Live Review: Sharon Van Etten + BATTS – Hamer Hall, Melbourne (11.06.19)

If you’ve ever seen a performer such as Sharon Van Etten, you’d understand the term ‘smooth operator’. This was something that was seemingly obvious at Hamer Hall on Tuesday night as Sharon closed up the Australian leg of her Remind Me Tomorrow tour. Along for the ride was Melbourne’s vert own BATTS, who proved to be the perfect opening set up for an evening filled with flair and emotion.

BATTS

Coming off the release of The Grand Toura debut concept album, touring with Sharon Van Etten would have been the icing on the cake for BATTS’ 2019. She stood solo on the Hamer Hall stage, but unshaken by the wide space of the hall, performed tracks from the new album with grace and poise. BATTS was also rather lighthearted in her banter, occasionally rambling between her songs, talking about her band and upcoming tour and leaving the crowd with a fond memory of her set.

After four long years away from Australia, Sharon Van Etten made her presence known as Hamer Hall, transforming it into a rock temple for the night. Sharon was a behemoth on the stage, wielding her vocal intent and guitar work to great affect, for a thrilling performance to a Melbourne crowd that was more than willing to reciprocate.

Some might’ve thought that Hamer Hall was an interesting choice for a rock show such as this, but after a few notes the acoustics of the hall wiped any misgivings away. The environment certainly suited the powerful voice of Sharon and even those up in the nosebleeds of the hall would have been able to hear every magical moment.

Sharon Van Etten and full band

Sharon’s vocals were the absolute standout of the evening using them to great effect in “Memorial Day”, as Sharon’s backing band built into the bridge, the belting vocal lines of ‘You Will Run’ silenced a room and most certainly sent shivers down the spine of everyone in the seats.

A cover of Sinead O’Connor’s “Black Boys On Mopeds” struck a chord in the set, as Sharon explained she’s looking for a little faith in the world since the birth of her child. Sitting alone at her keyboard, Sharon produced some stirring vocal work that highlighted her emotionality and ability to channel these feelings into music. This was a sentiment that applied to “I Told You Everything”, “Serpents” and “Comeback Kid” with the latter giving Sharon’s set a racious edge.

Sharon closed the set with “Love More”, asking the audience to go and find more love out there in the world. While it didn’t have the punch of some of her earlier tracks, their was a poignant purpose to the song and left the crowd heartened when leaving the venue, looking forward to the next time Sharon would grace the Australian stage again.  

FOUR AND A HALF STARS (OUT OF FIVE)

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