Killing Heidi @ The Espy, Melbourne, Thursday August 15, 2019
Fellow North East Victoria-raised artist Dallas Frasca (she was raised in Wangaratta; Killing Heidi come from Violet Town) is on warm-up duty tonight and tells us that the last time she shared a stage with Killing Heidi, Ella Hooper was 13, Jesse Hooper was 15 and she was about 18. Rolling out a spanking new seven-piece manifestation – Frasca, long-time guitar hero Jeff Curran, extra guitarist Jack Wieseler, drummer Liam Burgan and fierce BV trio Glitter Bitch Club – this outfit completely blows us away.
Their cover of Beyoncé feat. Jack White’s Don’t Hurt Yourself rips through the joint just like the baseball bat-wielding Beyoncé trashing cars in her Hold Up music video; Frasca is totally committed to the performance and her spoken-word outro is masterfully delivered. Each member of Glitter Bitch Club scores a solo and as impactful as these are, when Frasca reclaims the mic all immediately know who the boss bitch is. Frasca and Curran performed at Lassiter’s Music Festival (that’s right, they were on Neighbours!) and this evening we hear a super-sized version of All My Love, the song they performed on the soapie. There’s mass singalongs (“All my love is gone!”) and Frasca and co. shine in this incarnation. It’s a spiritual thing.
Punters protectively guard their posis during the break between sets.
After re-forming to headline the 20th Queenscliff Music Festival in 2016 – the band’s first show in ten years – Killing Heidi have experienced a resurgence in popularity, continuing to sell out shows all around the country and tonight is the band’s first of two sold-out shows at The Espy! We always admire Ella Hooper’s style, and… yas! She takes the stage wearing leopard skin spandex as we’d hoped/anticipated this evening. After praising tonight’s opening act, Hooper points out Glitter Bitch Club sounds like a group she’d love to join.
Killing Heidi roll out the hits with Mascara a particularly strong singalong moment (“… just wearing black won’t take care of that/Don’t be stupid, girl…” Praising the Espy massive, Hooper enthuses, “Oh, the energy!” She then introduces Data Dust, which she performed for Eurovision: Australia Decides, as a song about “being addicted to your swipey-swipey life” (AKA mobile devices) before teaching us a clapping pattern that features throughout this Alice Chance-penned tune – impressive audience involvement.
Jesse shares that when Killing Heidi returned to the stage they thought they’d only perform something like four show, but yet here they are, three years later! “When the stop sign is out we’ll stop doin’ it,” he concludes.
Killing Heidi’s breakout smash hit Weir is always a set highlight. It’s an absolute belter of a tune, with sentimental leanings, and loads of couples snog during this one. Those remaining crowd members around us who are not snogging screech along in mostly tonedeaf fashion. Ella delights in punking the crowd, leading us to believe it’s chorus time by singing the extend “Weeeeeeeeeiiiiiiiiiir” but then reverting to another verse. Such a blast! And this teen anthem that was released in 1999 definitely stands the test of time. “This one is for… anyone who wants to Tony Robbins the f-ck out!” is how Ella intros Superman/Supergirl and The Espy absolutely goes off.
After welcoming Frasca back to the stage and initiating a “God-dess! God-dess!” chant, Hooper observes both her brother Jesse and Frasca are redheads: “Ginger pride, red pandas!” she extols. What a finish: the pair take on Boys In Town, and while shrieking along with this Divinyls song’s closing lyrics “Get me out of here,” we remember the late, great Chrissy Amphlett while basking in the collective talent up on stage – particularly the two extraordinary Australian female artists whose longevity in this biz is testament to their continued growth, versatility and stoicism. Witnessing two powerful women up there celebrating each other’s brilliance is beyond empowering, especially for the emerging female artist contingent in the house.