Once Whitley left the stage, Australian ARIA-award winning singer-songwriter Sarah Blasko emerged with her band. Her unique, husky voice rang through the hall and although the crowd was politely quiet now, unfortunately they still weren’t particularly receptive. As many of them were there as part of a Nova radio competition, I think a lot of them weren’t very familiar with her work. After her second song, Bird On A Wire, driven by a classic swing rhythm section with violins, an electric double bass and a keyboard filling the sound out, she remarked in her soft speaking voice that the crowd were “very quiet tonight”.
Her talented band, dressed in muted brown, black and white, all swayed with the music. When Blasko announced that she would be playing some of her older work, they shuffled around her in a game of musical chairs and each arranged themselves at different instruments. Blasko played tracks from both her earlier records, the 2004 release The Overture & The Underscore and 2006’s What The Sea Wants, The Sea Will Have. I loved every minute of every track both new and old, particularly when she played one of my favourites, Amazing Things. However, whether it was my imagination or whether it was years of familiarity, it seemed that Blasko and her band were more comfortable playing her older work.
Blasko is known for her smoky voice and the incredible range she can reach when her music calls for it. She dances a bit like a female Peter Garret, all sharp movements, shoulder twitches and stiff, robotic limbs. Her wonderful, strange dancing and striking music is unashamedly unique and that’s why I love her. When she tilts her head sideways in time with the keyboard-generated glockenspiel, I find myself doing the same.
Despite the unappreciative majority of the crowd hindering the atmosphere and possibly Blasko’s usually passionate performance, I enjoyed the evening very much. There was no encore and I was disappointed that it was over. When I emerged back outside, the air was still balmy and the fairy lights were still glowing, twinkling above us in the tree.