With a growing swag of awards and accolades under Amy Shark‘s belt, it’s not just Shark Week, it’s been Shark Year for the last three years since the release of her song that changed everything, ‘Adore’.
Off the back of international tours and a huge national tour that saw Amy performing at some of the biggest venues in Australia, Amy is now bringing her critically acclaimed debut album ‘Love Monster‘ and some favourites from her EP ‘Night Thinker‘ to regional fans all across Australia. As we in Darwin know, the Northern Territory is often left off the map of Australia that is handed out to touring artists. As such, we were stoked to have Amy back up here for her first headline show in Darwin and the Darwin Entertainment Centre was sold-out to prove it.
Perth indie four-piece Sly Withers opened the show, set up in front of giant velvet curtains and cloaked in simple lighting. They are not super well-known in the NT, but they are loveable and funny and definitely made some new fans with this show. “This one’s pretty old for us, but I feel like they’re all gonna be pretty new for you.” The melodic punk-with-feeling vibe is very reminiscent of the guitar-bands sound that is so big on triple j at the moment.
I was impressed by the melodies and particularly the awesome, soaring harmonies. I like them even better live than their recordings, which I always think is a bloody good compliment. The band didn’t move too much – more long hair, head down, gentle rocking, but this could have been very much due to the fact that their loud, indie-rock sound was not quite in keeping with a huge audience quietly seated in a theatre. They made reference to this, “This is our first-ever sit-down show. We came into this sit-down thing thinking this would be so weird, but this has been the most we’ve ever been heckled!” Someone from the crowd instantly backing up his comments by screaming, “Mosh pit!”
‘Good Days, Bad Days’ was easily my favourite song of the set. As they announced their last song someone yelled out “Can we stand up?” The band responded “Would you like to stand up? You know you’ve been allowed to stand up the whole time.” Cue laughter and the whole crowd rising to their feet and getting amongst their last song, ‘Closer’.
After the interval, the packed room went quiet as the lights dimmed. An epic, anthemic song filled the theatre and built the anticipation wonderfully. The curtains slowly lifted to reveal ‘AMY SHARK’ written in giant letters across the stage and Amy herself, front and centre. The opening notes for ‘Blood Brothers’ rang out and the crowd went crazy. She is flanked by two incredibly talented musicians in Joe Molafu and Brad Hosking. I know they’re her backing band, but it’s a shame that these guys are kind of hidden behind the giant lettering because they are so skilled. Malafu is just mesmerising to watch on the drums. And Hosking killed it on guitar, keyboard and trigger duties to reproduce Amy’s recorded sound so brilliantly.
After ‘I Got You’ from Love Monster, she took a second to have a drink of water and take off her jumper (apparently it’s a bit hot up here, who would have thought) and ask, “Darwin, are you ready to Mess Her Up?” The crowd leapt to their feet and went crazy for the upbeat song.
She then took it straight back down a notch and grabbed her acoustic guitar for a stripped back version of “probably one of my favourite songs I’ve ever written, ‘Psycho’”. The crowd returned to their seats where they mostly stayed for most of the set. The Darwin Entertainment Centre is such a beautiful, well-run venue, but it is a pity the Playhouse cannot be configured for stand-up gigs, as their smaller and more intimate Studio Theatre can be.
Amy played a few more songs from Love Monster, switching between jumping around on stage and busying her hands with electric and acoustic guitars. Her clever segues and very well-told stories show her personality and charisma as well as a well-oiled performance. The long story before ‘The Idiot’ finished with – “Bi*%h it’s not AN Amy, it’s THE Amy” and solidified her story-telling skills and humour.
She switched between songs from Night Thinker and Love Monster before breaking into ‘Spits on Girls’ for her “OG shark fans”. She then nailed a cover of ‘Girls Like You’, complete with Cardi B’s rap.
“Bad news guys, the show is coming to an end. This is the last song. But I’ll tell you what’s really going to happen. I’m going to leave the stage then you guys are gonna scream my name then I’m gonna come back out and sing two of the biggest songs I’ve ever written.”
Cue, ‘All Loved Up’ and people finding their feet and dance moves once again. As promised, the room went black and she left the stage to the sound of a full room of people screaming her name. She came back, that huge smile lighting up the room and broke into ‘Adore’, the song that started it all, before finishing on her epic pop hit with the most satisfying middle-finger-up message, ‘I Said Hi’, the crowd going mental.
Amy is energetic, charismatic and gracious. It was so lovely to see her giving so much attention to her fans young and old, who were just lapping it up. She makes you feel appreciated and loved. She makes you feel like she’s your friend, and she is clearly a role model for young women, especially given her ‘middle finger’ approach to the haters. The following two images succinctly illustrate this aspect of Amy’s appeal:
As a songwriter, it really made me emotional gazing through the crowd and seeing just how utterly affected people are by her songs. People slow-dancing with each other in a seated theatre. People screaming the lyrics back with tears in their eyes. Because, as a songwriter, that is what we aim for when we write songs. We aim to transport you, make you feel less alone, make you feel heard, make you remember, make you nostalgic, make you happy and just make you FEEL – and Amy’s songs absolutely do just that. By the look on Amy’s face, she clearly enjoys making her fans happy.
“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” – Maya Angelou
I Got You
Mess Her Up
Don’t Turn Around
Never Coming Back
Leave Us Alone
Spits On Girls
Drive You Mad
Girls Like You (cover)
All Loved Up
I Said Hi