That eyes closed, arms outstretched, feel-it-in-your-chest kind of music. That’s what Amy Shark brought to Perth last Sunday, with Amplifier Bar filling out for what was the Gold Coast singer-songwriter’s first ever headline tour.
After being assured the crowd wasn’t just there because Perth has nothing else to offer on a Sunday night, Shark delivered an enthralling performance of unparalleled confidence and vulnerability.
The night kicked off with Perth indie-electronic trio Lilt, with their synth heavy, moody melodies completely transforming the usually seedy atmosphere. Front woman Louise Penman’s powerful and intimate London Grammar-esque vocals pulled in any early comer’s attention, and despite her self-professed nerves and lack of pre-show beverages, Lilt went on to provide a strong, evocative opener, full of shaking subs and haunting harmonies.
Melbourne pair NYCK were up next, the crowd far less engaged this time round. Despite the initial disinterested response and, quite frankly, rude audience, NYCK carried on seemingly unaffected and extremely grateful for the opportunity to open for Shark. The duo eventually took clearer shape and got listeners on board. Dom and Nick’s stripped back and soulful vocals came together smoothly with the heart wrenching keys and innovative use of body percussion.
Coming out from back stage like a boxer ready for her prize-fight, even donning an Adidas jacket, the crowd erupted upon seeing Shark for the first time. Launching straight into samples off her upcoming EP Night Thinker, Shark quickly had the attention of everyone in the room.
Admitting her surprise at the venue’s turn out and the fact the Perth punters would know her music, Shark proved to be both an engaging storyteller, and extremely down to earth despite her quick rise prominence on the back of Adore. The crowd remained completely absorbed as the powerful backing instruments and emotive lyrics of Shark’s first few songs gave a preview of what was to come. Before long an acoustic guitar gave us a stripped back version of Deleted, exploring all too relatable relationship anxieties and fears of being left behind.
Spits On Girls had the crowd singing along for the first time that night, and as Perth proved their love it seemed as if Shark couldn’t stop herself from smiling while delivering the lyrics. As an engaging and open performer, she continued to talk at length about the stories and feelings that inspired each song, forging a strong connection and enabling the audience to get in to the mind frame she found herself in while writing (this was particularly effective and shocking during a anatomically impossible description of what it’s like to have your heart broken featuring a rubber cleaning glove).
To keep things from being too “heavy”, Shark gave us a cover of Eminem’s Superman, the once slightly sleazy and scathing attack on former relationships becoming ultra funky and smooth with her electric guitar rendition. Current single Weekends got the crowd singing again, one punter confiding in me she had never been this close to anyone famous before and thought she was going to die. With the set too quickly coming to an end, Shark introduced the next song as the one that changed her life. Unlike most emerging artists, it didn’t feel as if the crowd were only there to hear the singer’s hit, but with 60% of Adore’s Triple J Hottest 100 votes coming out of Perth it was more than well received. The energy and love was palpable as Shark reached out to hold the hands of girls belting out her lyrics and no doubt capturing the moment on Snapchat.
With appearances at Groovin’ the Moo and Splendour in the Grass, as well as a US tour, coming up this year, it seems as if Shark should get used to pulling in large and intensely affectionate crowds. With her strong, stirring repertoire, effortless vocals and humble persona, this is the year for Amy Shark.
-Words by Briana Walker
-Photos by Michael Franz