Pure electricity: Olympia lit up The Lansdowne like only a pop star could

Olympia’s incomparable music has certainly been gaining the popularity it deserves. The Melbourne-based multi-instrumentalist has been on a steady incline since releasing her self-titled EP in 2013.

Her debut album Self Talk shortly followed and cemented her ethereal ability and strength as a singer and songwriter, sweeping up an ARIA award and a shortlisted spot for the coveted Australian Music Prize.

olympia dani hansen happy mag
Photos: Dani Hansen

As with her recorded music, Olympia strives to curate an utterly standalone live experience. At The Lansdowne in Sydney, she proved how true this statement was.

Her sound is heavily layered and eclectic to say the least – crunchy angst-driven electric guitar glides underneath rich vocals that, at times, border on the fringe of folk, which can all be accentuated by boozy brass, punchy Strokes-ish drumming, or other nuanced rhythms at any given time.

It is no secret that Olympia’s incredible sound is driven by her desire to create something utterly standalone, a feat that is all the more realised by hours upon hours of intense writing and studio work with producers like Burke Reid (Jack Ladder, Courtney Barnett, DMA’s).

Equally of no surprise is the singer’s abilities on stage. I settled in for what was to be an electric performance at Sydney’s iconic Lansdowne Hotel, one of many shows on her latest tour to promote new single Star City. The crowd was humming warmly in eagerness.

I had been told to expect costumes and a big light show, the whole bit, and my anticipation was building. Olympia, otherwise known as Olivia Bartley, finally entered dressed in a yellow wrap dress framed in a halo of hot pink tulle.

Backed by her seasoned rhythm section, she launched into powerful opener Somewhere to Disappear, bellowing down the mic in the chorus and straddling her axe – she owned the stage from the second she walked out.

The night crescendoed, elated by some hilarious interactions with the crowd in between tracks. Few songstresses, if any, could match this vibe. It was truly a treat to experience.

Olympia’s latest single Star City is out now.