It must be said that this reviewer is a serious Sara Bareilles fan and, thankfully, expectations were met with a warmth that the powerhouse Sara herself, would have been pleased with. Gravity paid due respect to the works of Bareilles and showcased her wide repertoire with a fun and relaxed style.
Belting from the get-go, Kate Lewis and Kim Spargo were supported by the local choir, Voice of Transition. We were also treated to a talented band of Tim Haslam on piano, Jacob Morris on guitar and backing vocals, Blake Trenorden on bass and backing vocals, Lewis Todd on drums, and Kahli Lanthois on backing vocals. These musicians were proficient and brought the music to life, with all members grooving along but a particular nod goes to the drummer, Todd.
Both lead singers sang with impeccable breath control and diction, doing well to honour all of the meaningful lyrics and melodies. Spargo expressed her love for the music and for her fellow stage dwellers, emulating Bareilles in many of her creative collaborations. Spargo’s voice and tone shone in her rendition of ‘Goodbye Yellow Brick Road’ and in her amiable jokes along the way. Lewis gave a standout vocal performance, effortlessly nailing many impressive notes and delightful vocal runs. Her little moments of audience interaction were also welcomed for their genuine pleasantness, as each solo was met with roaring applause. This pair worked well as they relaxed into the melodies, weaving in moments for other singers to take the lead and for the choir to perform their equally great vocal percussion and tone.
Throughout, Spargo and Lewis shared some nice anecdotes behind each number though it did leave room for some more biographical detail of Bareilles life to date. Looking around, the audience were smiling and seemingly would have embraced a little more storytelling and personal interpretation for some songs.
Musically, the performers did very well, earning a standing ovation by the end from a happy and supportive audience. Whilst the songs of Sara Bareilles speak for themselves, it was great to see them reinvented, for example, Morris’ male rendition of ‘Gravity’. The choral addition also showcased great musical arrangements and brought new life and style to the well-loved numbers of ‘Love Song’ and ‘King of Anything’. Expect to be treated to great covers of ‘Many the Miles’, the empowering anthem of ‘Armour’, and, a personal show highlight of ine, the a capella ‘Once Upon Another Time’.
Gravity captured the humanitarian nature and excellent style of Sara Bareilles. This show will be well liked by audiences, young and not-so-young for its musicality and the heartfelt community feel in the air, complimented by some nice lighting moments.
You can catch them at Nexus Arts for two more shows, Sunday 1 March at 6.00 pm and Sunday 15 March at 7.00 pm. A logistic recommendation to viewers is to be generous with your evening planning as this venue is back to back with shows and did start later than expected.
Reviewed performance: Sunday 23 February