Kim Boekbinder with Helen Perris (27-01-2013)

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I had only heard of Kim Boekbinder a mere few weeks before I found out she was in Australia and playing a house party gig in Sydney. When I saw that she tweeted she was in Melbourne one evening in early December, I couldn’t help myself but ask if she was playing any shows while she was here. Much to my pleasure, she replied with, “Sydney house party!” and informed me to contact Helen Perris for details. So of course I did right away.

It was a fluke that I was invited to this show, purely a matter of being in the right place at the right time, and extremely lucky that Helen didn’t think I appeared too weird online to invite me.

I didn’t know what to expect from a house party gig – I had never been to one before. It was a relaxed atmopshere, and despite not knowing anyone there, after a few drinks, it was like we had all been friends for years.

Our host Helen Perris dazzled everyone with her cabaret/pop captivating the entire room with her voice and piano. Helen made us laugh with “Palace in Suburbia” a song that outlines the many problems she encountered with her home when she first moved in (much of which has now been fixed some two years down the road), tugged at our heart strings with “Rainbows and Thunder” which she informed was a love song about someone in the room (turns out it wasn’t me, it was her eldest son) and then had us laughing again with a song about being afraid to be amongst crowds such as those found in mosh pits, or boxing day sales. While funny, the song was based on truth and something I can sympathise with. I often find myself feeling overwhelmed in large crowds.

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At the end of the 2012 I said I wanted to try and find more local music, and while Helen Perris is not the style of music I would normally seek out, I’m glad I found her. January wasn’t even over yet and I had already found new local talent, a good start indeed.

This was an intimate show, one for those that backed Kim’s kickstarter – Helen pledged for the gig, and then all who attended the show chipped in, so in a way we all helped out. Being a show for the fans, Kim took the time to ask every single person there what song they would like to hear. Set list finalised, Kim went to get ready as the drinking, and talking continued. The chatter began to die down as we heard clap-clap-clap (not accurate to beat) and Kim emerged for intro song “Impossible Girl,” starting her set with a group clap-along. Alongside the clap-along the entire room joined in for “Organ Donor’s March,” singing along and keeping the beat by clapping or banging the floor, while “Sex, Drugs and Nuclear Physics” continued the group effort with a math-along. Kim did admit that some of the requested songs she hadn’t played in a long time and asked our forgiveness if she forgot the words. “Stalker” required a second start, but this certainly didn’t detract from the show. This wasn’t about perfection, this gig was about showing appreciation both from the fans to Kim, and Kim to the fans. We laughed with Kim as these things happened, and helped her along, it was these moments that made it real, raw. Aside from little mishaps, Kim played a near flawless set to the enjoyment of all who came. “Anyone At All” was a highlight as we witnessed vocal layering first hand. Kim looped different sounds, one of which was her crunching a chip to the beat, recreating whatwe hear on the record. We were also treated to previews of tracks from her upcoming album, two of which were “The Drake Equatio”n and “Fix You Good.” The new record, to me, sounds like it will be a concept album, and you can expect plenty of synthesiser. Which put me in the mind of new-wave synthpop.

What started with a clap-along, ended with a dance party, as I put my questionable dancing skills to the test and got out on the dance floor – something I rarely do, and which many in attendance will agree, should probably never do again.

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