Anyone who’s a Facebook friend of mine has likely noticed I listen to Gotye on Spotify. A lot. Wouter de Backer, as he’s known to his mother, is a Beligian-Australian singer-songwriter who’s found international success with the single, “Somebody That I Used to Know,” which also features New Zealander artist Kimbra. Together on tour, they made their way to New York City for two sold out shows at Terminal 5.
I’m officially obsessed with Kimbra after seeing her live. A tour de force in her own right, this woman has power vocals I haven’t heard live in a long time. She opened with “Cameo Lover” and “Good Intent” and at first I dubbed her the Kiwi Jessie J. Mad vocals with a lick of eccentricity. “Limbo,” “Two Way Street” and “Street Marigold” were up next and then she reminded me of Sia. Her ability to get lost in a song, go into a Sia-esque induced trance showed just enough crazy to suggest how brilliant an artist she may be. But it was “Plain Gold Ring,” a Nina Simone cover, that eerily evoked the ghost of Amy Winehouse. Amazing. While her wardrobe confused me, a cross between Real Housewives of Disney realness and ’80s vintage powder blue, ruffles and lace prom dress, her vocal range won me over. She’d sing with the mic around her hips and it would still pick up her wail of her lungs. She wrapped with “Samaritan,” “Settle Down” and “Come Into My Head.” Her debut album Vows is already a hit in her native New Zealand and will soon be available in the U.S. Get it. You will love her.
At about 9:30, Gotye took the stage and opened with “Eyes Wide Open.” Love, love, love this song, followed by “The Only Way” and “Easy Way Out,” which I also love. The Aussie’s third studio album, Making Mirrors, dropped over a year ago but it’s just getting the attention it deserves here in the U.S. Reminiscent of Sting, Gotye has a distinctive voice, able to be lowly subdued to soaring falsetto. I was impressed with the diversity of talent in his band members, the instruments they played and the obvious camaraderie among them. My favorite moments included the bluesy “Smoke and Mirrors,” the sing-a-long “Save Me” and of course the return of Kimbra for “Somebody That I Used to Know,” and their encore “I Feel Better.” For the latter, it’s like he channeled Michael McDonald of the Doobie Brothers. Check out the video below from at gig in LA. I’ve been to that venue before in Silver Lake. Very cool. Watch it and I promise you’ll feel better. I can’t wait to see them again in three weeks at Coachella!