Unperturbed by rain, hail or thunder, ANUSA’s Full Moon Party on Friday proved to be a worthy conclusion to this year’s O-Week as over two thousand ANU students braved both stormy weather and liver damage to enjoy a night of music, dancing, and just a little bit of lunacy.
Ajaxset the tone for the night, igniting the crowd in defiance of the pouring rain. Our spirits refused to be dampened by the miserable weather. Even as the rain pelted down harder, the crowd roared louder, reveling in the thrill of the elements with yells that rivalled the rumbling thunder. New Navy only added to the teeming frenzy with up-beat, effervescent indie-pop, beating a pulse to the crowd’s tribal rain dance each time the band left their instruments to hammer out rhythms on various pieces of percussion set-up about the stage.
But, to be perfectly honest, I was slightly apprehensive before Kimbra’s performance. Although I adore Kimbra – the jazzy tones of her debut album could be heard wafting outside my bedroom door for months – an album like Vows does not generally lend itself to live performances. Over-produced in parts and dominated by synthesizers, simple reproductions of music like this on-stage can feel one-dimensional and lackluster.
I am ecstatic to admit I was wrong.
In truth it is on stage, and not in studio, that Kimbra’s songs come to life. Performed live, each and every track is invigorated by her vibrant, ardent stage presence and a backing band so hip and so ridiculously cool that Kimbra had no hesitation with taking a backseat and dancing off centre-stage to pumping, extended instrumental breakdowns.
Even through glasses obscured by hundreds of tiny raindrops, Kimbra’s performance was stunning. The woman was an absolute knock-out in her glamorous, red dress but her beauty lies in her unmatched vocal ability. A mesmerising balance between power and vulnerability, Kimbra can blow away audiences with a fierce intensity during ‘Settle Down’ one moment, then convey unbounded hurt with ‘Two Way Street’ the next. Haunting and reminiscent of the late Nina Simone, Kimbra raised chilling goosebumps during ‘Plain Gold Ring’, layering intricate melodies by loop pedal that filled Union Court with palpable, agonising sorrow.
Friday night’s audience was also unbelievably fortunate to witness a new song, never before performed on stage. Far heavier and edgier than her previous releases , ‘Come In My Head’ again displays her musical versatility. The song featured guitar riffs bulked on distortion and drums thrashing out rock and roll beats while still maintaining Kimbra’s signature blend of jazz and pop. Perhaps it represents a change in her musical direction but what’s certain is that the twenty-one year old has a bright future ahead of her. ANUSA will be hard-pressed to bring a more dynamic, more astounding entertainer to our campus again.