I’m a recent convert to the work of Shara Worden who is better known as My Brightest Diamond and while I’d heard rumour of her live performance spectaculars I was not fully prepared for the insane levels of awesome that ensued during her show, nor do I feel adept to be writing this review as words cannot do justice to the grand display I was privy to at the Northcote on Monday night.
Worden is an artiste in every sense of the word and her phenomenal presence seemed to transcend the music itself as she quietly danced onstage wearing a moon face mask and a brightly coloured outfit decorated in felt and cotton balls that matched the orange balloons decorating the stage. The crowd watched in an enraptured silence as she launched into “We Added It Up” lulling the punters into an hypnotic haze with the wondrous beauty of her voice. The rich warmth of her tones and the sultry power of her delivery was thrilling to witness and she immediately called for audience participation encouraging us all to join in a round of ‘love binds the world’ – an experience she found to be so moving that she momentarily forgot the lyrics.
Worden is an eloquent entertainer who emotes so passionately that quite a few punters were overheard making comments along the lines of ‘if you’re not moved/turned on by/in love with this woman then you must be dead’. She deftly intertwines her operatic training and theatrical nuances into her music and weaves tales of life, death, race, class and love with such poignant grace that I was moved to tears by the sheer integrity of her expression.
Worden and her drummer Brian work together to create an intense feeling that had the audience captivated for the hour long set. They excel in exploring the depths of light and shade and moved seamlessly between heartbreaking ballads and thunderous riffs, all the while remembering that they were there to entertain with Worden responding to the love from the crowd, stopping to dance and tell stories between songs and even taking requests from the crowd, highlights of which were magical performances of “Feeling Good”, “Tainted Love”, “Be Brave” and “I Have Never Loved Someone”.
A one word summary of the evening would simply be wow. My Brightest Diamond blew my mind with a warm, whimsical and moving show that was one of the most beautiful things I have ever encountered.