Sia nearly gave me a heart attack the first time I laid eyes on her. I thought I’d walked into the wrong gig last week when I looked up and saw a dark-skinned, black-haired figure sporting a pink tutu that was attached to a large piece of patchwork cardboard. As it turned out, I was indeed at the right gig and the sinister figure hovering over me with a wide-eyed gaze and flexed fingers was none other than Australian electro-pop singer songwriter Sia.
She put on a truly unique show – not only with her strikingly bizarre attire and mix of fragile, slow-burning ballads and buoyant soulful disco-pop numbers – but also her ability to build a strong rapport with her audience.
There’s a standard checklist of what gig-goers should bring along to a live concert; comfortable shoes, a bottle of water and a good attitude. But when attending a Sia gig, audience members are encouraged to bring handmade gifts for the standalone star who loves having presents heckled at her. Her fans responded heartily to this request, launching customized t-shirts, love letters, origami necklaces and even racy underwear on stage. “You’re quite a horny bunch tonight hey?” she amusingly replied.
Sia was accompanied on stage (which was blanketed in striped textiles) by a four piece backing band that she’d also adorned in matching knitted outfits. She introduced her merry men one by one according to their marital status. When she announced drummer Adam Christgau as being very much single, she asked her female audience, “Who wants to fuck Adam?” At that moment my eardrums busted from the high frequency.
Everyone was ensnared by Sia’s kooky stage presence and her charismatic interaction with both her band and loyal fans. Some may argue that she simply spoke too much instead of singing and kept interrupting the flow of the performance, but I personally thought she was absolutely hilarious and thoroughly enjoyed her onstage antics. Especially her stories about breaking the hearts of crazed lesbian fans who’d declared their undying love for her and the song Sia and her band spontaneously fabricated using three random words conjured up by the audience. These 3 words were “facaya”, “skymate” and “the bassist is a spunk”. Who ever thought such a tuneful song could come from those completely incongruous phrases?!
There was little of the old Sia and her bluesy, acid jazz ways in her set list. She played mostly material from her latest and most successful pop album ‘We Are Born’, which if you ask me isn’t very versatile or distinctive in its range of songs. But to deny that Sia has a powerfully dreamy voice would be blasphemy. The standout track was definitely ethereal piano-based ‘Breathe Me’ and surprisingly her other great pop hit ‘Buttons’ wasn’t as well received as one would expect. For the encore Miss Furler strapped on a bubble machine to her back and performed ‘Clap Your Hands’ before taking a bow… err… sorry, a round of star jumps in front of the audience.
It may have taken her five studio albums, but Sia is finally getting the recognition she deserves and I strongly recommend you check her out live. But just remember to bring a present for her!