If angels had the ability to come down from heaven and sing, they would have the voice of Kate Miller-Heidke.
Touring her fourth studio album and first independent release, ‘O! Vertigo’, Miller-Heidke performed for a home crowd in Brisbane on Friday night (QPAC, August 8). With classical grace and haunting operatic vocals Miller-Heidke hit notes that gave her listeners chills and left the room breathless at times.
Playing a mix of songs both old and new her music is semi-autobiographical and as a listener you feel like you’ve entered the playbook of her life — one hypnotic song at a time. She sings of real life experiences in songs like ‘Sarah’ and ‘Caught In The Crowd’, which she cheekily confesses happened to a friend, with the sweet and melodic ‘Monsters’ and ‘O! Vertigo’ letting you into the world that is Kate — a shy sweet humble Brisbane girl with one heck of a voice.
In between songs she regales the crowd with cute and funny anecdotes. She is witty and down to earth and seemingly at ease on stage. She brags of the cute new jumpsuit she is wearing just for the show with its gold glitter polka dots. While she is at home on stage, she herself is very much awed that she is playing at her favourite concert hall.
During a reflective moment Miller-Heidke tells the touching story of inheriting the home of her husband Keir Nuttall’s grandparents in his hometown of Toowoomba after their sudden passing. Listeners enter the world of cobwebs and dark corners as she touchingly recalls moments of a life remembered in the hauntingly beautiful ‘In The Dark’. Time seems to suspend for a moment and the room holds its collective breath as she pays tribute to fading memories and time gone by. At moments it feels like she is singing the song to them and nobody else is in the room.
Towards the end of the set Miller-Heidke poses the question: “Have you ever looked at a hammer and really thought to yourselves I’d really like to lick that hammer?” Confused and laughing the crowd respond that: ‘No, they have not’. Amused she responds: “Well me neither but Miley Cyrus has!” before launching into a melodic, operatic cover of ‘Wrecking Ball’ that is almost unrecognisable from the original.
Her voice transcends as she laments the ending of a relationship and transforms a pop song into a soulful theatrical journey of pain and loss. It allows her to really give the crowd a taste of her classical training. At the bridge of the song she adds in the chorus of ‘Stay’ by Shakespears Sister to a round of applause and whooping before capping the song off cheekily with ‘Everything Is Awesome’, the theme from the recent ‘Lego’ movie.
© Amanda Starkey
Wrapping up the show with the bitter-sweet ‘Space They Can Not Touch’, Miller-Heidke has taken the crowd on a 90-minute journey through her life and her soul. She has shown us joyful moments and moments of loss and suffering. She has let us in and left us awed.
Kate still has a large run of live dates around the country during the remainder of August.