Kimbra - Union Chapel, London
New Zealand songstress Kimbra has been widely heard throughout the planet as the guest vocalist on Gotye’s world wide smash ‘Somebody I Used To Know’. Kimbra’s voice may have been sampled by millions but her solo work is still flying under the radar, in this country at least. The singer unveiled her debut album Vows to an eager New Zealand audience just over a year ago, with the UK finally getting their hands on the collection back in July.
Kimbra’s Union Chapel show was the final date of her UK tour promoting the album and she’d picked an exquisite venue for her first headlining gig in the capital. It was obvious she was blown away by her surroundings, leading the singer to mention that she'd expected to play her first London headliner to only four people in some tiny pub! Luckily this wasn't the case as a church-full of ecstatic fans were assembled to take in a set mostly pulled from Vows.
Her solo output travels a similar path to the likes of Marina And The Diamonds, Denmark's Fallulah and Sweden's Oh Land, with the Kiwi's offbeat pop tracks going down well with her congregation, as she delivered a highly charged, slightly unhinged performance, bashing the hell out of her tambourine and manically dancing around the stage while dressed in a pink dress, momentarily bringing to mind the female lead from the exquisite cult Aussie horror The Loved Ones.
Although the audience were vocal in their enjoyment during the first half of the show, lapping up set highlights like 'Old Flame' and a glorious 'Two Way Street', there wasn't much opportunity to really get into the music from their seats in the fairly restrictive pews, so Kimbra's call to her flock to stand up during the intro of 'Marigold' was a resounding success, with several people around me beginning to dance.
The first half of the Union Chapel show was extremely entertaining but the involvement of the crowd took it up another level, with the set culminating with breathtaking versions of NZ singles 'Cameo Lover', 'Settle Down' and a raucous ‘Come Into My Head’, with a heart pulling encore of 'Withdraw' ending the sermon in style.
I was lucky enough to view three of Kimbra's sets during my time at Austin's SXSW back in March but this was the first time I'd caught a full headline performance and found it a captivating show, both musically and visually so I'm hoping she'll return to these shores pretty damn soon!