Ali Barter @ The Small Ballroom, Newcastle NSW Australia 29/09/2017 written by Brendan Lewis.
Make way for the hottest new rock girl on the block, because Ali Barter is shredding up the Small Ballroom for her first headlining show in Newcastle, as part of her ‘One Foot In’ tour! Based on Ali’s previous acclaim and success, I doubt we’ll get to see her perform in such a small venue ever again. Now let us see if her performance is of the high-calibre her music is so early on in her career and at such a small venue…
The venue is packed with fans anxiously awaiting Ali’s emergence with high excitement, however I’m a little worried about the sound tonight as it was rather hard and frustrating to hear the vocals from both supporting acts before Ali. With a big sigh of relief, Ali’s first song of the evening ‘Live With You’ is well mixed and I can hear all the sounds including Ali’s strong vocals clearly enough.
This song brings a slightly extended eery feeling intro that beckons a big cheer from us in the audience, plus even with Ali’s hands being full with her guitar or bass whichever it may be, she still sways and moves around nicely to the song with peaking energy heading toward the end.
Next without a pause, the energy creeps up with ‘Far Away’ with some astonishingly accurate and powerful notes in the chorus from Ali, plus some complimenting lighting which is quite surprising for such a small low-key venue, but never the less, the lighting is differing between colours and patterns in sync to the music, adding a nice essence to the show.
Keeping the continuity going like a pro, Ali quickly says hi to us (Newcastle) and moves straight into ‘Hypercolour’ off her 2015 EP, flowing into ‘The Captain’. ‘Hypercolour’ displays Ali and her band all moving around in their respected areas on the tiny stage, expressing their musical energy in action, plus the guitarist instigating a clap-a-long from us, the audience. On top of that, Ali’s voice especially in the start of ‘Hypercolour’ before the music fills out and grows in dynamics, quivers throughout the tiny venue and is hauntingly beautiful.
Next Ali and her band flow straight into groovy anthem ‘Light Them On Fire’. This song elevates the nights hype dramatically with everyone in the audience singing along with Ali and bopping around, while Ali and her band also groove-out on stage, and I gotta say, the way the guitarist is jumping up and down as he plays, it kinda looks like he’s busting to do a massive pee! Regardless, the sound was perfect and Ali’s voice continues to shine like the lights around her. I’m quite impressed at how professional and well flowed and executed this set is so far.
With a big cheer from us fans, the previous song is perfectly flowed into cherished single ‘Please Stay’, which brings with it a choir worthy sing-a-long from the audience dancing casually, and with Ali’s sound being sharp, crisp and exact to the recording, it raises the buzz in the venue nicely and keeps the musical energy flowing without disruption.
With the fire well and truly ignited in the atmosphere around me, this is the perfect time for Ali to have a breather and talk to her fans, which she does confidently and easily, not getting overwhelmed even with some fans yelling things out to Ali, you know, the typical “I LOVE YOU ALI!” and all that sh… stuff. Now after a nicely timed chat, Ali picks up the energy like a boss (yes, said like The Lonely Island says it), with a taste of a fresh new up-beat track titled ‘Rah Rah’. This song definitely elevates the crowds’ energy back to a nice glow with the lights behind the band in a sweeping like pattern to the catchy sound, and a nice ear-catching guitar solo. Even though the crowd are quite calm and relaxed with this being a new song, the audience are still entranced and in full focus.
Next, just to spice things up and keep you reading, I mean, keep things interesting, Ali and her band perform a cover of Tame Impala’s ‘Cause I’m A Man’ which even though I’m not familiar with this song, sounds great and has a bluesy feel to it, adding a nice bit of flavour to the recipe. This is accompanied by more professional quality lighting, a rather funky echoey effect on the guitar and Ali’s vocals, as well as the whole band rocking out on the tiny stage especially the guitarist, that if he is doing the “dolly-dance” needing to pee, I think I should back up a bit…
After another nice little chat from Ali, opening song off her debut album ‘Cigarette’ is up now. This song prompts the loudest sing-a-long from us in the audience yet, making it obvious that this is a crowd favourite, plus Ali alternating some of her incredibly accurate high notes and pausing her singing to let the crowd take over, snapping up any wavering attention in the audience. Even though I sucked at math in school, for this song great lighting + great sound = awesome energy for the home stretch of the show!
The home stretch features firstly, ‘Walk/Talk’ flowing nicely into new track with more up-beat vibes 'Backseat’ followed by ‘Run You Down’ before unleashing the real crowd pleasers, touring track 'One Foot In’ and lastly, Ali’s greatest hit ‘Girlie bits’. After a massive cheer from the crowd and a quick talk from Ali, ’One Foot In’ features a rather cool revving up alternate drum intro with beatsynced lighting, plus Ali’s energy clearly feeding off ours in the audience, who’s dancing is becoming a little less casual, and the singing growing louder. Finally, with a quick ‘Thank you very much!” from Ali, ‘Girlie Bits’ closes the set remarkably well with the energy on stage and in the audience peaking to its fullest, plus the sound being without fault to put it simply!
You want more don’t you? I’ve puppeteered your attention and enthusiasm that well that you want just one more aye?Yep, thats the exact feeling Ali’s left us in the audience with, so we cheer her back out for one last song, a stunningly beautiful acoustic rendition of ‘Tokyo’. Ali explains that this song is about her ex-partner who was in a band, and decided to f*** off to Tokyo while Ali stayed here or something like that. This was a fantastic ending to the surprisingly high-quality performance this has been!
I really am surprised at how professional, well executed, perfectly flowed and accurately sounding this show is for someone so young in their career, and still at a low-key level as Ali is. This in mind, I really believe Ali will be heading to much grander frontiers if she keeps this up, and is definitely worth dragging your mates along to!