Kimbra live in New York
- By Aimee Kuvadia -
- Oct 22, 2012
Kimbra boldly sauntered on stage Friday night for her first of two sold-out shows at New York City’s Webster Hall donning an outlandish dress made out of what looked like magenta wigs, blue and purple pompoms and Christmas decorations. It was an extreme costume, but perfect for someone with such an extreme stage presence.
There was never a dull moment in the New Zealand native’s high-energy performance, nor was it possible for one’s eyes to drift away from her. She managed to hit every high note while aggressively yet melodiously playing the tambourine and dancing like a maniac. Occasionally, she’d even approach the microphone and embark on impressive, impromptu scat sequences.
For a skinny, 22-year-old like Kimbra to have such a mature, soulful voice seemed implausible. However, her vocals could be easily compared to those of Adele and Amy Winehouse. What was really remarkable was the wide range of notes she could reach while singing.
She went through most of her newest album ‘Vows’ with her outstanding four-person band, opening with ‘Limbo’ and ‘Posse’ before continuing onto one of her more well-known tracks ‘Good Intent,’ which clearly was a crowd favorite. She then beautifully covered Nina Simone’s ‘Plain Gold Ring,’ confirming that she is multi-talented musically. She sounded just as magnificent singing jazz as she did singing pop.
It took her two attempts to prime her vocals for ‘Settle Down,’ the first major hit off her album, which brought a second wave of excitement over audience members as they joined her in singing the “boom ba boom bah”s scattered throughout the track. This song was perhaps the most memorable from her set.
Though Kimbra’s conversational interaction with the crowd was minimal, her dramatic gestures, facial expressions and overall sweetness made her very charming nonetheless. The most she communicated with audience members was when she had a wardrobe malfunction, and her magenta shoulder pad that looked like a wig came off. “This hasn’t happened to me before. I just broke my costume,” she said chuckling.
The encore was somewhat anti-climactic, consisting of her performing ‘Withdraw’ and ‘Call Me,’ two lesser-known, slow-paced tracks. Audience members’ enthusiasm seemed to mellow, as they couldn’t dance to the music and didn’t seem to know the words to sing along.
Webster Hall was an inappropriate venue for this show, which detracted from the overall experience. It could hardly contain the sheer multitude of concertgoers, flurry of strobe lights and Kimbra’s sometimes high-pitched voice. However, for Kimbra, an artist with so much promise, small venues will likely be a problem of the past, since she has the stage presence to be selling out stadium-sized arenas in no time.
After sweetly expressing her gratitude to fans and taking a bow, she exited the stage, imprinting in the memories of all those who attended a performance, and costume, they would never forget. Her outfit was eccentric and out there, but it worked. And her performance was no different. It was eccentric, and at times imperfect, but it worked….beautifully in fact.
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