To say that up-and-coming Australian singer-songwriter Amy Shark wears her heart on her sleeve would be an understatement. The rising star lays bare every last feeling she’s ever felt on stage; it’s this unadulterated earnestness that’s made her so popular. There are few artists right now who aren’t afraid of dredging up the nitty gritty details of past ordeals for material, but Shark goes deep with her songs. It’s a welcome reprieve from most contemporary love songs, which are just a series of generic platitudes and vague declarations of devotion.
Shark’s Wednesday night show at The Phoenix Concert Theatre was brief but powerful, with each of the twelve songs hitting hard. Opening with “Drive You Mad”, the set played more like a greatest hits collection than the early works of a new artist. Shark knows her way with a hook, and each of the dozen songs had their fair share of those. Each song also had a lengthy backstory – some more lighthearted than others. “Weekends” was a cute look back at calling her crush on a landline. “Middle of the Night” was a little bit darker.
Buried in the middle was a cover of another artist who uses their diary as a songbook (albeit in a much coarser way) – Eminem. Shark performed a more melodic version of the rapper’s hit “Superman”, announcing that he was in fact one of her favourite artists.
Saving the best for last, Shark pulled out crown jewel “Adore” to a crowd all too ready for the song. It’s the heart wrenching sound of Shark pining away for an unrequited love, a late night ballad thrown over a woozy guitar hook and a leisurely hip hop beat. Shark speaks directly from the heart, but it’s never accusatory or bitter. She simply celebrates tiny moments with her object of affection, relaying the entirely relatable experience of magnifying every interaction when in the throes of love. The simplest brush of your arm against theirs becomes the stuff of legend; you’ve got a permanent set of rose-coloured glasses on. The sincerity dripping from Shark’s voice when she delivers these and other sentiments is very evidently genuine, especially when she sings the words “I adore you.”