Saturday, November 13, 2010


Sia and Sally Seltmann @ Royal Botanic Gardens Sydney (4/11/2010)

There’s no such thing as a free lunch. What about a free gig? The ARIA’s chucked a slew of free outdoor concerts to promote this year’s awards ceremony. Unfortunately El Nino seems to bunked down in Sydney, with an unseasonal soggy spring.

Hardcore office workers continued to power up and down the garden stairs and perform countless star jumps despite the rain.

Somehow I was finding it difficult to muster up the same enthusiasm for hanging out under a storm cloud. This sentiment was shared by a gaggled of scantily clad “socialites” as their street cred and make-up quickly washed into the harbor.

With aching feet and the dread of work the next day, I started to wonder if seeing Sia would be worth the risk of pneumonia.

However once Sally Seltmann hit the stage, I got over my first world whinging and started to enjoy the atmosphere. With the Coat Hanger in the background and the crowd resembling a sea of jellyfish as we huddled under sodden ponchos – it was a perfectly bizarre setting.

Sally Seltmann’s voice was surprisingly rich and strong live, unlike her soft breathy recordings. Unfortunately her keyboard didn’t prove to be as resilient to the outdoor elements, conking out after a handful of songs.

Seltmann’s romantic and reassuringly optimistic lyrics of “Harmony to my Heartbeat”, “Dream about Changing” and “On the Borderline” were enough to warm the soles of the crowd with ample toe tapping. Proving her reincarnation from little known indie darling New Buffalo to a serious contender in the (then) upcoming award ceremony, is on the back of her serious song writing talent.

Ugly Phil and Ruby Rose bumbled through an inanely irritating pantomime of humorless interlude in faux British accents. Proving the theory there’s no such thing a free lunch or gig. Finally they left the stage, letting Sia loose.

With some pull over the weather, the sky cleared as she skipped on stage clad in a heavily draped black dress coat. She wriggled in place, struggling to contain her enthusiasm, regularly breaking out in throaty giggle.

Claiming jetlag is the “new high” Sia charmed the crowd with cheeky banter, encouraging the audience to chat with her and go off on tantalizing tangents. All the while cheerfully tossing handfuls of coins into a metaphorical swear jar.

Despite running overtime, she still played her full set including “The Fight”, “Clap your hands”, “Buttons” and “Little Black Sandals”. Giving the crowd a show well worth paying hand over fist for.

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