundaries of pop.
A beautiful, stripped-back delivery of the ballad ‘As You Are’ was the proclaimed “something special” to round out the night, and was ideally placed between the sugary pop of ‘Madhouse’ (à la Prince), ‘Miracle’ (with the energy and sound of The Jackson 5) and a truly stadium-worthy performance of ‘Come Into My Head’ to close. You can only see an even brighter future for Kimbra.