ARIA is back for another year, and in a very new form. Gone is the arena spectaular at Acer Arena - replaced instead by a week of awards and music - all leading up to a gala event at the Opera House which looks to focus more on live music than it does on the awards themselves.
Each night this week, looking over the Opera House in the Royal Botanic Gardens, a select few were given the oppertunity to see one of their favourite Australian artists (and a special guest) in intimate surrounds, recorded live for digital broadcast, and for later sale on iTunes. In between the performances, they even give out three "genre" awards - such as for best comedy album, which tonight went to The Chaser's Andrew Hansen.
As for the performers themselves following on from stellar performances from John Butler, Dan Sultan, Boy & Bear, Washington, Guy Sebastian and Amy Meredith - tonight it was ladies night and we saw Sally Saltmann and the wonderful Sia took to the stage.
Dressed in wonderfully colourful attire, New Buffalo frontwoman and Feist collaborator Sally Seltmann looked very much the songstress as she played half an hour of music at the keys accompanied by a backing band. "Set Me Free" was a highlight of the impressive set.
But it was the quirky, wonderful Sia who we were all here to see. Suffice it to say, she didn't disappoint - the only downside to the event was that she was only given 45 minutes to perform. But she raced through plenty of crowd favourites, trying to keep banter to a minimum. As anyone who's been to a Sia concert knows, this is a pretty difficult task for the outspoken performer.
All this said, Sia was definitely off the ball tonight - she was a bit jet lagged, was forgetting lyrics and didn't seem as energetic as she often does. But I have to say, that the only reason I noticed this was because she was bringing attention to it herself. Her ability to cover it up otherwise is pretty impressive.
The set included "Clap Your Hands", "Soon We'll Be Found", "Buttons", "The Girl You Lost to Cocaine" and closed with the lovely "Breathe Me". You can download the 7 track set here. So why bother listening to me! Listen to the set for yourself!
We'll see you at the ARIAs.