Live Review: Missy Higgins York Theatre

14 June 2012 | 5:24 pm | Liz Giuffre

Higgins is quite ridiculous and sweetly hilarious when she wants to be.

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It's been a while since the artist currently at the top of the charts played the York Theatre at the Seymour Centre. But this was Missy Higgins' return, something of a sentimental choice it seemed as she returned to play the new album, but also older songs that got her there (and that, comparatively, still sound catchy, but small). For example, Ten Days from 2004's The Sound Of White was explained tonight by Higgins as having had its debut at the Seymour, no doubt with a few less in attendance, but importantly, with the song's protagonist in the room. And when she played Scar for her encore (well, her anti-encore, as she explained she doesn't go and come off anymore to end the set), the room lifted with a bouncy nostalgia, but also the relative naffness of the tune that made her name. Sure, it remains playful and pure – and childish. And now with new album The Ol' Razzle Dazzle, this is Missy Higgins, well on her way to being a Grown Up Girl.

Proof came particularly with single Unashamed Desire, musically so much more adventurous than her previous work. Co-written with Butterfly Boucher, tonight's awesome support and Higgins' bass player for the main gig, it's the girl no longer playing it safe and singing about just The Special Two. As an aside on Butterfly Boucher, she was a joy tonight in support wearing unnecessarily yellow pants (gratuitous but fabulous) and her single 5678! saw Higgins make a pre-headline cameo. It was a reminder that despite her radio fodder and often-earnest lyrics, Higgins is quite ridiculous and sweetly hilarious when she wants to be. Of course, this was something that the devoted in the room hadn't forgotten, as she played with us when the show proper began, warmly responding to “I love you” calls and joking when an enthusiastic audience member suggested Higgins' return – and sequined green dress – was like Christmas. Sweet. Ridiculous. But hilarious.

As for the music, highlights from Higgins' newbie included Hello Hello (an upbeat, funky all-in) and Watering Hole, a complete left turn from previous singer/songwriter garb complete with cat, dog, cheetah and other animal calls (and Jane Tyrrell from The Herd in as a great guest vocalist). Tyrrell returned for Everyone's Waiting and, indeed, the band tonight were also great. With half of the players brought from Nashville where The Ol' Razzle Dazzle was put together, but all harnessing the Higgins twang.