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Enigmatic and undeniably powerful: Aldous Harding hypnotises Sydney’s Metro Theatre

An Aldous Harding show is notoriously unpredictable, indescribable and undeniably powerful, as her on-stage persona overflows with uniqueness and a touching sense of wonder. Her sold-out show at Sydney’s Metro Theatre was no different.

Touring her highly acclaimed third album Designer, 29-year old Hannah Harding has certainly made a name for herself as an enigmatic artist with hauntingly beautiful musical soundscapes.

Photos: Dani Hansen

Aldous Harding’s enigmatic and powerful onstage presence is captivating and all-encompassing, further enhanced by folky and thoughtful soundscapes.

The Kiwi singer slowly entered the stage and sat down on her stool to subtly begin with The World Is Looking For You, an acoustic tune off her sophomore album Party. The intricate guitar patterns of the song immediately silenced the audience in awe and set a distinctly magical aura, weirdly undisturbed by even the blue light of a mobile phone.

Despite experiencing minor sound issues during Fixture Picture, the first song off Designer, Harding powered through and the full and rich tones that run throughout the album became apparent. Zoo Eyes came next, where Hannah and her four other band members cohesively performed call and response vocals, which effortlessly floated above the instrumentation.

Harding’s iconic facial expressions including her signature eye rolls shone through on Treasure, one of the quieter pieces with perfectly executed harmonies. Her eccentric and joking nature whilst upholding a sinister face proved a win with the audience, her humour a welcome interaction.

The Barrel is the lead single off Designer and with the captivating nature of its music video showing off Harding’s haunting yet enticing dance movements, the audience expected nothing less than just that in a live setting. Dressed in an orange two-piece suit and black hat, her dancing certainly did make an appearance, whilst maintaining intense eye contact with the audience.

Damn was a particularly special moment, with the delicacies of the two piano parts, accompanying only her clear and raw vocals melodies. The mood was sombre and reflective, once again reiterating the encapsulating power Harding consistently evokes from her audience.

She followed on with Weight Of The Planets and a unique rendition of Gerry Rafferty’s Right Down The Line, just before she performed old-tune Blend with a warm welcome from the crowd.

To end what can only be described as a magical night, Harding played Heaven Is Empty and bravely performed Old Peel, a punchy new tune with jangly guitar and rigid piano whilst rhythmically banging a teacup. She left the audience with a tantalizing taste in their mouth and an experience to remember, as the chaotic sounds of the theatre returned.

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August 30, 2019

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