Local songstress Siobhan pulled in quite the crowd of family and friends to launch her debut LP Soldier Heart. Opening with “Don’t Take Her Heart If You’re Going To Let Her Down” it was clear from the onset that nerves were getting the better of the young band with Siobhan’s vocals meandering and the harmonies off key. Fortunately as the night progressed they relaxed and found their groove, executing a jovial cover of Gossling’s take on Ou Est le Swimming Pool’s “Dance The Way I Feel”.
Siobhan had a very fun presence, keenly cracking jokes with her mates in the crowd and clearly enjoyed her time onstage. She called for crowd participation toward the end of the night with a very matter of fact statement “this is probably the biggest crowd I’ll ever play so do you mind if I crowd surf?” and as the band whipped out the opening bars of Foster The People’s “Pumped Up Kicks” Siobhan hopped on top of the crowd living up her moment in the sun.
The downside to her performance was a lack of presence and passion in her delivery. Siobhan is a gifted songwriter but tunes such as “Penny Farthing” and “Soldier Heart” paled in comparison to the studio recordings. Her live incarnation didn’t enhance her studio work and there is no power in her vocals – she sings at one tone and any deviation from this ends up in a world of unpleasant, abrasive melodies. Even her encore cover of The Jezabel’s “Endless Summer” was lacking in emotional poignancy. As such while her set was fun in places, for me it was a very middle of the road affair. It’ll be interesting to see how she progresses as she garners more experience performing to bigger audiences.