The queues outside the Enmore Theatre as doors opened were indicative that even a Tuesday night, after two of the hottest days in years in Sydney and World Pride only just in the rear-view mirror, wasn’t going to stop the rabid Carly Rae Jepsen fans from turning out and partying.
You may be excused for thinking that warm-up act, Memphis LK was no more than a DJ, but her songs, mostly taken from her new EP, Too Much Fun, feature her pristine vocal on top of crisp and upbeat electronica and they’re sublime – she’s much more. Memphis alternated between bopping over the decks to some pretty bass-heavy hectic beats to dancing and singing around the stage before pulling out a soprano saxophone out to really keep things interesting!
Her tracks, “Whip”, “Coffee” and the title track from her EP were highlights of a set that brings Memphis LK to an audience that were ready to love her and the large early crowd gave her the adulation she deserved.
Carly Rae Jepsen has been working hard in her craft for over fifteen years to prove that she’s more than a one-hot wonder having created one of the biggest hits of the century. Ask her fans, and they’ll tell you she’s a lot more than her 2011 hit “Call Me Maybe”, but how does that translate to someone who barely knows her catalogue?
It took just two songs to really appreciate the pop sensibilities of the Canadian artist. “Run Away With Me” is as formulaic as a pop song gets, but it just went off. The crowd bounced, the singer spun around the stage and there was pure euphoria. Even for a song about an ex that was a “bit of a dick”, “Julien” was delivered with passion and heart, the singer really giving the impression of enjoying the first return to our shores in three and a half years.
There’s a positivity to the artist that flowed into the crowd. Huge smiles and screams punctuated the start of almost every song and there was pure love and adulation for the pop-star from men, women and everyone in between in the sold-out crowd. This shimmering, glistening pop competes with the dark, brooding pop that can be so prevalent with teenagers. This room was filled with 30-something year olds and they just wanted to party.
Of course, “Call Me Maybe” was an arm-waving triumph and the mid-set appearance of the hit probably pointed to the fact that it really isn’t the cornerstone of the artist any more. In fact, songs like “Want You In My Room” and “Boy Problems” felt like they popped even more with the audience and finally, for this reviewer, it was understood.
The encore, including the cheekily named but brooding, “Go Find Yourself or Whatever”, another song about boys, “Beach House” and viral hit, “Cut to the Feeling”, rounded out a set of pure pop preciseness – and preciseness is a compliment. There are no blemishes to be seen, no posturing, no negativity – the whole show could be tied in a ribbon and given to your Grandma. As long as she doesn’t mind songs about boys.
FOUR STARS AND A HALF STARS (OUT OF FIVE)
Carly Rae Jepsen and Memphis LK continue their tour of Australia in Sydney on the 8th of March, before hitting Brisbane (9th) and Melbourne (13th & 14th).
Tickets available via Frontier Touring.