Published on theMusic.com.au, Mar 2016
Kate Miller-Heidke, Ayla
At 20 years old, Sunshine Coast solo artist Ayla has made a decent name for herself, and you only have to witness her in action for a few minutes before falling under that spell.
A one-woman choir, looping vocals and harmonies to lay over delicate guitar lines, Ayla rolled through a set of triple j favourites that fittingly enough reached a high at a cover of Hunters & Collectors’ Throw Your Arms Around Me, as heard on Like A Version last year.
Softly spoken between songs to the point of coming across as shy, she doesn’t hold back at all during song. If the crowd’s “aggressive” applause to set closer Wish I Was was any indication, Ayla’s first WA performance won’t be her last.
Much like the delightful opening act, Kate Miller-Heidke has a voice that never disappoints, especially in an intimate setting, so a beachside venue so close to the ocean you can hear the waves crashing on the shore was a perfect fit.
A lush and quiet “thank you” through the darkness drifted into Space They Cannot Touch, and lights shone down onto a sparkling red dress.
An upbeat transition into O Vertigo! by the duo was cut short by a guitar error, which the crowd turned into a positive, cheering on a charismatic Keir Nuttall as he tried to recall the correct chord.
“Do I look fat or pregnant?” Miller-Heidke asked the crowd, recently announcing her pregnancy. “It’s not a beer gut. There’s actually a baby inside my stomach.”
New song You’ve Underestimated Me, Dude was reminiscent of God’s Gift To Woman in a lyrical sense, but took an interesting (and exciting) turn musically, splattered with surprising operatic elements, a perfect rock groove and interesting mash of genres topped with her trademark quirkiness.
Tina Arena’s When You’re Ready, which Miller-Heidke co-wrote in Paris last year, was a stunning addition to set that put focus on domestic violence in a powerful way.
Another new song with the chorus line “get off your phone” got an immediate response before an anecdote about breastfeeding perfectly transitioned into Humiliation, at the expense of Nuttall.
At the start of the set, he worn a denim jacket that wouldn’t have seen him out of place in Wayne’s World, and through a few Words and an epic show-closing solo he’d more than proved his worth of the title of ’80s metalhead. Miller-Heidke then took control again with request Psycho Killer and The Last Day On Earth to round out a well-balanced and memorable set.
Opera meets pop meets comedy by the beach. That’s an unconventional combo that worked surprisingly well.