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KILLING HEIDI @ Astor Theatre gets 8/10

Killing Heidi @ Astor Theatre 
with Elli Schoen, Iluka
Friday, June 1, 2017


Gathered on a chilly winter’s eve against the retro backdrop of The Astor Theatre, there was a quiet buzz amongst the punters who’d gathered to listen to the musical festivities on offer. Killing Heidi is a band that grew up with the many 30-somethings present. We remember Ella Hooper’s skin-tight red jumpsuit, the dreadlocked members and the teenage-angst fuelled indie pop/rock that the band belted out and made them the darlings of the scene for a good period of time.

The band has not been lost to some kind of indie music purgatory since they dropped off the radar some years ago. In fact, they have been keeping themselves busy with various projects; collaborative and solo ventures. However, this night was to celebrate the 20 years since the release of the album that rocketed them into the Australian music stratosphere, Reflector. Supported by Iluka and Elli Schoen for the first show of the twenty date tour, the throngs of keen music goers were in for a treat.

Fresh off of a small tour of Oz launching her Gold Mess EP, Elli Schoen claimed to be a ‘bit rough around the edges’. This is the first time I’ve seen the local Freo songstress and I have to tell you all – if what I saw was her ‘rough’, then her ‘on point’ must be bloody sensational. Her fans in the audience were testament to the young lady’s powerful vocals, magnificent knack for story telling in her song writing and just how far she has come since blasting onto the scene in 2016, earning accolades across the country. Schoen cheerfully engaged in banter with the audience, reminding them all: ‘Gotta watch out when you’re not wearing a bra!’ She belted through a number of tracks, including Mumma and a wonderfully constructed cover of INXS Never Tear Us Apart. An astounding local act that is making tidal waves and impressing at every turn.

Along for the ride around the nation with Killing Heidi is Iluka. This Sydney-sider songstress has a retro pop sound that seemed to effortlessly enrapture the audience and take them on a journey for the duration of the set. Her band was just as awesome to watch. Delightfully groovy bass lines with the thumping drums pounding in the ears of the excited crowd. Iluka’s tracks and voice oscillated between catchy pop melodic, to inspiringly haunting. By the end of the set, the crowd was well warmed and ready to welcome the main act.

Killing Heidi

The lights dimmed, a red hue glowed across the stage and a simple, ‘Hello’, from Jesse Hooper opened the long awaited Killing Heidi set. Ella Hooper bounded on to the stage and the band immediately settled into Calm Down like they’d only been in Perth a year ago – instead of 10 years ago. Belting through three classic tunes and Ella reminding us of all the teen angst, ‘It’s not fair….Mum!’ – thanks Killing Heidi. Opening the national tour in Perth, the band pulled a number of songs from the vault including some rarely played in all the live performances historically. Lena Douglas on keys and Adam Pedretti, a local Perth lad, on drums rounded out the line up.

Killing Heidi

They broke up the set with a few acoustic tracks, Kettle being played spectacularly with Jesse announcing, ‘Holy shit! I haven’t heard Ella sing that song like that in fifteen years! You guys are lucky – so are we.’ The band mixed up the classic tracks and crowd favourites with covers, other projects and solo works. The audience were stoked to have such an eclectic mix combined in the set list.

Maintaining the energy across the entire show, Killing Heidi blew the crowd away with the nostalgia and the archetypal musical delights that for everyone present signified a harking back to a more raw and visceral time.  An absolutely cracking way to spend a Friday evening; good tunes, great bands and amazing singers/songwriters.


Photos by Paul Dowd

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