Ahh Miss Katy Steele, you are magnificent! The Brisbane show of her inaugural solo tour lived up to all expectations and then some. Perhaps it was due to the tiny venue, which would best be described as an industrial shop front, turned club. Or, perhaps it was because Krista (my friend, and Little Birdy/Katy Steele SUPERFAN) and I were located front row centre in a crowd of what I’m guessing was no more than 150. Or perhaps it was the combination of a typically fantastic Katy Steele performance and good company. Whatever the reason, the set from the Little Birdy front woman was awesome entertainment.
We arrived at the X&Y Bar shortly after scheduled doors open only to be confronted by a small queue still waiting outside. After about 20 minutes of waiting time we are ushered in, Krista and I promptly camp out in the front row. It is there we meet Simone and Suse, a very friendly, very talkative couple of women. Whilst we wait we exchange pleasantries, compare Little Birdy songs, play a game of STD (bonus points if you can work out the acronym), and rank our individual levels of Little Birdy fandom. Without a doubt Krista wins this battle, proclaiming during our discussions that it is her dream to obtain a Little Birdy/Katy Steele set list.
By the time the support act takes the stage an hour later, its fair to say we were growing restless. While two members of The Bloodpoets start playing, Simone had promptly drowned several Coronas, and was like me less than impressed with what the band was offering up. If you were to describe them in one word that adjective would be ‘bland’. The songwriting was repetitive and unimaginative, the melodies second rate, and the song structures stale. Despite some potential in the keyboardist and backing vocalist Rebecca; the anchor of the duo, the guitarist and what appeared to be duo’s the chief songwriter, proved nothing more than a dead weight. Rebecca advised the crowd that she is launching a solo record in July. My advice to her would be to launch that record with a semi decent songwriter and don’t look back. One gets the feeling Simone shared that opinion as she began to heckle the band by the end of its set. Her retorts were far more imaginative than anything offered up by the duo from The Bloodpoets.
Then after another wait Katy arrived on stage and the mood was instantly lifted to the stratosphere. Interspersed with Little Birdy crowd favourites, such as personal favourite Relapse was material from Katy’s upcoming solo album she is currently recording in New York. As good as the Little Birdy back catalogue is, I believe that the solo material is superior to her previous efforts.
One In A Million*
Into My Arms
Do Right Woman (Aretha Franklin Cover)
Beautiful To Me
Port of Call *
See of Love (Cat Power's Juno Cover)
*denotes Katy’s new solo material.
Personal highlights for me were of course Relapse particularly since Katy was looking at me for a great portion of that song, and made my heart race a few hundred beats per minute. Of the new material Port Of Call was the stand out, as it was filled with so much emotion and vulnerability, particularly as the song reached a powerful crescendo that was so spellbinding that it cannot be put into words. This was in no doubt due to the fact that she dedicated the song to ‘…my new lover in New York… oh shit I wasn’t meant to say that. Oh well it’s out there now’
During the first half of Brother, the last song in the set, Simone, positioned next to me in the front row, slides under the bar that acted as a barricade like some kind of mutant seal, rips Katy’s set list from the floor without Katy even noticing, dives back straight up, and hands the set list to Krista. ‘Here ya go’ she says, making Krista the happiest girl in Fortitude Valley clapping her hands together and grinning from ear to ear. I regret not having a camera to capture that most exhilarating moment. The other thing Krista and I forgot to do was to get more details from Simone and Suse. On the off chance that either of you’re reading this, thanks for helping making the night unforgettable, send me an email so we can exchange details, and we’ll see you at Angus and Julia Stone in September!
After the show we met Katy at the back of the venue where she personally autographed Krista’s set list and my tour poster, which I now count amongst my most prized possessions. Once again Katy proved why she is among the best of Australian talent. She is powerful, tender, emotional, vibrant and wickedly funny. It’s easy to see why Krista worships the ground Katy walks on, Not that I didn’t worship her before, but no one needs any convincing after last night’s extraordinary performance.