Review by Andrea Royston
Photos by Lynda Buchanan Photography

Killing Heidi absolutely rocked the Gershwin room at The Espy on Thursday night for their first show of their highly anticipated tour. These much-loved Aussie gems returned due to popular demand to belt out their hits to an adoring crowd.  

But first, let’s go back twenty years to where it all begun. Killing Heidi entered Triple J Unearthed with their folk pop song ‘Kettle’, which soon became a highly rotated track played on air. Shortly after, the band exploded onto the domestic and international scene with the release of their debut album Reflector in March 2000. Who could forget tracks ‘Weir’ and ‘Mascara’? If you don’t know them by title you certainly would have heard them played somewhere. Reflector went on to claim four ARIA awards and reached Platinum status.

In 2016, siblings Ella and Jesse Hooper formed the band back together and showed Australia that they still have that soulful teenager angst somewhere inside. 

“Killing Heidi live was always where it was at for me. I feel we’re better than ever now as we’ve never stopped playing music and we can dial it up to a whole new level. But the essence is the same. It’s exciting and emotional for both us and the fans!”- Ella Hooper

“Killing Heidi was a big part of my youth and I can’t wait to perform these songs live for the people who loved them too. We’ll play all our biggest hits from our first singles Weir and Mascara through to our later releases like ‘I Am’ and ‘Calm Down’” – Jesse Hooper

In recent months fans have been following the band closely on social media and have had the chance to catch glimpses of their intimate band rehearsals. Everyone had the opportunity to feel part of the preparation behind these shows. Tickets sold out quickly when the band announced their Friday night show at St Kilda’s iconic Hotel Esplanade. Fortunately, a second show was shortly announced. 

The Gershwin room was full of ambitious fans that were all here for the same purpose, to reconnect with Killing Heidi. Some said that they were fortunate enough to catch the band during the Melbourne Zoo Twilight series in 2017. Others said that they had not seen them since ‘back in the day’. Fans were eager for a fantastic night.

Melbourne’s very own three-piece rock band Dallas Frasca opened the night with a very catchy set. These guys have a very familiar sound accompanied by strong vocals. They are worth catching if you ever have the chance. They really got the night going with their boppy beats and ability to get the crowd moving.

After a short interval, the moment that everyone was waiting for arrived as Killing Heidi made an entrance on stage. They were excited to be there just as much as the crowd were to see them. Without hesitation they got down to business and opened with two numbers off their 2004 self-titled album Killing Heidi. ‘Calm Down’ and ‘I Am’ opened the night in style and was just a taste of what was to come. 

The set list contained a big chunk of the bands collection including ‘Heavensent’, ‘Live Without It’ and ‘Astral Boy’. One of the special moments in the night was when they turned it down a notch with a beautiful acoustic of the song that started it all for them, ‘Kettle’. The crowd were at a stand still for this one and were clearly impressed by the loud applauding and cheers that were thrown at the stage.

It appeared that the night was nearing the end when the much-adored strings of ‘Weir’ played which was followed by a raging performance of the very loud and very successful hit song ‘Mascara’.

Killing Heidi has maintained such a strong stage presence over the years, mainly through their ability to be so many things at once. It is something special and is difficult to find the right word for a combination of electric, energetic, nostalgic, sentimental and edgy. If one thing is for certain it is that Killing Heidi still has it!

The set concluded with the likes of ‘Superman Supergirl’, the fourth and final single off their album Reflector. The finale was something special as the band invited guests back on the stage to deliver a ripper cover of Aussie classic ‘Boys In Town’. After watching Ella Hooper over the years on shows like Rockwiz, it is noticeable that the Divinyls hold a special place in her music al journey. Back in 2016 Ella covered the Dinvyls hit, ‘Pleasure And Pain’ on the show.  This was the ultimate salute to Australian Rock and more specifically, a compliment to Chrissy Amphlett herself. Not many could match up and truly compliment the Divinyls sound and vocals of Chrissy Amphlett, but Ella and Killing Heidi come very close.

Killing Heidi returned to the Espy again on Friday night to play to a sold out show. The band will play two other Victorian shows before heading north to Queensland. You can also catch them playing alongside Hunters & Collectors for the Red Hot Summer Tour that will travel all across Australia and kick off in Bendigo early January 2020.

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