Live Review: Kate Miller-Heidke, The Beards

14 August 2012 | 4:42 pm | Daniel Cribb

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With Adelaide's The Beards opening every show on Kate Miller-Heidke's Nightflight tour, it would be fitting to describe its theme as 'beauty and the beast'. Not that the openers are in anyway repulsive musically or aesthetically, they just collectively have enough facial hair to cover someone head to toe. With no local support fronting the tour, The Beards strolled out of the darkness and into the spotlight at 8pm sharp, pointing out impressive beards in the crowd whilst stroking their own, before kicking into Born With A Beard.

With uncontrollable excitement, vocalist Johann Beardraven ripped his shirt open during the intro and, although sheepishly turning away from the crowd to do his buttons back up, did the same thing numerous times before the songs end. Tracks that run for no longer than three minutes on CD were stretched out by three minutes, with four-part harmonies and additional instrumentation added wherever possible. While visually there's a juxtaposition between the Adelaide four-piece and the headlining act, their brand of humour lies hand in hand with one another.

Once The Beards had departed, the stage turned a deep purple, the smoke machines kicked into overdrive and the houselights dropped, leaving the venue in dead silence. After Kate Miller-Heidke soaked up some quick applause, the packed room returned to silence and guitar picking led the intro of The Tiger Inside Will Eat The Child. Three booming hits of the kick drum and a barrage of guitar distortion led the vocals to unite with the bass, backing harmonies and drums. The first thing heard from the audience, after the expected cheering, was heckling from the front row about her lack of beard. “I've got a special deal with The Beards – you can't see my beard,” Miller-Heidke jokingly replied, while guitar bonded with chunky bass for Mama.

Caught In The Crowd and Nightflight surfaced surprisingly early in the set with a “campfire segment” following shortly. The stripped-back interlude contained intimate performances of Space They Cannot Touch, The Devil Wears A Suit, Politics In Space  and Let Me Fade. Then it was back to the rock with a song about a sleazy man who lives in Melbourne (God's Gift To Women), followed by crowd favourites Last Day On Earth, Sarah, a quirky cover of The Real Slim Shady and Can't Shake It, seeing the set out with time for an encore that took in The Beard's You Should Consider Having Sex With A Bearded Man (feat. Beardraven on saxophone). The show ended with Words, giving the crowd their Miller-Heidke fix for the evening, but definitely leaving everyone wanting more.

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