It’s not very often that an international act will hit Philadelphia more than once in a year. Amy Shark however has managed to make it to the city of Brotherly Love three times in the past 12 months. And in those 12 months she has really blown up.
She released her debut album “Love Monster” in July and it climbed to number two on Billboard’s Heatseekers Album chart. She has cultivated a dedicated fan base and her latest tour was like a thank you tour for the fans who had listened to her since “Adore” and all those who had become fans since.
Shark performed at Underground Arts Oct. 10. The opener was Tyler Hilton. You may recognize Hilton from his guest arc on CW’s “One Tree Hill” or Taylor Swift’s “Teardrops on My Guitar” music video. He performed a short acoustic set to get the night started and did a great job warming up the crowd.
Hilton took the stage with just an acoustic guitar. He didn’t have band, but his voice was enough to fill the room and capture attention. His voice was full and had a hint of rasp that he could emphasize when it fit the texture of the song. His set started out pretty singer-songwriter-esque, but gained an edge of country influence as he got to his recent singles. He closed the set with his most recent release “City on Fire.”
Amy Shark took the stage to the sound of “Do You Hear the People Sing?” from the musical Les Miserables. It was a bit of an odd start, but she quickly started playing “Blood Brothers,” a song off her EP “Night Thinker.” It’s one of her happiest tracks so it was a great opening track for her set.
Her set was amazing and full of high energy. It was a big night for Shark, she had been nominated earlier that day for 9 Australian Recording Industry Association Music Awards. She was excited about the nominations and ready to celebrate with the crowd.
Seeing Amy Shark live is an interesting experience for fans of her music. Many of her songs are emotional and deeply personal. During her set, she talked about how her boyfriend’s parent once called him concerned after listening to her music. Shark recognizes that her music is a little dark and heavy. But when you see her perform it in person, it doesn’t feel as heavy. You see that she’s happy now, you see that she is sharing these stories for both herself and the people listening. Performing the songs becomes a release valve for these emotions and the crowd sings along letting out their own baggage. The song where this dynamic was most evident was the track “Middle of the Night” with the crowd shouting back the hook lyric “f— my life, f— my life.”
The crowd at Underground Arts that night was passionate. It was obvious that all of them were there to see Shark, and not just there as something to do on a Wednesday night. The energy flowing from the stage was being fed right back by the crowd. Anonymous shouts from the crowd in between songs were endearing and polite. The funniest perhaps being a man a couple rows back responding to Shark taking a swig of her beer with “And she drinks PBR!” It was a call of respect to which Shark replied with a curtsy.
Almost all of the tracks off of “Love Monster” were performed along with a handful of songs from the “Night Thinker” EP. She did perform one cover track too, “Teenage Dirtbag” by the band Wheatus. It was well received by the crowd and really fit in with her songs.
She ended her set with “I Said Hi” the kiss-off anthem that lead the album’s release. It was a great wrap to the show, leaving the crowd hype and wanting more.