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Last Saturday night (or Friday night for those in North America), mysterious singer/songwriter Aldous Harding graced the stages of Wellington’s Meow as part of her New Zealand tour. Performing solo, with the occasional assistance of a keyboardist, Harding enthralled a seated full house with her unique blend of alternative folk and her haunting, powerful voice that was simply captivating.
An intimate, emotional performance where at times Harding looked on the verge of tears, her lyricism touched on themes of fragility, heartache and love. Her set included new, unreleased material, including the ironically named “Party”, a song about being left alone on a Saturday night; the Cat Power-esque “Horizon”; and the whimsical “What If The Birds Aren’t Singing, They’re Screaming”, which spoke to the effects of marijuana and felt like a combination of Frank Sinatra and Carol Channing.
Harding also performed songs from her critically acclaimed, self-titled debut album, which was released in 2014. “Hunter”, “Stop Your Tears”, and “Titus Groan” were heart-stopping numbers. You can tell that an artist has an immense presence on stage when there isn’t a single whisper to be heard despite Harding’s intimate, acoustic folk.
While her songs are deep and emotional, she consistently engaged the audience between tracks and flashed her self-deprecating sense of humour, commenting on everything from her outfit to the previous shows on her tour. Harding’s performance demonstrated that she’s not just a wonderful singer-songwriter but also a great entertainer, whose theatrics extend well beyond the music on the page.
Below are some photos of Aldous Harding’s enthralling and emotive set. She is now in Australia to share her stories.
Photography by Jasper Rain. Written by Jasper Rain and Ben Yung.
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