Live music is well and truly back, and on Thursday night, it was time for some of Australia’s best female musicians to shine.
Taking centre stage on Kaurna land, last-minute line-up addition Jess Day and her band – Ollie, Anthony and Angus – kicked proceedings off in spectacular fashion. The late call up did nothing to hinder the hometown artist who crushed with her thirty-minute set. Songs including Signals, Naked, Rabbit Hole. Gravity and Affection highlighted what an exceptional (and underrated) talent she is. The singer, songwriter and producer definitely set the bar high for the evening’s entertainment.
2020 Unearthed High winners Teenage Joans followed, with their big riffs and infectious personalities. Bathed in pink and purple lights to match their outfits, Cahli Blakers and Tahlia Borg bantered and rocked their way through songs including Ice Cream, By the Way, Something About Being Sixteen and the Unearthed High winning Three Leafed Clover. Despite being a two-piece outfit, their sound was voluminous and their vibe compelling. As definite crowd favourites, it was disappointing Teenage Joans was not afforded a lengthier set.
When Amy Shark walked on stage in her white puffer jacket and black pants, the crowd was ready to party. To be fair, they had been prepared for about six months, but y’know Covid and all that. That aside, from the get-go, Shark ensured she would provide a night to remember.
With a backdrop consisting of copious amounts of lights and a gigantic ‘AMY SHARK’ sign dangling overhead, Shark launched into The Wolves, Everybody Rise and All the Lies About Me to rapturous applause. The crowd, varying in age somewhat surprisingly from under five (of which there were a lot) to their parents, went ballistic with appreciation. The extent of outward gratitude only grew as the night went on. This highlighted how deprived of live music people have been over the last two years.
The ninety-minute set consisted of a mammoth twenty songs, not including the Jaws theme at the main set break. There were suitably timed ebbs and flows of pace and emotion that worked well for maintaining engagement. All in all, it was a slick, well-rehearsed production. There was, perhaps unintentionally, perhaps not, a distinct Act I and Act II.
The first half of the show was an almost ‘getting to know’ you exercise. Songs such as All Loved Up, Miss You, C’MON, You’ll Never Meet Anyone Like Me Again, The Idiot, Worst Day of My Life and Lonely Still just was. Shark performed, the crowd, adhering to Covid restrictions seated and wearing masks, responded. It was enjoyable but humdrum. Psycho followed and took it up a notch. There was a noticeable spark alight within Shark. Then she metaphorically said, ‘fuck it’.
Throwing the rule book out of Adelaide Entertainment Centre, Shark implored us to stand up, sing loudly, and dance like Steven Marshall wasn’t watching just for one song. And we did. And it was GLORIOUS! The sold-out crowd let loose to a cover of Mr Brightside as they should when seeing live music. The experience was cathartic and forced the trajectory in an upward direction.
The remainder of the performance encapsulated songs from Shark’s full discography. That Girl, Mess Her Up, Amy Shark, Baby Steps, Adore and Love Songs Ain’t for Us were supported by candid origin stories. We witnessed unabashed vulnerability that was endearing and captivating. Shark was genuinely gracious and happy to be there. It was pleasing to watch.
By the time the closing song I Said Hi rolled around, the entire audience had thrown caution to the wind. As a confetti bomb exploded across the AEC theatre, people sang and danced everywhere, enjoying the entertainment.
To echo the two seven(ish) year olds sitting behind me who squealed in delight for ninety minutes straight repeatedly screaming, ‘GO, AMY SHARK! I LOVE YOU, AMY SHARK!’. Indeed, we do, Amy Shark.
Live Review By Anita Kertes