I have to admit, I’d never heard of New Zealand Songstress Kimbra before she became a household name through Belgian-born-Australian musician Goyte‘s single Somebody That I Used To Know. At time of this post, the view rate was 212 million – I remember seeing it when it was up to 200,000.
Yeah, I was cool before it got really famous. Who wants to touch me?
But because of her duet with Gotye, it prompted me to look up this mysterious woman on YouTube to see what else she has released… and I am glad I did. Her songs Settle Down and Cameo Lover… I was hooked. This was before her debut album Vows was released in Australia. Once Vows was available, my side project The Nik & Stew Variety Hour (now defunct) managed to get an interview with the lovely Kimbra. After a series of blunders by the guys (edited out!) and on a time limit, Kimbra showed how gorgeous and patient she was and worked with us, even though she was on a tight deadline. Here’s the interview from the archives.
After we did this interview, I HAD to see her live. Not at a festival, but in a more intimate venue. I missed out on the Brisbane Spiegeltent in 2011, and lucky enough – she popped up later at the start of 2012.
Now, this girl knows how to perform. After the brilliant efforts support acts of Sam Lawrence and Daniel Merriweather, Kimbra‘s band came out to drum up the crowd. Then Kimbra walked out to a roaring crowd. Easily grabbing everyones’ attention, she let everyone know that she isn’t just a pop star – she’s a music goddess.
Having written and produced most of her songs on Vows, it was only a few songs in where Kimbra belted out her mouth-bopping first single Settle Down. The live rendition added an excessive rock feel to a very catchy tune that already sounds brilliant as a stand-alone song. When her current single Good Intent was played, the Tivoli was sent back to the jazzy 60s with the accompanying screens displaying the Mad Men-esque dance routine. A passionate rendition of Plain gold Ring made the listening experience extremely moving, with the lights dimmed to suit the intimacy of the song, soaking up the atmosphere and air out of the lungs of the audience. A performance of her new teamster song with Foster The People called Warrior was a slightly different step to her usual jazzy songs, but thoroughly enjoyable (also promoting that this song is now available on her Australian tour re-release of Vows). The visual lighting and appearance of the show made you feel that you were in a large entertainment venue like the Brisbane Entertainment Centre, but when you look around at the crowd, you’re up close and personal in a smaller but cosy venue. Her final song Cameo Lover went off with a bang – with evidence that you can never have too much confetti at a concert. It made you feel like you were in her music video for the tune.
What makes Kimbra stand out from regular performers is that she just does not sing the song, she moves with the music. A combination of dancing and hand movement interpretation making the lyrics come alive visually, the passion is there in the performance. This is Kimbra‘s signature style which is so characteristic, it’s amazing how much energy this artist has. One of those rare performers where their album sounds fantastic in general, but orgasmic on stage.
Purchase Vows (Australian Tour Edition) from iTunes.
Performance date: 15/5/12
Location: The Tivoli, Brisbane.