Show Review: Kate Miller-Heidke 05.06.13

Published in Drum Media (WA) | 13.06.13 | Issue # 342



Few times a year Subiaco’s St Joseph’s Church is bursting at the seams – but even Christmas and Easter doesn’t see people fighting over the cold wooden seating, trying to get the best view of the alter. Brendan Maclean was filling in for tour support Franky Walnut – there’s no way Walnut could have censored his material enough to fit the environment – and unfortunately the acoustics of the room were his enemy. Banter from those settling in over-powered what would have otherwise been an engaging set.

Completely sold out – to the point where people lined the isles and walls of the building – Kate Miller-Heidke strolled out onto the dimly lit stage to a reception better than Jesus Christ himself, and began with a heavily vocal and piano intro. From the moment she opened her mouth and notes began bouncing off the walls and roof, it was clear why she’d chosen such a setting for her tour.

Once Miller-Heidke had a feel for the room, husband/guitarist Keir Nuttall joined her onstage with his acoustic for the appropriately title The Devil Wears A Suit.

For an operatic pop singer who has been known to drop the c-bomb and talk about the female reproductive system onstage, it was interesting to see how she would censor her humour without losing wit. Luckily she avoided any blasphemous material, telling G-rated stories, and remaining engaging between tracks. Certain songs were no doubt immediately ruled out when planning the tour (God’s Gift To Women), which made way for the Eurythmics’ Love Is A Stranger and Antony & The Johsons’ Hope There’s Someone.

The venue was so intimate that, at times, Miller-Heidke would step aside from the mic, bypass the PA, and still be heard perfectly.

Thrashing his acoustic guitar to the point where damage seemed inevitable, Nuttall was given time in the spotlight during Words. During Humiliation, the pair proved they can make-do without a backing band by using a delay pedal to add layer upon layer of guitar track, and smacking the guitar body to mimic drums. Miller-Heidke topped it all off by playing tambourine into the guitar and having it loop back.

Two new songs, Oh Vertigo and another untitled, made their WA debut between hits before time-restrictions saw things out with a crowd request of Psycho Killer and The Last Day On Earth.

Her music was written for the acoustics of churches and cathedrals, and maybe if religious institutes had as much to offer as the church of Kate Miller-Heidke, every mass would be a sell out.

Daniel Cribb