Kimbra – Corner Hotel, 14th of April

After missing a few opportunities to see Kimbra, my excitement level was high as I watched her skip onto the Corner stage. Wearing huge smile and a sassy black frock featuring impressive sleeves, with black and white swirly patterns painted on her forearms and brandishing a tambourine, she was simultaneously adorable and fierce, and every bit as quirky as I had hoped. Opening with the funky ‘Call Me’, the New Zealand-born, now Melbourne-based songstress did not ease into her set, preferring to blast the eager audience with her notable pipes from the very beginning.Kimbra danced in synchronicity to the beat and her energy seemed to infect the crowd, who filled the floor on this sold-out evening. Even while we looked on in awe of Kimbra’s captivating performance and massive vocals, her catchy music proved impossible not to groove to.Blending jazz, pop, funk and soul with influences from earlier decades, Kimbra has a truly unique sound that is at once nostalgic and modern, eccentric yet accessible, and not at all easy to categorise. From the smooth jazzy verses of ‘Good Intent’ to the jungle tribal rhythms of new song ‘Marigold’, the slower, more stripped-back ‘Plain Gold Ring’ and the delightfully off-kilter ‘Limbo’, all of her songs do a great job of showing off her voice (and scatting ability). In many of her songs, most notably my personal favourite ‘Settle Down,’ Kimbra also featured her signature vocal loops and samples, transforming into a one-woman chorus. Her drummer, guitarist and two keyboardists accompanied her perfectly, with the latter three also fulfilling the roles of back-up vocalists. Four-part harmonies were plentiful and swoon-inducing.The evening was all about her new single ‘Cameo Lover’ (the music video has also just been released) and the sunny, ‘80s pop-tinged tune was definitely a crowd favourite. Ending with ‘The Samaritan,’ she explained that the song was inspired by the Good Samaritan inside: “If we want to change the world, we have to start with ourselves.”Kimbra’s magnetic stage presence, professionalism and talent belies her young age. What makes her truly wonderful to watch is how expressive she is; she encapsulates what she’s singing through her incredible vocal control and effortless projection, dramatic body movements, and her intense, animated facial expressions that seem genuine and not simply a staged act to please the audience. She also comes across as extremely humble and down-to-earth, thanking us numerous times for attending the gig.With her positive attitude, charming personality, a loyal fan-base, a knock-out live show and her debut album Vows set to be released towards the end of this year, Kimbra is well on her way to winning more hearts. She’s certainly got me smitten, in case you couldn’t tell.- Stephanie Liew


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