Review and photos by Stephen Goodwin
There’s a long wait for rock-violinist Lindsey Stirling this evening at The Powerhouse — at least 15 minutes long, to be honest. For a touch over an hour, Kiwi DJ 1000 Ninjas labours manfully from a cubbyhole spot almost side-of-stage. In a club environment his chill-out grooves and odd samples would probably win a better reception, but this crowd is expecting action and movement, and that’s something beyond 1000 Ninjas’ scritchy-glitchy stillness tonight.
By contrast, Stirling is all movement. Over the course of an hour and twenty minutes she barely halts — whirling, twirling, jumping and pirouetting. Formal ballet it isn’t, still Stirling’s show is as much an act of dance as it is a musical performance. All with a carbon-fibre violin jammed under her left ear. And the capacity crowd — a peculiar mixture of young and old; gamers and geeks reflective of the diversity of her fanbase — laps it up.
It could all easily come off as a gimmick, yet Stirling’s undeniable chops on the fiddle allow her to deliver a set of engaging tunes high on verve while avoiding the cheese factor.
Many of the highlights flow from her self-titled long-player: Anti-gravity is a punchy and aggressive opener, the livewire drumming of Drew Steen lends bottom-end grunt to Electric Daisy Violin, while the lurching percussion and insistent see-sawing violin of Moon Trance make a strong contender for tune of the night.
In fact, the infectious pull of the high-tempo tunes work against slower ones such as Song of the Caged Bird — and when Stirling suggests halfway through the performance that it’s about time the crowd do a bit of the dancing for a change, the front rows are only too happy to jump up and down to Just Dance.
A medley of music from Zelda plus the Skyrim theme thrills the gamers in the crowd, while a medley from Phantom of the Opera brings the main set to a close.
It’s not long before Stirling Back for a couple more, finally unleashing the strobe lights for a throbbing rendition of her massive YouTube hit (69.7 million views and counting) Crystallize. Keyboardist Giva’s wub-wub-wub dubstep drop is actually understated in the mix, but it gives Stirling’s violin more room to soar within the Powerhouse Theatre’s superb acoustics.
The reception at the end is ecstatic. On this performance, Stirling should walk away from her first trip to Australian shores well-satisfied, because the crowd certainly did tonight.
Act: Lindsey Stirling
Venue: Brisbane Powerhouse
Date: August 24, 2013