Ziggy Alberts, Kim Churchill @ Thebarton Theatre, Adelaide 5/12/2019

Ziggy Alberts drifted into Adelaide’s Thebarton Theatre on December 5 like a cool breeze on a warm night. This fresh indie folk artist graced a sold-out crowd with his endearing smile, and musical talents. The twenty five year old musician began his independent record label ‘Commonfolk’ and has released a successful five records since. On this tour, Ziggy played tracks from Laps Around The Sun, his album released in November 2018 and streamed over thirty-five million times on Spotify. A fluent and innovative musician, Ziggy shared catchy and hypnotic beats on his guitar and kick drum, harmonica melodies and dreamy, heartbreaking songs on his piano, like Best Friend.

The support act Kim Churchill, created the landscape for a beautiful synergy between the two artists of the night. Ziggy mentioned that he used to go to Churchill’s gigs and now he is honoured to be on tour with him. Later in the night, the two brave, barefoot musicians even sang Heaven to us, with Churchill on the harmonica. In this emotionally fuelled duet about mental health, Ziggy hugged Kim, urging us to “do it old school; go and knock on someone’s door and ask how they’re doing.” Churchill performed Truest Intentions and Caught Up in the Landslide, a track about past emotional trauma and losing two important people in one week. He also spoke to us about how he loved living in his campervan with his bed in the back as a travelling musician.

A prelude interview of the nights anticipated artist on the big screen made crowds filter inside like magnets towards the stage. Ziggy started with the catchy Bright Lights and On Hold. ‘Jessica the van’ was a major part of Ziggy’s life in 2014 and he even played Days in the Sun, a song he wrote based on this time. Talking about how his life has changed from only playing in places “where we could surf” compared to “travelling on a world tour” allowed Ziggy to segue into Intentions (22).

As an environmental enthusiast and Sea Shepherd ambassador, Ziggy works closely with the organisation to tackle climate change and reduce the impact of coastal destruction, even bringing Sea Shepherd on tour with him. Ziggy told fans that he uses his platform to “question how we can be part of the change” explaining that saving the environment involves saving the oceans and people’s communities. He was “not addressing politicians because they come and go, I’m addressing you”. The perfect preface was established for his popular environmental awareness tracks Better Off (The Captain Planet Song) and Laps Around The Sun, with Ziggy showcasing his uniquely inventive guitar skills as he sang; “Do you see the ways that we’ve let plastic cover the ocean like snow?”

Surprisingly, Ziggy left the stage and began walking through the crowd. Before we knew it, he’d come up to a smaller stage in front of the seated audience. He shook the hands of us front row fans and jokingly smiled as one guy shouted to him “You’re even better looking up close mate!!” Ziggy said he’s “always wanted to play in the crowd”, before performing a hauntingly raw, stripped back serenade of Yu (A Song For Koda) to us. Every fan had their phone lights on, swaying to the love song. The ceiling suddenly lit up with warm lights and the theatre flooded with a calm brightness. Before leaving the smaller stage, Ziggy began Runaway, playing the guitar on his waltz back to the front, letting the crowd sing for him; “I kept my guard up because you let me down, but you can’t blame that I wasn’t always around, yeah I kept my guard up cause you were the one to run away.” Although in a packed theatre, the show felt intimate and intense, like Ziggy was singing straight to you. The lyrics and sound get stuck in your heart and on your lips as you experience everything Ziggy feels through his powerful, modern twists on the folk genre.

As he asked us if we’d seen him during his “days at The Gov”, Ziggy began playing Hands I Can Hold. The crowd crouched down and erupted in a mass dance party at Ziggy’s guitar crescendo. Before playing Love Me Now, he fittingly asked us if we could “…do this again sometime?” Enchanted underneath a comfortable air on a still summer night, I glanced around the theatre and witnessed groups of friends hi-5ing each other in a universal hope and happy love.

The encore tracks were introduced with a story, where Ziggy mentioned he was born in Queensland then moved to Byron Bay. He was at the markets at 7am one day and ran into a beautiful girl trying to buy her “kale and quinoa”, who he later wrote a song about. For potentially the last time, because he doesn’t know if he’ll “ever sing this song again” in Adelaide, Ziggy performed 2014’s Warm Coffee (The Market Song), admitting that writing a song for a girl is risky: “Gentlemen, this could be really romantic or really creepy, but you have to risk it to get the biscuit.” The crowd sang along to the magically intimate and cathartic lyrics of both Warm Coffee and Gone (The Pocahontas Song); “She looks like Pocahontas but, she wears these high-top sneakers with a button-up, she’s so indie but she’s really beautiful.” Ziggy let his hair down and jumped off stage to get closer to us and with his hand on his heart, he smiled, waved and thanked us. This was the first heartfelt performance of two sold out Adelaide shows and thankfully Ziggy will be back surfing into his next tours in 2020, surely catching the attention of many new fans.

Live Review By Zara Zampaglione

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