As Feist poked her head out from behind the curtains, the accompanying band at her heels, I almost instinctively reached for the rims of my eyes to confirm that rose-coloured glasses truly are only a metaphor.
Her set at The Tivoli Theatre in Brisbane (28 November) had hardly started yet already felt perfectly pleasant; a modest crowd swelled beyond the rows of chairs lined before the stage as she stood, all fringe and fair skin, draped head-to-toe in rose-coloured clothing.
Without an introduction, the band instantly delved into the haunting beginnings of ‘Pleasure’, the title track of her 2017 record and perhaps the most intense of the album.
Vocals spiralled into kooky territories towards the tail end of the song, its sharp harmonies and commanding guitar riff unexpectedly asserting a far more prominent impact performed live, than when recorded.
‘I Wish I Didn’t Miss You’ crept back into her early folk origins, the simplicity of girl with guitar nicely complemented by honest lyrics and heightened by vocal echoes.
Instrumentals alternatively shone in the following song ‘Get Not High, Get Not Low’, sweet words triggering giggles from the crowd before she and her co-guitarist beautifully bounced off each other’s melodies in what almost felt like an improvised technique.
“For those who don’t know, we are currently playing through my new album, ‘Pleasure’,” she announced. “Afterwards, we’ll go back in time and explore some common memories we have through song.”
In the chronological album order promised she began to play ‘Lost Dreams’, a little airy, before adding adorable running commentary between the lyrics of ‘Any Party’: “Turn to the person you want to take home after the gig, nod, and pretend to mouth the lyrics as if you already know them.”
‘A Man Is Not His Song’ floated by, ‘The Wind’ then showcased, accompanied by a warm light show and vivid preceding statement: “Close your eyes and picture the most beautiful place you know. I’ll take you there.”
Feist picked up the pace with ‘Century’ before retracting the tempo again with ‘Baby Be Simple’, a song as distinctively pure as its name suggests, though in no way tedious. ‘I’m Not Running Away’ felt blues influenced, a genre she suits, while ‘Young Up’, sweet and soulful, quietly furled around her album’s emotional unravelling.
The closure of ‘Pleasure’ welcomed the beginning of early-career classics, 2007’s ‘My Moon My Man’ setting the precedent and showcasing her pop beginnings.
The stunning ‘Caught A Long Wind’ silenced the room, lyrics particularly poetic, before ‘I Feel It All’ tugged at teenage nostalgia, crowd standing and clapping in excited support.
An alluring contrast, Feist’s 2004 record’s title track ‘Let It Die’ was then soft and soothing, audience lulled into a gentle sway as she exited the stage. She maintained the ambience with ‘Intuition’ initiating her encore before launching into discography heavyweight ‘Mushaboom’, sung solo.
“This is a new take on an old favourite,” she smiled, drawing out the iconic lyrics of ‘1234’, before the accompanying band joined her to round off the biggest release of her career.
Simply spoken, Feist is a wonderful performer boasting incredible vocals that show no sign of deteriorating even amid an 18-year career. Despite embracing a genre that risks sending an audience to sleep she remained impeccably captivating, not only holding the crowd’s attention but completely hypnotising them as well.
A two-plus hour set was admittedly ambitious, and while I did begin to shuffle from foot to foot towards the end, her infectious charm and engaging (albeit comfortable) stage presence proved so easy to watch she certainly justified the lengthy stage time.
But of all the gig’s commendable qualities the highlight was the set-list, undisputedly; easily one of the most cleverly and thoughtfully put-together order of tracks I’ve seen an artist bring to the stage.
It was the first time I’ve witnessed an album played front to back on tour and her decision to do so very effectively highlighted how strong the record is, in so many aspects.
Realistically, ‘rose-coloured glasses’ refer to an overly optimistic viewpoint though I assure you, my opinions are in no way slanted by false perception. Even without tinted shades, it was Feist’s natural musicianship, elegant lyricism and quirky charisma that painted a positively peachy picture.