Live Review: Sufjan Stevens, Ngaiire

3 March 2016 | 4:15 pm | Charmaine de Souza

"An aural rollercoaster keeping fans right on the edge of their seat before plunging back into an eerie calm."

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A tranquil autumn night was the perfect setting for Detroit native Sufjan Stevens as he hit our shores, bringing with him his unique brand of introspective folk and electrifying electronica.

Ngaiire opened the night, welcoming the crowd with her effortlessly stunning voice. Fans were quick to settle into their seats and watch on as the Papua New Guinea-born powerhouse smashed back-to-back soulful numbers.

The excited chatter of intermission quickly drew to a close as a sea of red illuminated the stage, with calm yet ominous music filling the auditorium. Sufjan Stevens strolled on stage to an eruption of applause as he launched into Death With Dignity.

What followed can only be described as a complete sensory experience. Neon patterns shifting around on background panels seemed to tell a poignant story when interwoven with Stevens' gentle, haunting voice, this combination at times eliciting some very audible sniffles from the crowd.

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Punters whipped out their smartphones during Vesuvius, the mesmerising background images bound to look spectacular on even the shoddiest device. Stevens and his band steadily upped the intensity as the song went on, an aural rollercoaster keeping fans right on the edge of their seat before plunging back into an eerie calm. Before long, the musician meekly waved to a standing ovation as he headed backstage.

At encore, Stevens took some time out to express his gratitude for being in Perth, and spoke about the importance of living in the now, taking nothing for granted. Armed with a banjo slung over his shoulder, he and the band delved into some old favourites, enticing fans enough to cram themselves into the now bursting standing area as they clapped and sang along. Fans filed out of the Auditorium spellbound by what they had just witnessed, undoubtedly wishing they could experience it all over again.