8 June, Metro Theatre
There’s no denying the fact that Killing Heidi fall under the ‘legendary’ category when it comes to Australian music history. Thrust into the spotlight with their triple j Unearthed win in 1996, their emotion-driven pop-rock tugged at the hearts of every teen to 20-something during the back end of the ’90s. They made you feel like someone understood what you were going through during that “It’s not fair, Mum” phase. So when news broke about their 20th anniversary tour earlier this year, anticipation and expectations were high for their first live shows in a decade.
Last night the band tore up the Metro Theatre stage on the Sydney leg of the tour. You could taste the nostalgia in the room and it was like old school, Saturday morning Rage and your favourite childhood cereal. Punters filled the room, draped in an excellent fusion of tartan, silver studs and anything black. The eyeliner was thick and so was the hair gel. A buzz filled the room as eager fans discussed which songs would be played and which albums the band would focus on.
First cab off the rank for the evening was Queensland’s indie-punk rockers, Eliza & The Delusionals. Pink hair-clad lead singer Eliza Klatt carried the entire set with her charged vocals and strong, moody stage presence. Think Gwen Stefani (No Doubt era) meets Hayley Williams from Paramore. Despite her raw energy, the rest of the band seemed disconnected, with no interaction with each other or with the crowd. Their sound hit hard and was well received by the audience, but also seemed slightly undercooked, maybe missing a thicker baseline or some crooning backing vocals?
Following suit in the lineup of strong frontwomen, Sydney favourite ILUKA and her sensational band took to the stage, serenading the crowd with her sweet, butter-like vocals – rich in flavour and satisfying on the eardrums. The music they exuded swirled and swept through the venue, with drummer Billy O’Key, shelling out rhythms that had the whole room moving at least one, if not many, parts of their body. Set highlight Blue Jean Baby, a perfect composition for watching a hot, summer afternoon pass you by, was absolutely radiant in a live setting. Also worth mentioning was Iluka’s vocal range, which was extremely impressive and versatile.
At 10pm, Killing Heidi appeared on stage, a spring in their stride and a subtle grin on each of their faces. It was clear they were as excited as we were. Ella Hooper – dressed in only the most killer of black catsuits – took to the stage with enthusiasm, charm and grace, making it quickly known that she is still one of the most commanding powerhouses in Australian rock. Kicking the show right into gear they launched with Calm Down from their eponymous debut. Not stopping for breath, they then whipped out angsty classic I Am, with a very appreciative crowd singing the chorus with just as much vigour as they would have 20 years go.
For a band whose power comes from connecting with their audiences on an emotional level, Hooper didn’t seem to feel her music the way she once used to. No question about it – she’s an amazing performer – but some songs with heavier content were delivered with what could only be described as a Disney smile and a cheery demeanour at odds with the lyricism.
Never the less, the band was tight and clearly enjoying themselves. Hits like Outside Of Me, Kettle and Live Without It were met with rousing choruses from fans and fist pumps from the more diehard members of the audience. Surprise additions to the set included a cover of Ella and Jesse Hooper’s other band they started while on hiatus, The Verses, with a Fleetwood Mac-inspired track, Want Everything. Also thrown into the mix was a solo track Ella had released, Monkey Mind.
Giving off some serious Chrissy Amphlett vibes, Hooper and the band closed the set with pure classics Mascara, Weir, Leave Me Alone and Superman Supergirl. The crowd jumped along happily, knowing they could sleep well tonight after having their teenage years revived.
Still proving themselves as a force to be reckoned with on the Aussie music scene, Killing Heidi did not disappoint. Catch them at their final two shows in Melbourne and Brisbane this weekend.