Five thoughts: Kimbra at Hard Rock Live (April 18)

Kimbra, performing April 18 at Hard Rock Live.
Photo: Spencer Burton
Chris Bitonti

1. I’m really hoping enough time has passed, and that the talented New Zealand singer Kimbra has established enough of a career in her own right that I don’t have to preface her as the female voice on Gotye’s “Somebody That I Used to Know.” Wait … aw, crap!

2. Though Hard Rock Live is packed for the final stop of Kimbra’s West Coast tour, the bar’s completely empty, a telling sign that this crowd is young. I venture to the floor for further investigation and my suspicions are confirmed. I am easily the oldest person here, except for chaperone parents.

3. Kimbra has genre ADD. From smooth R&B to near-club-ready pop she frequently crosses the spectrum. The universal thread woven throughout is her eccentric edge. She’s always enjoyably weird, and her willingness to turn the feel of a song on a dime keeps us on our toes all night.

4. At times the pop-porcelain doll evokes free-form jazz with how loosely some songs are structured. She very rarely takes the straight path to a hook or melody, which makes it all the more gratifying when she does get there.

5. Kimbra is just unusual enough to avoid being lumped in with Top 40 contemporaries (most of whom she can sing circles around), even as she maintains a strong pop-sensibility. It’s a fine line that she easily tiptoes, staying far closer to a Björk-in-training than a Rihanna-be.

  • A few tips: Bring a water bottle and keep it filled, wear earplugs and be ready to deviate from your itinerary.

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