Killing Heidi @ The Cambridge Hotel, Newcastle NSW Australia 07/10/2017 written by Brendan Lewis.
“We just felt the city run went so well and was so fun, we just had to do a little bit more!”. That’s what lead singer Ella Hooper told me in regards to their current regional tour which tonight takes on The Cambridge Hotel in Newcastle, and lets face it, who doesn’t like a second scoop of something awesome? At their show in Sydney back in June on their capital city run, Ella’s dazzling charisma that resembled a kid in Toys ‘R’ Us who just had the most amazing happy-meal ever, and her incredible musical talent definitely made me want a second round! So here we are, round two, will this serve be as tasty as the first?…..
As I watch Ella bound onto the stage to a mass of lively excited fans while Nancy Sinatra’s ‘Bang Bang (My Baby Shot Me Down)’ plays on the speakers, I take back the analogy of Ella being like a kid in Toys ‘R’ Us, no, it’s more accurately like a happy Labrador at feeding time, and let me tell you, that sh**’s crazy!
The show is kicked off with a fan favourite of Killing Heidi’s musical catalogue ‘Calm Down’ bringing the energy and a lot of it, straight away. This song features the packed venue of lively fans singing-along in a familiar tone deaf manner, indicating that the audience around me are enjoying the various alcoholic beverages the venue has on offer. Ella dances around the stage wildly, expressing her musical talent in both movement and well trained stunning vocals. It really does amaze me how Ella can move around so energetically, whilst still sounding amazing! Ella isn’t the only one rocking out on stage, older brother Jesse joins Ella with his own style of grooves whilst shredding it up on his guitar, and along with Ella, they buff up the crowds energy by encouraging us to sing along with Ella.
Just like when I saw these guys in Sydney in June, they again open with ‘Calm Down’, however unlike last time it’s followed by the up-beat track ‘Leave Me Alone’ followed by a quick, bubbly chat from Ella, then straight into ‘’Outside Of Me’. Both these songs feature great energy from the band with Ella and Jesse both waving their arms from side to side, egging the audience on to do the same, but for ‘Outside Of Me’ the energy is escalated even more with Ella pausing her astonishingly accurate singing to let the audiences drunken voices shine. I gotta say, as amusing as it is I’d much rather hear you sing Ella, rather than these tone deaf punters around me. It did definitely help raise the energy though from both the band and us in the audience, topped off with an awesome drum solo by Pedro. With both us, (the audience), and the band feeding off each others energy nicely, it increased the hype of the show perfectly.
After being geared up by the band, the audience cheer and shout out rowdily to the band before being hit with tracks ‘Real People’ and ‘Heavensent’. With a fancy flicking back of the feet from Ella on stage, a ripper guitar solo and the continuation of well mixed clear sound, ‘Real People’ brings the energy up a notch, with the audience around me fist pumping and dancing around.
Although energy is great, I feel I’m about to wear the drink that the girl behind me is holding whilst fist pumping….. please be cider, at least then I’ll get a free drink. With a “thank you” from the band and an appreciative acknowledgement to the support band Racket, ‘Heavensent’ is up now.
This song gives a slight contrast to the set so far, yet continues to display more great sound, a mass of energy from both us in the audience who’s fist pumping hasn’t wavered and from the band with Ella riling us up even more with a “c’mon” in the songs bridge, and Ella racing around the stage like that happy Labrador at dinner time.
With a mighty cheer from their audience, both Ella and Jesse talk to us in the crowd and explain how it’s been 20 years and this next song is the first song of theirs that started it all. Surprisingly, Ella confesses that she is a little under the weather tonight, I honestly wouldn’t have noticed, her sound and energy have both been incredible so far! The band now welcome onto the stage their friend Jack Colwell, to accompany the band for the next three acoustic songs ‘Kettle’, ‘Astral Boy’ and ‘Black Sheep’ with its happy, skipping through a meadow of daisies like feeling. All three of these songs bring the musical energy down, yet Ella still keeps the audience hooked and slurring along, I mean, singing along to every word, with Ella interacting with our shout outs, moving around the stage and coming up close to us here at the front, and talking between songs divulging their meanings and stories in a really humble personal way, embracing the intimacy of the venue. This acoustic section did highlight Ella’s beautiful voice and with the accompaniment of Jack, the sound excelled throughout the venue exquisitely.
Now, after ‘Want everything’ the beat is brought back and with a vengeance, as the band all reassemble on stage for up-beat hit ‘Live Without It’ followed by ‘Monkey Mind’. The jolly Labrador-like energy is back with Ella dancing around the stage powering through being sick like a pro. Being uplifted by Ella’s on stage charisma, the audience around me chant “take it off” to Ella as she elaborates on her worn clothes. Knowing my luck, Ella probably will take it off and of course I won’t see it.
Nope, no stripping sorry, Ella powers straight into awesome sounding 'Monkey Mind’ which prompts the first in-sync jumping to the beat from the audience, as Ella feeds of our energy and projects even more, creating a powerful loop.
It appears we have reached the end of this musical tour through time, because the band thank us and announce that these two tracks are the last songs….. I call bull-s***. Of course the “last” songs are ever-loved power anthems ‘Mascara’ and greatest hit ‘Weir'. Talk about making a song and dance about it, Ella goes nuts with excitement just like my guide dog when he realises I have hot chips, and the audience attempt to mimic that insane energy as they all jump and sing at the top of their exhausted lungs. Surprisingly though, I feel like there’s less energy in the audience around me at the moment in ‘Mascara’, oh wait, scratch that, Ella now revs us up to keep singing and rocking out, and it worked, and its all topped off with Ella laying on the stage kicking her legs around, to give a dramatic finish. ‘Weir’ as you’d expect follows suit with an explosion of energy all throughout the venue, truly ace sound and a big finale, which thus closes the set….. *cough cough*
As we wait for the inevitable encore, I must mention normally I’d be quite disappointed at the unenthusiastic dull pub lighting, however the bands on-stage energy and charisma definitely trumps it and makes it very easy to look past the lighting. Oh and right on cue, the band are back.
This encore consists of beat-changing in-your-face power packer ‘Superman/Supergirl’ and finally my personal childhood anthem which I’m sure I made my parents hate, with me playing it on repeat, ‘I Am’. ‘I Am’ being the anthemic power-surge it is and with its perfect sound and improvised vocals from Ella, made me say f***-it to the note taking, and really join in with the rocking out from the crowd around me, closing the set on a high!
Even with Ella being sick, the sound and energy were both without noticeable fault, and Ella fed off the lively intoxicated crowd of this intimate venue perfectly. It’s little wonder why this band reached such success that lasted and didn’t fade over the years, and I really hope more memorable shows and new music follows from these Aussie icons!