Asta @ Northcote Social Club (with Second Hand Heart and Hayden Calnin) – 4 Oct ’13

Things may have started in a sparsely filled room on a Friday night, but Melbourne based Second Hand Heart made an impression on those that were there. The ethereal sounds of We Dream Awake were simply stunning, with mesmerising female fronted vocals from Jess and Lily before the evening’s performance almost became an unplugged sessions.

Second Hand Heart @ NSC Credit: Kristel Proctor t:justkyp

Second Hand Heart @ NSC
Credit: Kristel Proctor t:@justkyp

Technical issues aside, the more uptempo Hold On (the band’s current single) showed versatility, leaving aside the folk-esque sounds from earlier in the set but still with exceptional musicianship. The dreamy sounds that followed continued to enchant with impeccable harmonies before changing things up again with Trouble.

More new music followed with Hayden Calnin, starting with some solo material showcasing incredible vocals before being joined by a band for Not Good For Me, beautifully haunting and intriguing with its husky vocals and somewhat understated arrangement as a teaser for an upcoming EP.

Hayden Calnin @ NSC Credit: Kristel Proctor t:@justkyp

Hayden Calnin @ NSC
Credit: Kristel Proctor t:@justkyp

Shutters built exquisitely, and the faultless arrangements continued through the set ending with Winter. Inevitably this is going to draw comparisons to the likes of Matt Corby and Bon Iver, but there’s something different there and worth exploring if progressive folk is your thing. Perhaps a little too melancholy for some but the City EP has already had a few plays and I’m hooked.

Having seen Asta as a support act, it’s no surprise that she was performing to a sell out crowd and hard to believe that this is her first headlining tour. Walking on stage with the support of her band, she exuded the confidence and skills of tried and true performer, opening with the impeccable My Heart is on Fire.

Asta @ NSC Credit: Kristel PRoctor t:@justkyp

Asta @ NSC
Credit: Kristel PRoctor t:@justkyp

The uptempo tracks including Escape continued to entertain and showcase the strength of Asta’s vocals and delivery. Slower tracks highlighted songwriting and musicianship well beyond her years, including the newbie ‘Oyster Shell’ capturing undivided attention.

Following a recent appearance on Triple J’s Like a Version, Asta’s cover of Flume’s Holdin On made its way into the set for the night proving that genre holds no bounds for a stellar performance (better than the original?!), and finished on I Need Answers complete with some dedicated singing along from the crowd. The crowd was clearly impressed (complete with a couple of dedicated fanboys), and the gratitude was very much reciprocated with Asta taking the time for meet and greets after the show (she’s lovely!)

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