Live Review: Ladyhawke – 15th July 2016 – Oxford Art Factory, Sydney
Most artists who have been around for a while necessarily have a few conflicting styles in their discography. In spite of having only actually released three albums, it feels like Ladyhawke has been around for a long time. The long gap between 2012’s Anxiety, and this year’s Wild Things, along with a fairly dramatic stylistic change, led the album to feel like something of a comeback. Her live show capitalised on that, filling the setlist with numerous tracks from her new album, along with some welcome album cuts from her earlier work. However, whilst the show was fun and energetic overall, some of the new material didn’t quite work in a live setting.
The biggest problem the show faced, was a fairly slow start. The opening track was expectedly taken from Wild Things, and was River, one of that underrated album’s stronger songs. However, the band was mixed in such a way that anything outside of the drums and vocals was barely audible, and whilst Pip Brown’s excellent singing is the core of the track, on record it was the glittering pop production that really made it stand out, which was nowhere to be found live. The same problem continued in Golden Girl, which does feature a fun “ooh-eh-ooh” vocal melody, but robbed of much of its instrumentation, it fell somewhat flat.
Luckily, once Brown and her band began to explore her older material, the show’s energy level improved considerably. Manipulating Woman, from her debut album, had a great, glam-esque sound, and the mixing issues had seemingly been resolved. From that point onwards (about one-third of the way into the fairly efficient show) each track that was played was a certified hit, getting the crowd dancing and singing along. Magic and Blue Eyes were both rocky and energetic, cementing her older work’s status as an indie-pop gem. She played the three best tracks from Wild Things in a row (Sweet Fascination, Let It Roll, and pop-masterpiece A Love Song), all of which sounded much better than the opening few songs.
On stage, Brown’s “country girl-meets- Hannah Montana” persona comes alive, and she exudes punky, but upbeat energy. Her band all seemed extremely enthusiastic, and just happy to be there, and it was infectious, as the crowd chanted the words to just about every track in the second half of the set. Brown obviously favours brevity, playing only one song in her encore, but when that song is My Delirium, not much more is really needed. It’s her biggest hit, and the crowd had been waiting for it all night, but Brown and her band delivered handily. Ladyhawke’s live show was everything pop music is supposed to be: short, catchy, emotional, and most of all, fun.