Thursday, 17 October 2013

Gig Review - Lorde


Live music via smart phone.


Lorde
@ The Zoo, Brisbane (16/10/2013)
Supported by Oliver Tank
Review by Jo Michelmore


As I stood on Ann Street, outside an iconic venue in Brisbane on a Wednesday night, waiting for the fabulous Katie Langley, I wasn't expecting the conversation I was going to hear nearby. An older gentleman, wearing a flat cap and with an English accent, approached the bouncers of The Zoo and asked where the venue was he had been to earlier in the week. It was all live music, every night, and you had to climb some stairs to get to it, not like young people and the discotheque of The Zoo, the stairs were similar, steep stairs, but they were worth the climb, because the music was amazing. Little did he know the music inside this 'discotheque' was going to be amazing too.


Once we climbed those stairs, Katie and I did the sensible thing and found ourselves a fan. Anyone who has frequented The Zoo more than once knows what it's like. It's an oven. It's a giant fan forced oven and on really hot nights, if you're lucky, you find yourself a fan and stick to it. While it was only averagely warm, Katie and I are Brisbane girls, so we knew where to be, found the biggest fan we could and stood our ground. The windswept spot made our night so enjoyable, both of us feeling like we were featuring in a music clip, our hair blown sideways so as to impede the view of those behind us (this may or may not be true). 




While Oliver Tank has featured on our top 25 recently, being the live music lover I am, I was intrigued to see exactly how he replicated those smooth sounds on stage. A shiny red guitar, some electronic equipment, a couple of drumsticks and magic happened. The moody sounds that guy can make on his own are beautiful, it was truly a delight to hear. As I swayed and swayed in the gentle breeze of the fan, he played track after track that had most of the audience mesmerised, the hypnotic beats hard to ignore. 





Playing some tracks from his 2011 EP release, Dreams and some newer songs, Oliver's voice was divine, it was hard to imagine such an almost delicate vocal coming from that bearded, curly haired man. The absolute highlight, 'Last Night I Heard Everything In Slow Motion' was better than I could ever have imagined and a track I know I will listen to over and over again in the hope I see it live again soon.


By the time Lorde hit the stage, the venue had filled dramatically, although I can't say I thought it was the 'sold out' gig it had been promoted as, I'm sure I'd seen The Zoo a lot more packed than this previously, but who am I to say? There's no doubting the (mostly) very young audience were excited to be seeing the latest hipster icon in the flesh. Smart phones in hand, ready to watch a gig through the lens of a phone, this was an audience just dying to see it, get out and upload.




Lorde walked onto the stage with a grace (or was that shyness?) well beyond her years and instantly took the audience into her world, without a word, just a shy "Hey Brisbane" mid way through her first song 'Bravado' before launching into tracks from both her Love Club EP and Pure Heroine album. There's very little between song chatter, just a smile every now and then and I'm not sure if this a lack of stage experience or all part of the charm, but there's no doubt either way the audience loved it, the songstress had them all in the palm of her hand.


She prowled around the stage, flinging her hair dramatically, dancing like she was possessed and she seemed to naturally have that something performers crave, the 'look at me x-factor' that some people are just born with, but thankfully she also has a voice and talent to match. 'Tennis Court' provided one of the loudest cheers and the largest proportion of arms in the air, smart phones waving, recording every second. While I try to appreciate that everyone enjoys live music in a different way, I couldn't help but notice and be slightly put off by the amount of tiny screens in that particular audience. If I had wanted to see Lorde on a tiny screen, I could have stayed home and watched YouTube clips on my phone. Just saying.




With only the tiniest amount of talk about Brisbane's heat and a "I'm not very good at stalling", as well as a 'shushing' of the crowd as they sang Happy Birthday to her drummer, she showed her inexperience with live performance, but one could say this was somewhat charming, as the couple of covers and fabulously dramatic moves and growls, especially during 'Glory and Gore' made up for what she lacked in showmanship.


Ageing, inexperience, phone and gig behaviour aside, the performance was a pleasure to see, '400 Lux' and 'White Teeth Teens' both highlights, as well as, of course, the giant singalong during 'Royals', clearly the track the majority of patrons came to see. It was a fabulous to have the opportunity to see a performer in such an intimate venue, knowing that with her kind of talent and the kind of hype she is receiving, this is not the type of venue she will be playing for long. It will be intriguing to see how her inevitable success and touring change her on stage persona as she grows as an artist and a person, for it was sometimes hard to imagine that under that thick cover of make up she's only 16. I look forward to watching the progression.




That's one of the things I love about live music. Sometimes you get to see a seasoned professional who belongs on the stage, sometimes it's someone who's still finding their space on stage. Hopefully one day Lorde will be the seasoned performer and I will be able to say I saw her at the beginning, finding her feet. I also hope I'll be like that old guy I saw at the door, still walking the streets looking for a set of stairs to climb to find live music magic, knowing, if I'm lucky, when I get to the top of the staircase, I'm going to see something magical.


*One thing, to the two boys standing nearby: no, yelling at someone "f*** me" is neither charming, nor required. In fact, I doubt that yelling that at any stranger, in any situation is going to ensure that person does what you've yelled at them to do. Yes, Lorde is an attractive girl, but if you've only come to ogle, there's a venue a couple of doors down that would love to have your money. Unfortunately, as long as thoughts like that keep happening, misogyny in the music industry is going to remain alive and well. Sigh...
 



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