Prior to Wednesday night’s show at Toronto’s Phoenix Concert Theatre, I was unfamiliar with most of Sia’s music. The songs I had heard were mainly collaborations, with bands like Zero 7, or remixes, such as Sander Van Doorn’s reworking of “The Girl You Lost to Cocaine”, so I didn’t really know what to expect.
Walking into the packed venue, my eyes immediately focused on the stage set-up. Everything (microphone stands, amplifiers, stationary instruments, etc.) was covered in multi-colored macramé, complete with pom-poms, making it look like the performer was in fact a kind of crazy, psychedelic craft show. When Sia stepped out on the stage wearing jean shorts, a knee-length plaid shirt and a glowing unicorn horn shaped headband, it was clear that the cutesy stage design fit the singer’s quirky and bright persona.
Sia’s effortless vocal power, clarity, and control are absolutely phenomenal. She was complimented by Sam Dixon on bass, Tim Vanderkuil on guitar, Joe Kennedy on keys, and Felix Bloxsom on drums. Between songs, Sia was all about crowd interaction and had fans pretty much eating out of her hand. A steady flow of gifts from fans were handed to the singer which she happily accepted, unwrapped, and wore during the performance. Her buoyant nature and chipmunk laughter was infectious to the point that I overheard a fan saying she “just wanted to grab her and squish her”.
When such chatter subsided, and Sia began singing again, she was all business. The transformation to the deep, even dark feelings Sia connects with when she sings, hint reveal a side of the artist fans don’t typically interact with—the side reserved for her song writing. The audience was treated to a variety of songs from Sia’s discography including “Clap You Hands”, “You’ve Changed”, “Little Black Sandals”, “Breathe Me”, and my personal favourite “The Girl You Lost to Cocaine”. Should Sia plan another visit to Toronto, I’ll be there—this time, a converted fan.
// Notes from the Road
"José González's sets during Newport Folk Festival weren't on his birthday (that is today) but each looked to be a special intimate performance.READ the article