It’s a little difficult to accept that at 33 I’m attending nostalgia concerts. But in Adelaide on Saturday evening that’s what I did as Ella and Jesse Hooper made sure that Heidi was, in fact, dead.
That said, this was never going to be a nostalgia show. And let me be clear, this was nothing short of a rip snorting rock show. It was just very different to what some might remember from Sydney Harbour on New Year’s Eve in 2000. This band have matured musically a lot more than most in the time between their first album and first reunion tour. Ella was just 15 when she wrote some of these songs, so to expect her to sing them the same in her mid 30s as she did then would’ve been ludicrous.
Opening acts Iluka and Eliza and The Delusionals were an interesting choice. The latter being an homage to original sound of Killing Hedi and the former being more representative of where Ella has moved in her recent solo work. Either way, both gave spirited performances and are worthy of their rising status in the indie scene.
After opening with “I am” and “Calm Down”, Ella and co. immediately stripped it back. It became quite intimate and relaxed, something The Gov is famous for facilitating. From there they took us through the journey from the country kids who sent a demo of “Kettle” into Triple J to playing onstage alongside Stevie Nicks as support for Fleetwood Mac. In fact, during this show, Ella exclaimed with a giggle, “if you don’t like even one Fleetwood Mac song there is something wrong with you and you should see someone about that!”
A notable inclusion in the set awas “Astral Boy”, which they never used to do live due to its vocal difficulty level. But at 34, Ella nailed it and there was a smile of pride on Jesse’s face as she pulled it off. He even said to the crowd, “She’s still got it!”. Ella claims that Astral boy was the only song on Reflector that gave any nod to their folk roots.
The second half of the show really made clear how much their musicianship had matured. A mixture of tracks from Reflector, Present and Killing Heidi, the songs were heaver, tighter and more grown up than ever before. Ella was full of energy – although at one point she did express that she wished she didn’t write such energetic songs in lycra when she was 15. “I’m finding it difficult to keep up now!”
Commercial success stories “Mascara” and “Weir” rounded out the main set with vengeance before cult hits “Leave Me Alone” and “Superman Supergirl” were delivered as the encore.
No one is sure what the future holds for Killing Heidi. But one thing was obvious, both Ella and Jesse were extremely grateful for those who’d turned up to remember with them, and for the chance to share these songs with people again.
Words by Joshua Champion and Jess Munn.
Photo by Kerrie Geier
KILLING HEIDI TOUR DATES
Tickets and information via Live Nation
June 8th | Metro Theatre, SYDNEY
June 9th | 170 Russell, MELBOURNE
June 10th | The Tivoli, BRISBANE