When something is going on at the Cedar Cultural Center, it’s bound to be a night to remember. When that “something” is a Kimbra concert, there’s no other choice than to drop everything you’re doing and to prepare to be amazed.
Kimbra first made it onto my and many other people’s radar when she featured on Gotye’s hit song, “Somebody That I Used To Know” in 2011. The song was catchy and good, but what truly stood out were her haunting and beautiful vocals that caught the listener by surprise. Hearing that song led me down a YouTube hole of tons of her music and live performances, which led me to seeing her live quite a few times in various cities.
Cut to the Cedar Cultural center just this week. The weather being as bitter cold as you’d expect for a Minnesota February didn’t stop me or any other Kimbra fans/admirers from making it out to the Monday night show. Once I got into the venue I shuffled my way to the spot I would spend the rest of my evening and got ready for a good time.
One opener was KING, who I hadn’t heard much about but had trusted that supporting acts for someone like Kimbra had to be good. I was right! They are a trio of three women from Minneapolis who bring so much girl power the stage that everyone in the audience was feeling extra empowered. Their set was full of dreamlike vocals and entrancing beauty.
Opening act number two was ARC IRIS, who had recently slipped their way into my Spotify playlists. They are another trio with a female front woman who’s vocal range would make anyone stop and listen. Their cantor with the crowd was brilliant and by the end of their set I was excited for Kimbra but hoping to see Arc Iris again soon.
When Kimbra finally took the stage, there were (obviously) cheers but the crowd seemed to be giving more of a dramatic pause, waiting to hear the voice that we had all braved the cold to see. She started off with “Version of Me,” a song from her most recent album, “Primal Heart.” The rest of the setlist consisted of a fairly even mix of old and new songs. Crowd favorites seemed to me “Settle Down,” from her 2011 album “Vows” and nearly everything from her new album.
Kimbra was gracious and sweet towards the crowd but very commanding of the stage, a combination that matched her medley of sweet high notes and booming lows. Her music has a jazzy, swinging feel to it at times, so there were lots of hips shaking and shoulders shimmying throughout the evening.
Kimbra left the stage after about 14 career-spanning songs, but quickly came back to the stage for an encore. She played “Real Life,” another fan favorite from her latest album, turned away from her adoring crowd, and left the stage. All of the chit chat around me was the same, “I can’t believe she was even better live!” was the main consensus. I also heard a few wishful thinkers mutter “Maybe she’ll come play one more song…” and my personal favorite, “I’d love to go try to meet her outside… but let’s give her privacy.”
Everyone was kind and patient as the herd made its way out of the Cedar, and I replayed the evening in my mind to keep a grin on my face in the single digit temperature as I headed home.