Their new album The Great Impression had only officially been out one week at the time, but with tracks like ‘China’ and ‘Talking Like I’m Falling Downstairs’ getting lip service from Triple J, you knew you’d be in for a night of sing-alongs when they played Newcastle on Thursday night. And like the name of their album suggests, Sparkadia took to the stage and gave fans a lot to be impressed with.
With Melbourne outfit Alpine and indie young things Operator Please kicking the night off, Sparkadia gave a performance with all the energy and vivacity of a band who knew they had a whole suite of new songs, and were not afraid to use them.
The brainchild of frontman Alex Burnett, Sparkadia has been dubbed the collective name for a singular musical vision (think David Bowie or Nine Inch Nails), after a drastic line-up change left Burnett as the sole surviving member.
Instead of mourning the loss and putting the Sparkadia name to rest, Burnett’s comeback tour has gathered the help of some Australian and English musicians to play the new songs as well as some of the band’s back catalogue from the 2008 release Postcards.
Opening with songs that made the name Sparkadia famous, ‘Kiss of Death’, ‘Jealousy’ and ‘Morning Light’ reminded punters why Burnett’s anthemic voice is such a catchy indie pop/rock delight. The five-piece stage show brought the studio tracks to life, with the smartly black-clad band giving the audience extended guitar solos, catchy riffs and a non-stop performance.
Crowd favourite ‘China’ ended the band’s set, followed by a highly demanded encore featuring the new release single ‘Mary’, a highlight of the night’s performance starting with Burnett seated and playing guitar, and ending in a fully charged belting out of the chorus, ‘Mary…… you’ve got me on my knees.’
With the final note, the band stopped at exactly the same time and walked off stage to an applauding Newcastle crowd. Their Australia-wide tour is in its early days and will continue throughout April. Judging by this performance, fans are on their knees and will be begging for another gig soon.
Shelby Houghton is a final year Bachelor of Communications student at the University of Newcastle. She spends her spare time at gigs, or blogging about life in a tea cup . This is her second piece for upstart.