Kimbra | photo by Koof Ibi Umoren for WXPN
Kimbra gives Philly fans a sneak preview of Primal Heart at Union Transfer
New Zealand singer/songwriter Kimbra took the stage at Union Transfer last Wednesday night, standing in front of two cube projector screens that slightly hid her bandmates. It made it clear: she was the main focus of the set, as was the music of her forthcoming record Primal Heart. With the right projector flash, Spencer Zahn, bass, and Timon Martin, guitar, could be seen rocking out and adding music textures with the multitude of tiny electronic music boards that seem to be able to do anything. A similar synth / vocal processing station was positioned center stage for Kimbra, allowing her to manipulate her already wildly flexible voice.
The song “Human,” released last month, offered proof that the audience did their homework as they all knew the words and began singing along. She continued this sing-a-long phase by asking for the audiences help on 2011’s “Settle Down.”
“I wanna settle down,
I wanna settle down
Won’t you settle down with me?”
The urgent beat of “Top of the World” came in and freed Kimbra from her synth station, allowing her to utilize more of the stage and showcase her dance moves and rap skills.
As an encore, Kimbra treated her fans to a news solo song “Real Life,” the last song on her forthcoming album. She mentioned that she started writing the song in her home studio and has been experimenting with it on tour.
“It’s pretty stripped back,” she said. “The thing that’s so special about these shows is that I get to feel real up close with you guys, and give you something of that bedroom vibe, me in my room jamming”
Opening act Arc Iris set the stage for the night, bringing their eclectic indie rock down to from Providence, Rhode Island. Lead singer any lyricist Jocie Adams blessed the stage wearing angel wings, which she later ditched in order to shred on the guitar. The band, consisting of drummer Ray Belli and keyboardist and background singer Zach Tenorio-Miller, showed how comfortable and flexible they could be, playing music from their 2016 release Moon Saloon. Highlights of the set include Tenorio-Miller’s background falsetto, that makes me wonder where his solo recordings are, and the new song “Piggies” that feature four dancers in giant pig heads, Zach on keytar, and choreographed dance moves.
Check out photos from the show in the gallery below. Primal Heart comes out in April on Warner Brothers Records.