Just over three months ago, Kimbra released her second album, The Golden Echo. As a huge fan of her first album, Vows, and of Kimbra in general, I wasn’t quite sure what to think. Some songs felt like instant hits while others seemed clunky and odd. It took less than two songs from her performance last Saturday for me to realise that, frankly, I just didn’t get it.
She started things off with the album’s opening track, “Teen Heat”, marching onstage to a huge cheer in a typically loud and outlandish outfit. Her voice was as great as ever, and her onstage presence was second to none with a perfect combination of wild energy and quirky facial expressions. Kimbra then moved onto the second song, “Carolina”, and it finally made sense to me. This album was written to be performed.
Two songs in and her bandmates were already wiping away sweat. “We’re gonna have some fun” she announced, leading into the album’s first single, “90s Music”. Admittedly, I hated this song at first, but a crazy performance, crowd interaction, and rocking things out to finish can really sway an opinion. Things just went from epic to epicer (totally a word) as Kimbra wound back the clock, playing my personal favourite, “Settle Down”. The band put away their instruments and clapped along to the first verse. Things got a little intimate before, in an amazing twist, they turned an old favourite into a rock ballad. I was in awe!
Knowing how to play to her crowd, Kimbra took a bit of time to give us some love, asking for the lights to come on so that she could see her fans. She continued playing new and old songs, mixing things up with unique twists and turns, and explosive energy. I don’t think I’ve ever seen someone have as much fun as Kimbra was having on stage that night. Her rendition of “Goldmine” had it all, with echoing, mine-like percussion to open, use of her shiny gold dress as a prop throughout, and some peaceful and melodic piano from her keys guy at the end, earning him a huge applause.
Photo credit: Matt Biviano
Another old favourite, “Two Way Street”, had some crowd members singing along to every word. Kimbra had put her tinsel coat back on for the start of this one but quickly removed it when things got a bit wild. She finished with another almost rock ’n’ roll breakdown, with the drummer going particularly wild. A quick change of scene saw her mix things up a bit with a “different kind of love song”, playing “Rescue Him” under red lights. But the energy came right back as she yelled “I wanna see you all bouncing” before getting into “Madhouse”, which even included a bit of funk and groove on the bass.
Earning what were easily the loudest screams of the night, Kimbra moved into “Cameo Lover”, a clear favourite from Vows. The movement in the crowd was intense and the ground was literally shaking. Straight into “Love In High Places”, she really fed off the crowd’s energy, getting them to sing and dance along.
Up next was “Miracle”, a perfect way to finish and my personal favourite from The Golden Echo. For the second time in three songs, the crowd danced with such energy that the floor was moving beneath us. A clap along was started before the insane performance came to an end. Kimbra and the band left the stage and there was nothing but a bassy beat, like a heartbeat, and accompanying lights, signalling that there might just be more to come.
For the first time in many gigs, I had no idea what was coming. There were songs left unplayed from both albums and, yet, none struck me as the huge crowd pleasers an encore usually entails. Kimbra appeared and told us they were playing “something special on this tour” and that she was taking us to a “vulnerable space”. She played “As You Are” with just the keys as accompaniment, and it was intimate, beautiful, and full of emotion. Finally, to bring back the energy for one last jam, she played “Come Into My Head”. A flawless way to finish things off with a wild yet organised chaos that captured everything about the night and everything great about Kimbra’s newest album.
Hometown: Hamilton, New Zealand
Latest Album: The Golden Echo released 15 August 2014
Sounds like: If you don’t know what Kimbra sounds like, I beg you to go look her up!
Say what? Unlike what you’d expect from life in LA, Kimbra actually spent a year on a farm with an outdoor kitchen, including a microwave hanging by a chain from a tree.
Nobody But You
Something In The Way You Are
Two Way Street
Love In High Places
As You Are
Come Into My Head