Last Friday was a fête at The Observatory. Hundreds of people were in line for the sold out Wiz Khalifa show, but hundreds more were there for the other sold out show, Kimbra's first ever trip to Orange County.The indie-pop princess had already played five shows in L.A. this year, but still drew a crowd so large that the Observatory's main room was a good 10 degrees warmer than its entry way. But man, was that show worth it.
Kimbra's band hit the stage a little past 8:30 p.m., following opener Empress Of. It wasn't until a few moments later that Kimbra herself walked on stage draped in a glittering gold and white poncho/cape/thing. The shawl rested on the edges of her wide dress, making her look like a golden circus top.
The band immediately went into the opening chords of Teen Heat to the cheers of the crowd. The full pit surged left and right as Kimbra's jazzy vocals oozed from the speakers. She stayed golden for the first song, before throwing off her shawl to reveal a silvered, segmented dress that looked like it was made of aluminum foil over another layer that looked like gold wool.
Kimbra took a moment after her second song to shortly address her fans before going headlong into her new album's lead single, "90s Music"
A video posted by Charles Lam (@charlesnlam) on
Now, Kimbra shows during her best-known songs are completely different from the rest her set. During "90s Music" as well as hits from her first album–"Settle Down," "Two Way Street," "Cameo Lover"–the crowd sings with such unison that it's like there's another band member on the stage. Kimbra, accordingly, goes more intense into her lovingly endearing type of dancing–defined by simple twirls and sways accompanied by grand arm movements–all moves perfectly designed to keep the diminutive singer on top of her six-inch platform heels.
During those numbers, she'll occasionally re-don her golden fleece, throwing it to and fro, over and under. But the most exciting prop on-stage is her smile: wide, large, and perfect for the kind of music she plays.
Kimbra and her band wrapped up the first part of their set like any other act these days–feigning leaving while they actually get ready for their encore. But unlike other bands, there's no presumption that Kimbra be back. During her entire absence, a simple drum beat plays, adding a coy anticipation for her return.
The encore, a two-song sample full of joy and energy, is like Kimbra. Small, short, but just so full of amazing.
And yes, while at the end of the show security bounced everyone as quickly as they could so the venue could prep for Wiz Khalifa (double booked, sold out shows must be crazy), those leaving left happy. As we walked by the hundreds of people waiting in line for the next doors to open, man, we couldn't help feeling like they had missed out on something.
The Crowd: Sooooooo hip (do these people really live in Orange County?). Cute younger indie chicks with their boyfriends with smaller dashes of older fans and singles.
Critical Bias: Oh my god guys, Kimbra is amazing.
Overheard: "Everyday, be listenin' to '90s Music'" — literally everyone during "90s Music."
Random Notebook Dump: I apparently haven't been to The Observatory in awhile, because everything is so new and shiny.
Nobody But You
Something in the Way You Are
Two Way Street
Love In High Places
As You Are
Come Into My Head