Sia soars at the House of Blues

A review of Sia at the House of Blues on July 31, 2011

, Contributing Writer

After health issues postponed part of her 2010 tour, Australian pop singer Sia brought a rejuvenated show to Boston on Sunday night. She not only brought her unique, killer vocals to the House of Blues but also her offbeat sense of humor and friendly persona.

While Sia isn’t a huge pop star in the States, she broke through in 2006 when her song “Breathe Me” was featured on FOX’s “So You Think You Can Dance”. More recently, she has appeared on the “Twilight: Eclipse” film soundtrack and mentored on NBC’s “The Voice”. If audience members didn’t know her material, however, it didn’t register, as the singer kept the energy up with fun songs and banter.

The 80-minute set began with “The Fight” and “Bright Night”, two rousing numbers from her latest release, 2010’s We Are Born. Her extensive collection of danceable songs dominated the show, with no lag time between slower songs, even if her only moves involved bopping from side to side. She performed an electrified cover of Madonna’s “Oh Father” and her voice soared on the chorus of “Cloud”. We Are Born’s first single “You’ve Changed” initiated the biggest audience response and was clearly a show standout.

While dance music is her forte, Sia’s voice has enough soul to soar on her ballads as well. “Be Good To Me” was a sultry showcase that proved she could do more than just upbeat ditties. Her voice easily carried the emotional weight of the haunting “I’m In Here” and “You Have Been Loved”. After only a few slower songs, she brought the set right back up with “Never Gonna Leave Me”.

Sia did not discuss the health concerns that sidelined her last year, but kept fanfare light. No topic appeared off limits, ranging from drunk fans to pimping out her band to the self-proclaimed “vagina dress” she was wearing. A quirky show highlight included a performance of Sia and the band’s joke song “Pee On You”, an R&B jam worthy of the SNL Digital Short treatment.

The inspirational “Death By Chocolate” closed out the set before the encore. Calling the break stupid, she and her band quickly rushed back on stage. After polling the audience on whether to keep the encore or not (they voted yes), she launched right into the two best numbers of the night. “Clap Your Hands” was a stimulating audience participation perfect for the end of the night. “Breathe Me” was the final song and while not the most bouncing number to end on, it only seemed fitting for Sia to end with her most well-known song and the poignant chorus provided one more time to showcase her stellar voice.

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