.Australian Music.

Sia + The Holidays @ The Enmore (02.02.11)

Dressed in a bright pink tutu and a black, fluffy poncho-looking-thing, the rest of her body painted black, she stood upright, sticky-taped to a cardboard cut-out background, also painted black. She was a walking wall positioned on a stage that looked as though my grandmothers knitting bag had thrown up all over it. This was Sia; very Sia. The stage was adorned with crocheted blankets that hung over every amp and instrument in the place – it was almost as though the intimacy of the gig had been created by trying to make the crowd forget they were at a gig, but instead in an old lady’s living room. Cup of tea anyone?

But more on this shortly…

The night began with The Holidays; a great band – and terribly unrecognized. They played an awesome set which I think most people appreciated, but most were also a little reluctant to ‘bop’ to; as most others weren’t doing so… I saw a few feet tapping and heads swaying, but other than that the crowd remained stationary for most of The Holiday’s set. Although the good thing about The Holidays gig is that the boys will always have fun, so whether you are too sweltering to move or not feeling the vibe of their music, you will still have a good time because you can watch the boys on stage laughing their heads off and jumping around.

The Enmore was a great place to see Sia – she performs well in intimate settings and The Enmore is probably as big a venue as they come, whilst still making it possible to achieve a certain level of crowd / performer interaction and intimacy. Although, I’m going to be a party-pooper and make one lousy complaint about The Enmore – please, get some damn working air-conditioning!

There is one thing in particular that impresses me especially about Sia, and that is throughout her entire career as a singer / songwriter, she has somehow managed to retain her innocence (as far as humility, nature and fashion goes). She performs every song as though she is auditioning, and when the crowd claps, cheers and cries at the end of every song, plastered with a cheeky grin she sinks her head and calls out a cute ‘thank you’.

As a long time Sia fan, I guess I was a little disappointed that she didn’t play more tracks from her previous albums, but I also recognize that time comes and goes, and most of the people at this gig probably wanted to hear her sing her newer stuff – I mean, We Are Born was her first huge album and it was only released last year.

She opened with ‘The Fight’ (a perfect header) and continued her set with songs like ‘I’m In Here’, ‘Be Good To Me’, ‘You’ve Changed’, ‘Big Girl, Little Girl’, ‘Oh Father’, ‘Cloud’, ‘Bring Night’, ‘Never Gonna Leave Me’ and ‘The Co-Dependent’; so she pretty much played the whole of her new album. She threw in some tracks from her previous album ‘Some People Have Real Problems’ too like ‘You Have Been Loved’, ‘The Girl You Lost to Cocaine’ and ‘Buttons’.

There was one particular track (originally from her second album Colour the Small One) that gets its own paragraph because I have so much to say about it… I don’t know what it is about this particular track, but for me, it remains as musical perfection in its most elemental form. This track is of course ‘Breath Me’. I was positioned second row from the front right in front of Sia, and to see her perform this track sent chills down my spine… This track is brimming with feeling, so much so that Sia takes a modest, brief moment before the song as ‘preparation time’. Her whole body remains still the whole way through the song as she clutches the mic between her two child-like hands, pushing her soul softly out through the amps. I am not afraid to admit this, but her performance of ‘Breath Me’ brought me very nearly to tears. There isn’t a word invented yet that I could use to describe the feeling I got when I heard her sing it.

One thing that ya’ll should probably know about Sia’s live performance is that she likes to ‘haggle’. The next time you see her live make sure you bring some letters / CD’s / shirts / your telephone number / a bubble ring / a folder full of useless crap to give her – she will take it all – and shove it down her pants… She is very honest in the way that she portrays herself on stage. She is very ‘human’ and down-to-earth; which is such a breath of fresh air. She does talk a lot at her gigs… I reckon she probably could have fit another three songs in with the amount of time she spent talking last night… saying that, she is very entertaining, and not just even on a musical basis. She is bubbly, giggly and childish; but with a dirty mouth…

The evening was such good fun. Sia really knows how to work the crowd; and with this natural ability + her huge heart for people in general, this gig was like no other I’d been to.

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