you'll adore this!
Amy Shark @ Enmore Theatre, Sydney NSW Australia 01/09/2018 written by Brendan Lewis.
In the middle of the night of this weekends tales, we find ourselves faced with creatures. Some, will drive you mad….. Depending on your musical taste, some are plain-out psycho, some you’ll adore, and some, are all loved up cute and cuddly. Tonight, the love monster herself, Amy Shark lets her debut album ‘Love Monster’ out of its cage for the first time on its very own tour, now here in Sydney. The monsters here tonight are surely set to leave a mark on you and pull you into a world that you’re never coming back from, but, don’t be the idiot in the room, face them, embrace them, and whatever you do, don’t turn around.
Don’t worry, I got you, step inside, welcome to ‘Love Monster’ inc…
An excitement and suspense building theatrical-sounding intro plays, while Amy walks out onto the stage and lets the first three monsters out of the cage which are ‘You Think I Think I Sound Like God’, ‘Blood Brothers’ and ‘I Got You’. The first of which, you’d expect to be a big, bold menacing musical beast to raise the energy in the audience to prepare them for the monsters that follow, but instead, we’re greeted with gentle puppy-like plucking rhythm of the acoustic guitar, with Amy’s soft fluffy vocals glowing around the delicate music… not what I expected for an opening song. But I feel I may have let my guard down a bit too soon, because nearing the songs’ end that cute fluffy puppy with that warm glowing voice bursts free, and emerges into a full band sound with a cry of nicely sustained vocal melodies to become the worthy opening song. Now we meet ‘Blood Brothers’ which is a fish-like monster, with it’s bright colourful scales of melodies and tones, and a mid-tempo dance beat that gets Amy moving around the stage to, radiating positivity off them, with Amy’s bubbly vocals breathing from the heart of the music. For both ‘Blood Brothers’ and the more warm and playful skip of ‘I Got You’, the bass is quite strong and make it hard for the songs to make their full impact on the audience, like a big grizzly monster that’s supposed to scare the panties off you, having bright pink painted toe-nails. But luckily, those toe-nails don’t stop the monsters from hitting us hard, and as a result, the crowd are singing along to every word in high spirits.
The next three monsters are the more pointy-edged ‘Don’t Turn Around’ the furry ‘Psycho’ with its multiple legs of walking guitar riffs, and the fire-breathing monster of ‘Leave Us Alone’. What makes these songs earn their description? ‘Don’t Turn Around’ doesn’t feed as much energy into the audience, but instead stands out from the previous creatures with its quicker, more pointy, edgy vocals whilst still maintaining an easy to digest melodic sound, yet has tentacles of rap vocals and RnB beats that wrap around the sound. These tentacles are smooth and glossy with Amy’s vocals gliding off them with ease, and at the end of them, have sharp vocal hooks to draw its prey (the listeners) in. After Amy shares some stories with us and tells us how she’s a massive fan of Blink-182, ‘Psycho’ (which originally features Mark Hoppus from Blink-182), builds the radioactive energy back up in the audience nicely, with the musical beasts attention-drawing guitar riff legs walking and twirling around the bright happy music, and its momentum building drum feet rising in speed in the pre-chorus, before bursting into a lightning fast sprint of energy in the songs’ last chorus, as Amy’s voice leaps off the ground and soars far and wide, in brilliant vocal control for power-vocals. The static from this beasts quick building speed charges up the audience and electrifies the hype of the show. From electricity to now fire in ‘Leave Us Alone’. This creature breathes vocals of deep fiery emotion, but don’t be scared, this creature is but a gentle one, with fingers dancing around the guitar in quick plucking like the crackling of the fire it breathes.
The rest of the creatures tonight, include the skillful balance of ‘The Idiot’, with its simple yet effective vocal melodies, balancing on the not-so basic layers of musical skin that includes a very effective synth layer, which adds to the raw honest vibe of the song. The alluring seductive love-nostalgia power of ‘Middle Of The Night’, with a dark minor-tone electronic drive, before a much bigger, brighter contrasting last chorus. The vulnerability and fragile urgency of ‘Mess Her Up’ which Amy divulges its story before-hand, giving fans a personal glimpse of Amy’s life. And the slimy gooey feminine-love textures of ‘Drive You Mad’, which Amy’s vocals bubble throughout it before one of those bubbles emerges and bursts into an outcry of nicely controlled energy. Amy devours the high-positivity in the audience from this song, and moves around more confidently and prominently, emphasizing the positive hype of the song. And finally, after more enlightening personal stories from Amy, we encounter the rough skinned cover of Wheatus’ ‘Teenage Dirtbag’, which raises the hype in the audience insanely, and sets a new benchmark for the nights energy, but I personally find Amy’s vocals as unique and seductive as they are, aren’t quite suitable for this cover, hence my ‘rough’ description. Amy now explains how this is going to be her last song, then she’s gonna walk off the stage for a minute, then play two more songs, spoiling what would’ve been a total surprise encore no doubt. The “last song” is the easy to love, cruisy easy going ‘Weekends’ and you’d never guess what the last two songs are, would you? ‘Weekends’ gets the whole crowd singing along loudly like hypnotised chirping birds to the slow, cruisy skipping sound, which its mix is dominated by bass sadly, making the vocals struggle to melt our hearts fully.
Surprise! Because you had no idea what two songs would be the two-song encore, it’s Amy’s two biggest hits the fuzzy happy little gremlin we all ‘Adore’..... I like gremlins, and the defiant attitude of ‘I Said Hi’. Both songs are performed brilliantly and to me, sound true to the recording, the mix is nice and even despite it previously being too bass dominated at times, and the positive hype and the blast of musical energy and confetti at the end of ‘I Said Hi’ makes these two songs perfect leaders of the pack, regardless of their public popularity.
There are more monsters lurking around the corner, I’m sure, at least after that, I truly hope so!