[LIVE REVIEW] Killing Heidi w/ Abbe May @ Melbourne Zoo Twilights, Melbourne 25/02/2017

Review Cassandra Hale

Is the Melbourne Zoo the right venue for live music?  Well, after attending my first Zoo Twilight session last night I can answer that with a resounding, Hell Yes! The Melbourne Zoo is a fantastic venue for this type of show, it caters for everyone with many seating options and plenty of food and drink for those who didn’t bring their own along.  You can choose to take a picnic blanket, a low back chair or a regular camp chair and that determines where you sit.  This idea works well and no matter where you sit you can see the stage, which is set quite high to allow everyone a perfect view. If taking your own picnic basket is not quite your thing you can order a hamper ready to collect at an extra cost, which seemed quite a popular option.

Australian singer/songwriter Abbe May took the stage first up to perform a short set of six or seven songs. I have seen Abbe May last year touring with Peter Garrett and enjoy her laid back style. Performing as a solo artist can be difficult but Abbe May has everything covered with her ‘band in a box’ set up that works extremely well.  Her sound is funky at times, relaxed at times and overall enjoyable to listen to. She finished her set with Doomsday Clock, which is a song I really like and I definitely recommend checking out Abbe May if you haven’t already.

Abbe May
Abbe May

It was about this time when the Zoo’s bats made a mass exodus overhead, quite a spectacle to see. While they were not noisy you definitely couldn’t miss them.

Formed in 1996 Killing Heidi hail from a small Victorian dot on the map called Violet Town. Brother and sister duo Jesse and Ella Hooper took Australia by storm with their unique sound and colourful hairstyles.  After a very successful career the band took time out to pursue other avenues, and it is then that The Verses was born. This folkish sound the siblings produced was different from Killing Heidi but eerily familiar at the same time.

Ten years later the band is back together and performing to rave reviews. The energy of the nineties is still running rife and the enjoyment they are having is evident in every song. The sound was crisp and Ella was on point in everything she did. Sassy, sexy and still having all the right dance moves, she did not miss a beat the whole performance, very, very impressive. The connection between brother and sister is clear and Jesse chats to the audience nearly as much as Ella which shows they are really in this together as a team.

After a few songs to get everyone in the mood, they took it back to their first song Kettle which started the ball rolling with Triple J Unearthed all those years ago.  Plenty of songs in between and then it was Live Without It and Heaven Sent all performed faultlessly. Jesse dedicated the next song Superman/Supergirl a personal favourite of mine, to his wife who was in the audience. We sometimes forget that musicians have families at home that miss seeing them while they are busy performing for our enjoyment. It was during this song that Ella’s microphone went into meltdown, no problem, Ella just grabs her brothers until another one gets passed out, that’s great in theory if the new one worked, but it didn’t so it was back to Jesse’s again. Ella remained calm throughout, ever the professional and handled the whole situation with ease. Not so much as a swearword or nasty glance, she just got on with it!

Killing Heidi
Killing Heidi

There were a few of The Verses songs thrown in and one of Ella’s solo tracks Monkey Mind which were all well received by the enthusiastic crowd.

After advising there will be no encores, ‘we will just play’, that’s exactly what they did, the two we had all been waiting for, Mascara and Weir. The crowd were all on their feet, singing and cheering enjoying every minute. From the start of the show to the very last note the enjoyment and energy was contagious from this fantastic front woman.

All wrapped up by 9.15pm it was time to head out, here comes my only complaint of the night, a little bit more lighting was needed for those who had parked at the front gate and had to walk back through the zoo. It was really difficult to see.

For those of you who are yet to see Killing Heidi, go and buy the tickets and support this amazing Australian band, you will not be disappointed. While I still do not know who the hell Heidi is they absolutely kill her every time they take the stage!