Published in The Music (WA) | 26.03.14 | Issue # 31
KATE MILLER-HEIDKE, SWEET JEAN
22 March, 2014
It’s nearly impossible to capture the intense beauty of Quarry Amphitheatre in words, but the sounds of tour support Sweet Jean echoing throughout the venue and its steep limestone walls, meeting the wind rustling through treetops peaking inside, did a solid job capturing the vibe on a sonic level. If you’re down on your luck, “just like Justin Bieber”, a listen to the duo’s brand of acoustic folk will surely turn things around. They left the audience with Shiver & Shake off their most recent record, the fittingly titled Dear Departure.
Having booked three nights at the venue, Kate Miller-Heidke was practically moving in. Her quirky side was on show even before making an appearance, with a variety of plain white dresses hung around the stage like you’d imagine in someone’s backyard, playfully dancing in the wind like something out of a horror flick. A weekend by the WA coastline resulted in a calm and collected Miller-Heidke and guitarist/husband Keir Nuttall, as evident by violin-driven Rock This Baby To Sleep, off new record O Vertigo!. Supported by numerous backing vocals on the album version, a stripped-back version, with only violin, keys and a lonesome voice set the tone of the evening.
Nuttall strolled out to the chords of Ride This Feeling, and shortly after showcased some fine whistling and guitar abilities to Caught In The Crowd and Words. It wasn’t long before new material made another appearance, with the titled track receiving a comparison to, “Enya on crystal meth”. Multi-instrumentalist John Rogers – who is worth his weight in gold – received a wealth of praise for his haunting violin contribution to Sarah before leading Yours Was The Body with a thunder-like stomp box. In exchange for cupcakes, Miller-Heidke sung happy birthday to two punters, then the party really kicked off with a cameo from Sweet Jean for Devil Wears A Suit and Politics In Space.
Mixing things up a tad, Nuttall was set loose to deliver one of his own love songs – Stuck Together, a tune from his country comedy alter ego Franky Walnut, before impersonating WA hip hop legend Drapht, adding some Drama to the set. In an almost calculated matter of timing, cloud cover thickened over the venue and rain began lightly trickling over the audience as thunder boomed in the distance to a cover Divinyls’ I’m Jealous. In keeping with the intensity of the previous track, a semi-instrumental mash-up of bluegrass, metal and opera – “three of the most hated genres” – formulated in Hornets. After leaving most with a craving for chicken with a slightly altered version of Shake It, the three-piece made Beyonce’s Run The World their own during an upbeat acoustic version that allowed Rogers to cut loose and Nuttall to implement his baritone like comedy one more time, jamming out like it was their Last Day On Earth.
Written by Daniel Cribb