Friday, 4 May 2012

Skii Harvey's “Bound By History”, Slide Bar, Darlinghurst

Reviewed by Lana Hilton

I won't say no to any kind of music - unless the lyrics involve human and/or animal sacrifice - so of course I said yes to attend the launch of singer/songwriter Skii Harvey's third album “Bound By History” at Slide Bar on Oxford St.

I don't usually listen to many soul, blues or jazz tunes but I had listened to a few of her songs online and was excited to be converted…and boy was I!

The live performance was superior to any other concert or gig I've seen before - and I've been to Ricky Martin!
Skii draws you in with her oozing, charismatic personality and has you entranced throughout each song. Even the band members couldn't take their eyes off her!

“Gravelly goodness” is one way to describe her smooth, smokey voice; up there with Tina Turner, Anita Baker and Annie Lennox is another, as she has been compared to in the past.

Slide Bar was the perfect place for such an event with its fabulously ornate, high ceilings, intimate candlelit tables and low, sultry lighting. You knew you were in for an up-close and personal night.

In front of an enthusiastic 25-70year old crowd she led us through her life in song, pointing out the tracks which meant the most to her, those where she emotionally divulges, those which are her family's favourites and those we could probably all relate to. She made us feel incredibly welcome by the way she sang to each member of the audience as her sparkling eyes made their way across the room, and with her obvious passion for her music and her band.

Skii was grooving along and busting out dance moves during the instrumentals, clearly having a fantastic time and making sure we paid the proper respects to the highlighted instrument of the moment. This was so easy to do because the 10-piece band was amazingly talented and suited her open, honest and creative style.

Each song was cleverly chosen to emphasise her boisterous band and each track showcased a particular instrument and musician; Clive Lendich on electric guitar, Simon Sweeny on the trumpet and flugelhorn and David Pritchard Blunt on the piano.

Her backup singers were not forgotten either as she sidled up next to them with a cheeky wink and shoulder shimmy, inviting them to immerse into the beat.

Her voice is smack-you-in-the-face powerful and envelops everyone in the room, much like the lyrics of her songs - `Step Back' in particular. My personal favorites were `Tell Me' (of which she has just released a music video), `Redfern' (where Skii takes us back to her childhood home in Sydney, listening to the advice of her mother), and `Foolish Girl' (from her second album of the same name and which has a brilliantly creative music video!).

“Bound By History is the next chapter” says Skii. “It is about being strengthened and encouraged by your past as well as cautioned. We are all made up of our history both singularly and collectively but it is how we step into the future that truly counts.”

If you are a fan of soulful tunes set to a brass band, a silky voice and a sexy personality, then get on the Skii Harvey bandwagon!

Her previous albums “Uncompromising” and “Foolish Girl” are available on iTunes and at

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