16 June, Sydney Tower Eye
With one of the most uniquely spectacular venues for an intimate live performance, it’s hard to go wrong. It’s even harder to go wrong with Thandi Phoenix, one of the most promising rising Aussie vocalists.
We were stumbling through the empty Westfield trying to find the elevator up to the Sydney Tower Eye, much like unsophisticated tourists. Once we made it up, the 360-degree view of Sydney at night felt rather sophisticated and knock-out stunning. It’s easy to become cynical of Sydney’s nightlife culture these days, but to view this magnificent city splattered in Vivid projections and the usual array of gorgeous star-like lights stretching out below us, you’re reminded just how great this city can be.
All the while, a live music performance is about to go down. Drinks in hand while DJ Samrai and Arona Mane spun some classics, we did some laps and took the time to absorb the views, even cramming into the touristy photo booth with some random new friends for some memorable snaps.
We walked back around to where the stage was set up, facing Darling Harbour. Spiral patterns danced across everyone’s faces from the lighting installations. Then, Phoenix took the stage – a small platform raised only a few feet from the ground, with a live drummer and keyboardist behind her on another raised stage.
The writhing reverse double bass sound that introduces her track Unravelling kicked off the show, dropping into a soulful dance beat. The crowd took a while to get into it but we kept our corner of the small dancefloor vibing, with the natural performance flair from Thandi Phoenix making it all the more enjoyable, whether singing, dancing or banging the sample pads. She has a beautiful stage presence that seems to connect.
Up in the middle of the sky surrounded by all of glittering Sydney at its finest angles, the show progressed with some killer originals plus a cover of Drake’s Passionfruit, an insight into a new single, and of course the forever lovable Come Around for an emotional final build up. Listen to Tell Me Where The Lovers Have Gone and imagine how epic it would be live. The only issue might have been some of the EQ – some sounds seemed lost beneath others, but then again, you get lost in the song regardless.
She shone brilliantly in the intimate space, even above the shining lights of Vivid and Sydney. Phoenix rocked a super cool style including vintage yellow-tinted crazy sunnies, her curls bouncing out in huge pigtails, it looked like she had heaps of fun. We definitely did.
A group of people who had mistakenly booked this show instead of the previous week’s Sydney Tower Eye Vivid special were loving it and asked me, “How is she not already famous?” Well shit, Thandi Phoenix surely shall be if she keeps up the ridiculously good vocal work and diverse mix of soul, electronic and jazz that still sounds Aussie. Phoenix rocks a gorgeous voice that grows with each new performance. Someone, please let Soulection know we’ve got some deliciousness over here.