Home > Reviews > Live Reviews > 24/02/2011 | Kate Miller-Heidke & Ben Folds – Manchester Apollo

24/02/2011 | Kate Miller-Heidke & Ben Folds – Manchester Apollo

Catherine May

Triangle

Having seen Kate perform twice before, I was well aware of the talent that was about to walk onto the stage. From the first note of The Tiger Inside Will Eat The Child, the rest of the crowd were quick to share my sentiment for Kate and her guitarist (and husband) Keir Nuttall. With just seven songs to convert the Folds fans, Kate crammed in some of her best performances. Politics In Space captured everyone’s attention with her incredible operatic outbursts that are incomparable to any live musical performance I’ve ever witnessed.

The crowd was left bemused once more as Kate’s array of vocals in Dreams/I Love You left me having to reassure my puzzled gig companions that the sounds we were hearing were really coming from the petite Australian. Fusing opera and pop music together would be a big challenge for most performers, but Kate effortlessly combines the two and even opts to break into new genres with her take on Eminem’s The Real Slim Shady.

Are You F*cking Kidding Me? (The Facebook Song) got the crowd laughing as Kate’s comedic flare was given it’s chance to shine and her short but impactful set closed with Words from her debut album ‘Little Eve’, I couldn’t help but smile as I heard the crowd abuzz with comments of intentions to buy her albums.

For me the evening was all about Kate. I went to see her and I left still thinking about her performance. But for promoters and 99% of the crowds, tickets weren’t bought to see Kate (she was merely listed as “and special guests” on them) as the main attraction was Ben Folds.

I’ve always been a bit wary of Folds’ music. I first purchased ‘Way to Normal’ and quickly disregarded all tracks bar his duet with Regina Spektor You Don’t Know Me. But I gave him a second chance when he released ‘Lonely Avenue’ last year in partnership with the British author Nick Hornby and I’m very glad I did. There’s not a song on the album that I don’t adore and seeing them performed live was something truly special.

Folds takes piano playing to the extreme. How on earth his fingers survived playing near enough solidly for two hours ceases to amaze me and with songs spanning from across his career he certainly had the crowd in the palm of his hand. Personal highlights of his set included the aforementioned You Don’t Know Me, the heartfelt From Above (both performed with Kate) and Rockin’ the Suburbs had me laughing as he berates nu-metal artists who sing about being “male, middle class and white”. But it was as the crowd screamed for him to play the semi-retired Rock This Bitch which he graciously did, working the lyrics to sing about Manchester, that it became apparent that everyone in the room was enjoying themselves. The crowd were in awe, the band enthused and Folds himself was buzzing with energy.

Ben Folds is an interesting character with his textbook geek persona and his expletive-filled performances. But whatever it is that inspires him to perform as he does definitely works as after two hours of high-energy songs the crowd were still left wanting more as I secretly wished his set, albeit incredible impressive, had been cut shorter to allow Kate more time to play.

www.katemillerheidke.com / www.benfolds.com

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