Mind-blowing; there is not one other hyphenated word to more accurately describe the experience that would unfold when Shaun Kirk took to the stage in Portarlington, mid-afternoon on Sunday.
The blues and soul troubadour set out on his Midnight in Motion tour during late June, stopping by the coastal town of Portarlington on Sunday July 2 for his sold-out gig. The tour has marked Kirk’s first time back on the road in several months. And it’s safe to say, that after such an unexpectedly long hiatus, the jam-packed room was filled with much anticipation for what was to come.
Opening with ‘Every Dog Will Have Its Day’ from his third studio album, The Wick Sessions, I was instantaneously left in disbelief of the sound that was meeting my ear drums. The song saw Kirk hit explosive high notes, that I would not have thought to be humanly possible if I were not in the room experiencing it for myself. My first thought: wow, this guy has a set of lungs on him! Within moments Kirk had the audience wooing and clapping for him, as a new sense of energy filled the room.
Pausing between songs, Kirk would tell the audience tales of anything from his personal life experiences, to what inspired his songs, which really worked to add a strong sense of intimacy to the gig, as well as really personalising his music. From the get-go, he had the crowd laughing with him, whether he was making puns, or purely having a laugh at himself.
He followed with ‘Two Hands On The Wheel’ from his most recent studio album, Steer The Wheel, before he was back to telling tales of his life. This time, he made particular note of a trip he had made to meet with a manager/producer in Santa Rosa Valley over in the U.S.A and anyway, long story short, he ended up being on the same management roster as David Hasselhoff. If that isn’t a groovy achievement in and of itself, what is?
The audience continued to interact and laugh along with Kirk well into the gig, and whether it be that he was performing, or simply talking, the audience (and I, for one) were left completely mesmerised, simply due to the charisma, energy and soul that this artist brings into the room with him.
Things took a bit more of an emotional turn, as Kirk proclaimed that he felt that he had fallen off the horse for some time, regarding his career as a musician, making this tour all about getting back on. He followed with titles, ‘Black Dog’ and ‘I Killed a Man I Never Met’.
Continuing with titles ‘Cruisin’ and ‘Steam Train’, Kirk had the audience swaying, clapping and even singing along, as the one-man band showcased his insane multi-instrumentalist skills on the stage, accompanied by his guitar, harmonica and a series of pedals. Casually pausing midway through ‘Steam Train’, the audience even had the chance to jump on in for a group selfie with the musician, which was just a whole lot of fun.
The gig drew to an end with a new song that Kirk had written, which he pre-warned the audience about, as he hadn’t performed it many times prior… and honestly, there was no need for warning. The closing song was performed as flawlessly as the others, which he had performed time and time again. Though, what is a gig without an encore? As the audience chanted in demand of ‘one more song’, Kirk returned to the room, this time jumping up onto the bar and performing a Gospel-blues style song, which was truly something else.
If you’re yet to listen to Shaun Kirk’s music, or experience one of his live performances, you’re going to want to. This guy is going big, big places. This was a performance unlike any other I’ve experienced!
A personal shout out to Shaun’s mum, for putting that old nylon string guitar in his room all those years ago, allowing him to bless audiences with the mind-blowing performances that he does today.
Where: Saints & Sailors, Portarlington
When: Sunday July 2
Special Guests: Steph Fischer-Ivancsy
Reviewed By: Helena Metzke