It’s been a busy year for Adalita, her debut solo album was released in March, a successful national tour followed and she played for the Dalai Lama in June. She returned to a packed Transit Bar last Thursday as part of a handful of additional shows, supported by Laura Imbruglia.

Laura Imbruglia kicked off the night at around 9pm. Her solo performance complimented Adalita’s, playing a set of enjoyable songs, stripped down to just vocals and a guitar.

As the lead singer of Magic Dirt, Adalita never shied away from experimenting with different styles, from the heavy, distorted sounds of their 90s releases to the more melodic, poppy singles of the past decade. On her self-titled, solo album, Adalita offered beautifully stark songs. Tonight she appeared with one other musician, JP Shilo, a couple of guitars and some simple percussion.

Between songs, Adalita explained that her guitar playing was limited this evening as she had cut her finger to the bone in what must have been a very painful incident with a blender, but she powered through, with Shilo taking over guitar on a few songs.

The bulk of her debut album got a play, with ‘Hot Air’ and the soon to be released single ‘Perfection’ a couple of highlights. Other favourites included the catchy, yet tragic, ‘Fur Seal’, the Magic Dirt song, ‘Full Of Rope’, and a taste of her next album ‘I Want Your Love’.

I couldn’t fault the performance, but while those standing at the front of the stage remained attentive throughout the entire set, a few towards the back grew restless and by the end of the show were chatting loudly – very distracting and difficult to ignore, especially during such a low-key performance. Perhaps they were expecting a heavier set, something more akin to Magic Dirt. It took a lot of restraint for me, standing somewhere in the middle not to turn around and “shush” them.

Those of us who gave Adalita the attention she deserved walked away from the evening impressed with the strength of her performance and an appreciation of her ability to evolve as an artist.

Photography by Chris Whitfield.