Live Review: Killing Heidi, Iluka, Elli Schoen

5 June 2017 | 3:58 pm | Hurb Jephasun

"This was a band that showed how they had evolved and, if anything, became even better."

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For those of us that can, take your mind back, way back to 1999. It was a whole other millennium. John Howard was Prime Minister, the Twin Towers were still standing and a young band out of Violet Town in Victoria were literally everywhere. Fronted by the dreadlocked Ella Hooper and her brother Jesse, Killing Heidi ruled the airwaves with their mixture of power pop and adolescent angst. What followed was a slew of radio hits and ARIA Awards before the band almost seemed to vanish in 2006.

Fast forward to 2017 and Killing Heidi are back, launching their first national tour in over a decade before an expectant audience at the Astor Theatre in Perth. Kicking off proceedings however, was Fremantle based folk/pop singer Elli Schoen and her band with a sadly brief set showcasing songs from her current EP, Gold Mess, with the title track being a highlight along with a great version of the INXS song, Never Tear Us Apart. A mesmerising performer and songwriter, Shoen's amazing vocals were backed up perfectly by Jade Richards in what was an impressive opening set.

Next up was Iluka. A soulful vocalist from Sydney with a definite retro vibe, she took to the stage with her band and treated the growing audience to a great set. Her latest release, Blue My Soul, is well worth a listen with one of the tracks, Blue Jean Baby, being a standout in what was undoubtedly a great performance.

As great as the opening acts were, however, the growing crowd were here for one reason and they duly erupted as Jesse and then Ella Hopper took to the stage with their latest incarnation of their long missed band. Opening up with Calm Down, Killing Heidi proceeded to deliver a performance that, while wowing the crowd with their oh so familiar rocking anthems, also gave, perhaps, an insight into the personal development of the Hooper siblings, resulting in what could be called a more refined or possibly sophisticated version of the band.

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Seemingly buoyed on by the exuberant Perth audience who were singing lovingly along to every lyric, the band effortlessly switched between blistering power-pop and straight up folk with Astral Boy and Monkey Mind, a song from Ella Hooper's solo career, being standouts.

But at the end of the day, Killing Heidi made their name as one of the foremost rocking bands in the country and on this front they most certainly didn't disappoint, finishing up their set with the mega hit Weir, sang loudly and lovingly by the audience despite the band jokingly catching them out with subtle changes to the arrangement.

After a brief break, Killing Heidi returned for the evening's encore, hitting the crowd with Superman/Supergirl and I Am before finally thanking the wildly cheering throng and taking their leave.

Tonight's performance highlighted a band that hadn't just reformed to cash in and make some quick dollars — no, this was a band that showed how they had evolved and, if anything, became even better. If the reaction of the fans was anything to go by, it hopefully won't be another decade before Killing Heidi make their way back over to Perth.