Kool Haus, Toronto - March 31

Jane Stevenson, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 3:07 AM ET

If ever there was a musician who deserved an attentive audience, it’s inventive Australian-Belgian electronica-pop sensation, Gotye currently touring with his third solo album, Making Mirrors, released in 2011.

No sound is too small and unimportant for the 31-year-old singer-songwriter-drummer, who played a triangle during his sold-out show at Kool Haus on Saturday night, for crying out loud.

But that subtlety appeared lost on some of the audience who had clearly come only to hear Gotye’s monster breakthrough hit, Somebody That I Used to Know, featuring big-voiced New Zealand singer-songer Kimbra.

The viral hit spawned countless cover versions and videos on YouTube including an almost equally popular one by Burlington, Ont., band Walk Off The Earth (Remember five musicians playing one guitar?).

But sadly, there was a decided lack of focus on the part of some concert-goers as Gotye arrived with the enchanting Kimbra in tow as his opener – more on her later.

Even Gotye had enough of the noisemakers as he attempted to play the quiet Bronte as the first song of his encore, telling those talking afterwards that they could “leave now,” and dedicating the next tune to those who had actually been listening.

Gotye, whose percussive and sample-heavy electronica-pop and scratchy, soaring voice has drawn comparisons to the likes of Peter Gabriel and Sting, is a major talent who deserves better.

Performing at the front of the stage, standing in between a drum kit and keyboards while backed by a four-piece band, including a second drummer, he made the most of such Making Mirrors tracks as Eyes Wide Open, Easy Way Out, Smoke and Mirrors, Save Me, and I Feel Better, and older songs The Only Way, Thanks For Your Time, Heart’s A Mess, and Learnalilgivinanlovin.

His drumming displays during his hour-and-twenty-minute set were often ferocious and the striking visuals on a large screen behind the band – ranging from landscapes to animation – only enhanced the experience.

And while Walk Off The Earth were said to be in the Kool Haus audience, Gotye –who did give the band a shout out – just brought Kimbra back on stage with him for their memorable duet on Somebody That I Used to Know, while the crowd joined in with a major sing-along.

Truthfully, Kimbra’s 50-minute opening performance set the bar high for Gotye, who is the April 14 musical guest on Saturday Night Live.

Dressed in a satin red mini dress, Kimbra drew the crowd in with her soulful voice and enticing stage presence that recalled such as singular females as Annie Lennox, Florence Welch and Bjork as she performed unusual hand and arm gestures as she lit the big notes rip.

Most of her R&B-jazz-soul-pop debut, Vows, which will finally get a May 22 release in Canada after already being a hit back in New Zealand and Australia, was performed with such standouts as Two Way Street, Settle Down, Cameo Lover, the Nina Simone cover Plain Gold Ring, and new songs Marigold and Samaritan.

Make no mistake, a star is born.

 


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