Olympia @ The Brightside

More than just a pretty voice...

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The Brightside was already a bit muggy when I rocked up on Friday night to see Olympia play in support of her Different Cities single. The Brightside was looking a bit deserted, but I knew that that wouldn’t last long.

Opening the night was local artist Darling James, who had also just released a new EP, and played mostly tracks from that record. As well as an impressive display of musicianship, which he utilised through his one man show, with a collection of synths and guitars and intricate looped riffs, he was also incredibly funny, and had a sort of blunt, deadpan humour that can be hard to pull off. For a one man show, he had an almost avant-garde style build to his songs, and made an incredible amount of sound. Some track highlights of his set were singles The Itch and God’s Grafitti.

It’s hard to know whether second band Mid Ayr were supporting Movember or were making up for their receding hairlines, but these dad rockers certainly packed a punch. The Brightside was still lacking in numbers, but the sound of their three piece band filled the space, (and more) and gradually the vibe of the whole venue was elevated. The riff heavy guitar, with their tight drum beats and straight up vocals gave power to their indie rock vibes and provided a good musical backing for a boogie. Newest single Vampires was a definite crowd favourite, and a highlight of their set.

Olympia came to the stage at about 10pm, and launched straight into playing music, her guitar attached to her body like her lifeblood. Wasting no time, Olympia played early single Honey, and Somewhere to Disappear earlier in the set, as well as some album tracks, which was refreshing.

Different Cities; the tour single, was not the finale song. This was a bit of a surprise, with it instead being played quite early in the set, in which the energy continued to rise. One of the amazing things about Olympias’ live performance is her ability to communicate with the audience through witty banter, as well as her musical performance, which adds a component of authenticity to her, rather than have her be this illusion of a person. Joking between songs, and even at one point calling out a drunk crowd member in a humorous way created a strong connection between her and the crowd, which was reciprocated with the audiences’ raucous support.

The absolute highlight of the show was album track Blue Light Disco, which saw Olympia move to the keyboard (and also showcased her multi-instrumentalism). Her voice cascades over the keys, filled with such raw emotion, feeling and just pure talent, that it brought a tear to my eye, which is not a feat that many musician have been able to accomplish. She finished off her set with two biggest singles Tourists and Smoke Signals which brought the house down.

The way Olympia commands both the stage and the audience is awe-inspiring. Her confidence as a musician (and whilst it shouldn’t have to be mentioned, a female guitarist) is obvious and leaves no doubt in your mind as to whether she is a serious contender in this field. This show was no exception to this rule and I hope to see many more.

- Olivia Shoesmith.

Zed Facts

Around 1998 4ZZZ, 4MBS, and Family Radio started broadcasting from the one installation at Mt Coot-tha. Prior to this 4MBS and Family Radio had merely leased land beside 4ZZZ but then Brisbane City Council decided that having three transmission towers and huts in the one place was an eyesore and encouraged the three radio stations to share facilities. This resulted in the three radio stations developing a company called Broadcasting Park to negotiate with the Council. This company consisted of three shares, one owned by each member station.