Thursday, August 23, 2012

Kate Miller Heidke: Corner Hotel

If Kate Miller Heidke and I, defying all logic of distance and age and time, had ever gone to high school together she would be the girl that I would be constantly be trying to impress. Even as I sit here, listening to her songs and reading her twitter feed (I'm not a stalker, I swear), I can't help but be struck by how COOL she is. Urgh, it almost makes my heart hurt a little, knowing that in my fictitious school scenario she and I would probably never be friends.

As I right these silly little things, I do not mean for a second that she comes off as pretentious or superior (although if you heckle her on stage be prepared to get severely cut down). Her songs are always honest and heartfelt, and whether it be in her lyrics, her social media presence or even on stage, it is blatantly obvious that she does not try and be anything other than who she is. She isn't ashamed of her weirdness, and that is what I admire most about her. The way she blends pop with opera, her style, the songs she chooses to cover (I'll get to that later, because oh my goodness), I've yet to come across anyone who can just go and carve out their own space in this oversaturated follow-the-formula music world. Except for Tori, but I fear that those days have long since passed. 

This was a highly anticipated gig for Lovely and I, not only because I had seen Kate perform once before, but because she was also being supported by none other than the Beards. 
If you have yet to be confused and amazed by the Beards, let me enlighten you a little. 

And here's another. I like this one because there's also a Schnauzer.

If you haven't caught on yet, these guys really love their beards. They love beards so much that they named their band after them. They love beards so much they've written all their songs about beards. Three full albums of songs. About beards.
Apart from being batshit crazy on stage, these guys are also make legitimately good music. Even though every song they've ever written features the recurring theme of beards, no two songs feel the same, nor did their set feel laboured or tired. The key, I think, is that they are all deadly serious in the execution of their comedy, thus making it hard to tell if they are brilliant comedic musicians, or four guys who have an almost unhealthy obsession with facial hair. And that's what makes them so hilarious; if you don't believe me, have a listen to some of the songs I've added to the playlist at the end of this post. I dare you not to enjoy it. 

But back to Kate. I've loved Kate Miller Heidke ever since her song 'Space They Cannot Touch' started doing the rounds on triple J; I can't remember how long ago that was, but I'm pretty sure I was still in highschool. Yeesh. Having said that, this is not me trying to prove how hardcore of a fan I am (I did enough of the 'I knew these guys before they were big' bullshit when I was in high school), but rather to illustrate what seeing her play again meant to me. It's been a long love affair, and a testament to the power of her music in that it has stayed with me throughout the most identity-defining years of my life, whilst many, many bands that I thought I would love forever have fallen by the wayside (Nightwish, anyone?). Through all the moving rooms, the moving out and moving back home, the wardrobe clear outs, op shop donation bins and iTunes purging, that Little Eve Tour poster that she signed for me back in 2007 still hangs on my wardrobe door.  

As a performer, Kate is witty as hell, enchanting to watch, and just goddamn beautiful; she doesn't hold back. She's not afraid to tell strangers her personal stories, both between songs and in them; some are hilarious, some embarrasing, some of them painful and terrifying. You might remember me posting her song, Sarah, a couple of months ago as part of a Music Monday? All true. She bares her soul in her songs and on stage, but she does it with such grace and humility that you cannot help but respect her. And I love how she lets her older songs breathe and evolve on stage; Caught in the Crowd now has whistling, the piano riff in Words was replaced by some killer guitar, and God's Gift to Women features a rather sultry intro.

She's not afraid to have fun either; case and point, the covers. I'd heard many of Kate's recorded covers; her beautiful rendition of River by Joni Mitchell, a stirring version of 'Your the Voice', and the bizarrely wonder opera cover of 'Psycho Killer.' Yet none of these would prepare me for a motherfucking Eminem/Kanye West mash up of The Real Slim Shady with Monster. If you can find it youtube (I haven't been able to yet), watch it!!! I am not the biggest Eminem fan, and even less of a Kanye one, but I LOVED THIS! The whole band reworks it incredibly and her rapping is flawless. Urgh. I have to stop drooling everywhere this is embarrassing. She also did a really hot lounge version of the Beards "You should consider having Sex with a Bearded Man', complete with creepy saxophone cameo from the Beard's front man.

All in all, it was a fabulous show, capped off perfectly by 'Space They Cannot Touch', my first and still favourite song of hers. If you can, you must go and see her!

Highlights: Space They Cannot Touch, Mama, Humiliation, The Devil Wears a Suit, Sarah, Politics in Space, The Real Slim Shady, Monster, Let Me Fade, You Should Consider Having Sex with a Bearded Man

Ok. I really have to go clean myself up now. Enjoy the songs!

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