POP SINGER and producer Kimbra performed at the Arts Centre in Melbourne last Saturday night for Supersense Festival of the Ecstatic.
Her hour-long set left you reeling, wanting more. The New Zealand-born artist, known for her prodigious vocals and experimental artistry, sang with passion and power as she danced on stage in her key lime neon dress. She was accompanied by her two-man band, Timon Martin from New Zealand, and Spencer Zahn from New York.
A world away from her alternative indie-pop days, Kimbra bared a different, new direction through her fresh sonic sound and visuals. She debuted new tracks from her upcoming album along with re-imaginations of exisiting work. There was a cheer of recognition as Kimbra began a stylised version of her popular hit, Settle Down.
“Thank you so much for coming Melbourne, it’s been so long. It feels amazing to be back! I’m going to perform new music for you tonight – you’re my guinea pigs,” Kimbra said.
Kimbra was groovy and innovative, electronic-funk paired with psychedelic visualisers projected on screen. The striking animated CGI created by New York-based designer, Phillip David Stearns, provided thought-provoking imagery to digest.
While the singing came easy for Kimbra, there were some technical issues dotted throughout the show.
“Sorry for the technical difficulties, we’re just warming up! But I think we’re relaxed now; the rest of the show will be amazing!” she said.
Despite the glitches, it didn’t detract from her performance – the crowd was more than forgiving and cheered her on for support. Kimbra and her band members’ special sign-language prompts to the sound engineers were fascinating to watch and added to the theatrics; though it must have been frustrating for them.
The highlight of the night was Kimbra’s soulful interpretation of, As You Are.
“This next song is from my album, The Golden Echo. I wrote it with Daniel Johns from Silver Chair – it’s special to me. It’s one of my favourite songs and I get so emotional when I sing this. It’s about deep stuff,” she said.
Her energy was contagious as she delivered an intimate electronic experience with no holds barred. Despite all the technology, you felt connected to the music, and the bass rippled through you. You could see Kimbra was in her element while she manoeuvred the control panel set-up and synthesisers that dominated the stage.
After Kimbra’s new track and second last song, Top of the World, the crowd went wild with applause and cheers.
“Wow, Melbourne I’m so happy to be back!” Kimbra said as she stood in awe of the crowds’ response.
“So I just finished up some shows in Japan – don’t get me wrong, I love the Japanese people it’s just they’re such a quiet audience! It’s nothing like this. Thank you. Whew! Australia!” Kimbra said.
Kimbra wrapped up the show with one of her recent single’s, Sweet Relief, and part of the audience strayed from the seated format and stood to enjoy her last song.
A visual feast and sensory overload, Kimbra delivered an incredible show; a teaser for what’s to come.