Following the release of her debut album Self Talk, Olympia returned to Adelaide for a headline show at The Producer’s Bar on Saturday night. Olympia visited Adelaide in late January to support Holy Holy on their national tour, and was looking forward to playing to an “uninhibited” Adelaide audience.

The night started with local act Poly Low, followed by another local Naomi Keyte. Both engaged the audience well and performed smoothly. Sarah Belkner was the final support act. While the others had bands to perform with, Sarah played alone with only her voice and keys.

Shortly after Sarah Belkner concluded her set, Olympia arrived in a silver jumpsuit with blue bows on the sleeves to match her guitar. Olympia and band launched straight into the opening song, Honey. After a second song (Fishing Knots/Blood Vessels), Olympia told us a story; a story about a passport mishap, falling off a motorbike in Indonesia, and doing a three-day scuba diving course with gravel rash all over. The point, we were told, was that she was in a lot of pain, but saw many beautiful things under the water. This relates to how she sees the process of making her album.

Throughout the set, the band had to compete with a DJ in the next room. Although the DJ was not as audible when Olympia was playing, this was clearly off-putting in between songs. Despite this distraction, the set was professional, yet casual. After each song, Olympia would talk to the audience and seemed very happy to be there.

Switching guitars for older song Atlantis caused some issues but after some fiddling, all was resolved. Olympia showed her professionalism throughout by remaining calm and joking around with the audience. For me, ‘Atlantis’ was a highlight of the set.

After a few more songs, the rest of the band exited and left Olympia onstage alone. She played a few notes on the keyboard, asking what this song was. A very excited man at the front responded with exuberance, ‘Biscuits’! Olympia then worked through a series of wordless notes, layering the vocals with pedals. She then interrupted herself, complaining that the pedals were too far apart. Yet, she rose above this and ‘Biscuits’ became another set highlight. The little interruptions prove that Olympia certainly doesn’t take herself too seriously and absolutely loves what she does.

The band again joined her on stage to close the set with ‘Blue Light Disco’ and ‘Smoke Signals’. Throughout the set, the small but enthusiastic audience was relatively still, yet they perked up for ‘Smoke Signals’. This is definitely her most popular song at the moment. The audience hung on to every note of that guitar solo as Olympia finished on a high.

Mature and practiced performers, Olympia and band showed that they have the power to engage an audience, and do so effortlessly. The band played well and Olympia hit every high note, both vocally and on her wonderful blue Jazzmaster.

Reviewed by Tessa Manning
Photo: EMI Publicity Portal