Kimbra Loops And Fans Leap At The Fonda Theatre - 10/3
Kimbra fans are different. Select female fans of all ages arrived at the Fonda last night in short, pleasantly puffy dresses and accessories that could distract a DASH driver at a red on Sunset. Some even wore black bob like hairstyles with bumped bangs, thick and evenly brushed eyebrows and bright lipsticks to resemble the unique pop star, while others kept it casual.
The crowd was diverse, not just in appaearance. An example, perhaps, of just how relatable and therefore popular Kimbra's music is.
And while attending two consecutive shows to hear the unbelievable and unmistakable voice of the New Zealand singer/songwriter, would be a treat, I had no doubt her sold out performance at the Fonda last night would be any less magical than tonight’s show.
While most may recognize her alongside Gotye on their hit single “Somebody That I Use To Know,” within one year Kimbra has made her mark and is now – the funky outfit wearing, quirky two step dancing, Nina Simone tackling – somebody we all know.
The hit (with Goyte) topped the charts in 11 countries and was No. 1 for 8 weeks on the Australian singles chart. Her live electric shows at Australia’s Splendour In The Grass, Big Day Out, Meredith, and Parklife provided an exquisite taste of the 22-year-old’s inventive production and performance style.
Kimbra’s vocal training began after she joined her middle school’s jazz choir, which led her to the discovery of the incredible scats and songs of Ella Fitzgerald, a fact she shared with the New York Times. That same year (at 12 years old) she started learning the guitar and true to form wrote songs and performed them at solo at local venues.
Miles Davis and Mars Volta were added to the list of influencers prior to the purchase of the tool that would allow her to combine classic with creative, which would navigate her to the top of the charts.
The loop pedal, also known as tape loop, welcomed layered vocals and prerecorded rhythmic patterns that added depth and distinction to her tracks. This performance style – that allows Kimbra to appear solo yet sound like a full band with back up singers – couldn’t be more timely, considering the influence of technology on our every day lives.
“Settle Down,” the pop star’s first single, includes this unique form of musical production. And listeners screamed with excitement (although Kimbra requested they remain especially quiet at the beginning) as they recognized the “boom boom boom bah” first layer of the hit.
The Step Kids, a Connecticut band recently signed to Stones Throw Records opened the show at 9:15. If it weren’t for their all white uniforms and psychedelic back drops, listeners could easily have mistaken the young men for Earth, Wind & Fire and their lead vocalist/guitarist Jeff Gitelman (former touring guitarist for Alicia Keys) and his unbelievable falsettos for Prince. Their original songs with hints of gospel and R&B syncopated rhythms were the perfect segue to Kimbra’s set list.
At 10:20 the curtains were up, smoke machine on and stage lights lit a mosaic that looked like it belonged in downtown Philadelphia. Following a five-minute instrumental introduction, Kimbra pranced onto stage in an exceptionally expected outfit and a tambourine in hand. Her effervescence was infectious and her humility admirable. “I’ve wanted to play at this venue for a long time, it’s really special…I feel like I’m making history” she said twenty minutes into the show.
“Vows” owners could not have been more pleased considering she played 10 of the 16 songs on the album. The set list was as follows:
"Plain Gold Ring"
"Something In The Way You Are"
"Two Way Street"
"Come Into My Head"
While the crowd seemed to enjoy every song, "Come Into My Head" had them jumping on their toes and flagrantly waving there arms. Perhaps it's because of the amplifying beats, or the influence from the dance moves found in the new video.
Either way, Kimbra began on the tambourine, scurried back and forth across the stage - with grit in her voice and grace in her steps - and ended with a bang.
If Kimbra’s performance at the Fonda was any indication of her future as an artist her fan base will only grow as plentiful as her loop pedaling layers. But let’s hope they won’t have to wait four years like Sex and The City fans to get into character for another amazing performance.
Check out and purchase "Vows" here.
Reach Staff Reporter Cortney Riles here.