[LIVE REVIEW] Amy Shark @ Riverstage, Brisbane 17/05/2019

Off the back of her busy European Tour, Amy Shark wrapped up her Australian dates in Brisbane on Friday night to an excited and adoring crowd.

The Riverstage was at almost capacity with the crowd, a refreshing blend of all ages, fans from their 7 to 70’s all sharing the common love of Shark’s musical storytelling, proving music can truly bridge the generation gap.  Her songs are honest and raw, sung with such emotion that it reaches out and touches her audience, each person in a different way, but with the same empathetic results.

On this tour, she brought two very talented young acts with her to share the limelight. 

Opening the night were Sydney based all-female band, Erthlings.    These girls have been friends since primary school and although still only teenagers, they proved their musical skills were beyond their years.    Their Indi pop-rock sound was a perfect start to the night and the right accompaniment for Miss Shark.  Issy Lowes’ beautifully ethereal vocals had the already steadily growing crowd mesmerised with her sweet melodies.  Just like Shark, there is a storytelling element to their lyrics.  With a set list dripping with a sound so sweet, you feel the need to floss, they still proved their versatility with a mix of blended pop styles.  Like You Do had a heavier pop rock undertone with drummer Lissa Evans belting out an almost tribal beat and Taylor Shutes, on Bass, keeping the rhythm on point.   Guitarist, Jessame Stepto, had the crowd involuntarily bopping along to the upbeat funky, almost sixty’s pop sounding song Bridges, their 2018 debut release.  They closed the show with Cuts and Bruises a beautifully melancholic track showcasing Lowes angelic vocals.   Erthlings were a brilliant choice to open tonight’s show and a band to definitely listen out for.

After a short wait, Melbourne pop punk/rock outfit Slowly Slowly took to the stage greeted by enthusiastic screams from an eager fan base up front.  It was immediately obvious they were no strangers to performing live.   They opened with 2018 release Dinosaurs off their debut album St Leonards, with vocalist Ben Stewart on guitar performing solo to begin, instantly winning us over with his strong vocals, it was a brilliant way to effectively catch everyone’s attention.  The band came on stage and joined in soon after with Alex Quayle on bass, Albert Doan guitar and Patrick Murphy, drums taking the final part of the song up 100 notches.    The fans were loud and loving it.    Their pop-punk/emo style of rock stood out with the vocally melodic, but musically heavier, Extinction and Ten Leaf Clover.  Their ability to put so much emotion in their music stood out song after song but Steward took it up to the next level with their brilliant version of Bon Iver’s Skinny Love.  A song they recorded for Triple J’s Like A Version.   The songs continued, the teenage girls up front screamed, the boys easily won over anyone in the crowd who hadn’t heard of Slowly Slowly before tonight and sealed the deal with their latest single Jellyfish.   Again, another great choice for this tour.  Definitely one of my new favourite bands.

At least a 20-minute wait before Amy Shark and her band took to the stage and the energy of the crowd was forming a big happy bubble over the Riverstage.     Finally, the lights went down in front, only to dimly come up behind the giant curtain with the silhouette of the band giving a dramatic effect.  Then, when the shadow of a tiny frame popped up, the crowd roared.

The curtain went up and the music began, almost drowned out by cheers.  Opening with Blood Brothers off her 2017 Weekend EP the smiling crowd of mostly teens and 20 something’s up the front of the stage, sung along to every word.   She followed with the cool, almost reggae tones of I Got You from her 2018 release Love Monster, working the stage, keeping the fans happy.   Up next, out comes her acoustic guitar and her declaration of love for Blink 182, with the crowd screaming their approval. She launched into Psycho, a song she’d recorded with Blink 182 bass player Mark Hoppus.  A beautiful song even without Hoppus’ additional vocals.   She continued pleasing the fans with Don’t Turn Around, a musical recount of another of her personal stories.   Mess Her Up was next, her hauntingly beautiful vocals seem to have the power to evoke emotion in everyone around.  She was mesmerising.   Once the beat kicked in the crowd weren’t standing still.   Shark kept the fans enthralled with a short story about her European trip and the honesty of the fans over there, but claiming there’s no place like home.   She broke into a favourite with Weekends encouraging everyone to sing along – which they did.  Then with her guitar in hand again she brought out the 2014 hit Spits on Girls.  Moving effortlessly from a strong smooth dance groove to an energetic rock beat and back to the groove.  By this stage she had the crowd eating out of her hands.   Shark tells the story of her life and loves in her songwriting and she did this beautifully when she performed a solo acoustic version of Leave Us Alone to the enthralled crowd.   Another story was told with You Think I Think I Sound Like God.  A song she wrote her first year out of high school.  These stories are still full of meaning and it shows through the emotional power in her vocals.  With the band opening up with a faster, rock beat Shark keeps up, showing off the versatility in her voice.  She then pushed the message home with an emotionally pleading finish.

More crowd favourites with Drive You Mad and Never Coming Back were followed by her call for everyone to dance as she broke into covers of WheatusTeenage Dirtbag, which she made her own with smooth reggae beats and Maroon 5’s Girls Like You.    Finishing with the popular All Loved Up, she left the crowd on a high screaming for more.  Knowing there was more to come with her two biggest hits still to be heard.    A very short break and she was back with her massive hit Adore, and that is exactly how these fans feel about her.   Finishing with I Said Hi, she had given the crowd exactly what they wanted, her greatest songs, her honest and relatable storytelling through her music, all delivered with faultless vocals and her genuine loving energy toward her fans.

Not one person left the Riverstage without a smile on their face or brimming with the positive energy that Miss Amy Shark brings to her fans.   From the first support to the main act, this was a night full of good positive energy, pushing home the point to take note of the amazing talent we have in this country.  

Review Contributed by Tracey Moyle

Gallery by Tracie Tee