Tag Archives: sydney opera house

laura marling 09.02.12

After seeing her at Laneway over the weekend, I simply couldn’t pass off another opportunity to watch Laura Marling play, especially at the Opera House. She played two entire sets, with the first half being her latest album, A Creature I Don’t Know in its entirety. Backed by a band made up of drums, double-bass, banjo, a cello and keyboards noticeably different from the more folk-oriented album, they reflected the strength of Laura’s more developed, and flawless vocals from the heartfelt I Was Just a Card (which Laura mentioned was actually written whilst in Australia during her last tour), to a fierce version of The Beast. Sophia was met with the loudest applause, as well as the more upbeat All My Rage.

Following a short interval, Laura and her band were back again to play what were clearly crowd favourites including Ghosts and My Manic and I. She and the band were clearly enjoying themselves, Laura treating everyone to some very amusing banter including interesting facts shared throughout the evening, for instance: that the inspiration for the song Alas I Cannot Swim came from an Iranian poem, or that the Queen is a frequent drinker of alcohol and also possesses a driving licence. When the band were introduced, the crowd was lucky enough to be further entertained by several doses of British humour. Sound wise, the acoustics in the Opera House emphasised the dynamics, especially noticeable during one of the highlights, Alpha Shallows. Laura also debuted an epic Andalucian-styled song for ‘pure self indulgence’ and purposes of ‘living life on the edge’ which was a real pleasure to hear.

For those who’ve not seen Laura Marling before, she explained that they didn’t do encores, as they think it should be something spontaneous (as do I), finishing off with the title track from the second album, I Speak Because I Can, and modestly and humbly left the stage to a standing ovation from a full house at the Opera House.

The Muse
I Was Just a Card
Don’t Ask Me Why
The Beast
Night After Night
My Friends
Rest in the Bed
All My Rage 


My Manic and I
Alas I Cannot Swim
New Song (unknown title)
Goodbye England (Covered in Snow)
What He Wrote
Rambling Man
Alpha Shallows
Made by Maid
I Speak Because I Can

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patrick wolf @ sydney opera house 08-09.09.2012

Patrick Wolf has always been an artist that will keep reinventing themselves. With every album and every tour, he brings in a different side of himself. And with this year’s Sundark and Riverlight  tour, were acoustic re-recordings of songs in celebration of the release of his first album Lycanthropy. On board was a grand piano, a harp, and the signature assortment of ukeleles and violins, as well as an accompanying violinst and clarinettist.

Perhaps fitting with the venue, the studio of the Sydney Opera House, he produced a much more subdued performance compared to his two previous in Australia. Stripped away of the production evident in the albums, Patrick and his violinist worked beautifully, jamming off each other, re-incarnating his entire back catalogue. He played many old favourites, including Bluebells, which he described as the song which reminded him of Autumn in London. However, it felt as though the arrangements were a little hit and miss. Songs like Oblivion were more fierce than before stripped down, whereas Paris lacked its original fire on record, arranged for the piano.

It was also the debut for Trust from Lupercalia, which according to Patrick, had never been played before in its entirety. It was played poignantly, with Patrick’s fingers gliding across the harp in arpeggio motion.

Penzance was a real surprise, as a b-side from 2005’s Wind in the Wires. Especially as I had requested it earlier on Twitter. The arrangement also consisted of the deploying of a musical saw which was used to great effect. The audience were clearly happy to see him, made up of many fans who had been there during the last tours. He finished off by reciprocating the sentiment, joking at the lack of a band to jam off during The City, giving the audience a laugh as he feigned a mock self-destruction, before thanking everyone and bowing off till next time.

Hard Times
Wind in the Wires
The Magic Position

The City

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my brightest diamond @ sydney opera house 27.05.2012

Following her success with Australian audiences at the 2010 edition of Vivid, Shara Worden took to the stage with her long-time drummer, backed by what was billed as a string ensemble, but in fact, was a mini-orchestra, with woodwind and the all-important brass trumpets, bringing to life, her latest album All Things Will Unwind. 

Dressed in a costume consistent with the theme of the album, and slightly reminiscent of a children’s tv show presenter (not that there’s anything wrong with that, of course), complete with coloured wool balls (see below), she emerged with a large bunch of orange helium filled balloons, breaking into the opening song off her latest We Added It Up. The ensemble did a great job backing Shara’s heavenly voice, especially the brass and woodwind. The heartfelt Escape Routes, Shara explained, was written the last time she was on tour was inspired by a conversation she had with Laurie Anderson. The assistance of certain props, including a bob-the-builder-esque hard hat (filled with ‘snow’), a porcelain mask which was used for the transformation to Be Brave, and numerous loose balloons helped sustain the audience’s imagination as she performed songs from her latest album. She was clearly enjoying herself, jiggling around in between songs, and playfully exchanging words with the musicians on stage. At a point, she even attempted an Australian accent, which was quite amusing because it was more than likely that no one in the audience would speak with such a twang. 

Everything Is In Line was definitely one of the highlights from the new album, which segued smoothly into Apples. Picking up her electric guitar, old favourites, Workhorse, Dragonfly and Inside a Boy were met with applause and recognition by the audience, as was the My Brightest Diamond version of Tainted Love. Following a short break, the night was concluded with an encore of  I Have Never Loved Someone, completing a short but sweet evening.


We Added It Up
Reaching Out to the Other Side
Escape Routes
Be Brave
She Does Not Brave the War
Everything Is in Line
High Low Middle
Inside a Boy
Tainted Love

I Have Never Loved Someone


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a celebration of steve reich at opera house 29.04.2012

Steve Reich’s brilliance was displayed in a three part extravaganza, in celebration of his work, proving as a reminder of how he is one of the most highly regarded contemporary musicians. Clapping Music was performed by none other than Steve Reich himself and a member of the Synergy Percussion. This was perfomed by one performer playing the rhythm pattern, and the other shifting the pattern by an eighth over time. Drumming, was organic in the sense that the primality of the beating of drums was used in highlighting what could’ve been the sound of raindrops making contact with the surface of leaf. The loudness varied in the pattern of a sine wave, fluctuating up and down, as the percussive sounds produced a rhythm. This was in contrast with the melodic variations for vibes strings pianos with the harmonic rhythms and repetitions creating almost a trance-inducing state to the listener.

Then came part two. Eighth Blackbird, the group consisting of a multi-wind-instrumentalist, violins, piano, and vibraphone, produced a mesmerising sound in Four Organs, reverberating across the Opera House. This was followed by a splendid solo performance by the wind-instrumentalist, who layered phrase upon phrase, alternating from the flute to the piccolo, and more impressively, played from memory. It was concluded rendition of Double Sextet that sent shivers down this listener’s spine. This piece was driven by the pianos and vibraphones, with Eighth Blackbird playing against a recording of themselves in their production of harmonies.

The evening was then completed with a performance of Music for 18 Musicians, consisting of 4 voices, a cello, violin, two clarinets, four pianos, xylophones, three marimbas, two xylophones and a vibraphone (unplugged), which steadily built up in sound over the entire venue. The harmonies and melodies interacted, almost as if in conversation, and were accentuated by the prominent sound of breath, creating pulses which were prominent throughout the entire evening. On conclusion of the hour-long piece, Steve Reich himself made a final appearance, graciously accepting the standing ovation, and greeting each musician on stage as the audience looked on in amazement at what they had just experienced.

PART 1: SYNERGY PERCUSSION 6.00pm – 7.00pm
1. Mallet Quartet – 14’
2. Drumming Part 1 – 14’
3. Variations for Vibes Strings Pianos – 25’ (Australian Premiere)

INTERVAL (20 mins)

PART 2: EIGHTH BLACKBIRD 7.20pm – 8.15pm
1. Four Organs – 20’
2. Vermont Counterpoint – 10’
3. Double Sextet – 22’

INTERVAL (20 mins)

PART 3: MUSIC FOR 18 MUSICIANS 8.40pm – 9.40pm
1. Music for 18 Musicians – 60’

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