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Show Review: Ziggy Alberts’ The Rewind World Tour with Kim Churchill

By Nimra Amir, Leonie O’Sullivan, August 29 2023—

The opener for the July 31 Ziggy Alberts show at the Palace Theatre in Calgary was his close friend of eight years, Kim Churchill. To know the kind of artist Churchill is, all one really has to know is that he sells signed gratitude rocks as merch — which perfectly encapsulates the rest of his quirks like his long beach blonde hair, torn shirt and heartfelt songs like “Loving Home” about the small Australian town he grew up or “Rosemary” about his grandma. But his heartfelt songs were quickly amped up with the harmonica he played simultaneously with his guitar like in “Rivermouth” about his parents. 

Churchill played into the strengths of indie pop by singing about relatively common topics, but with the introductions at the beginning of the songs and the many instruments on stage during the songs, the show still felt completely unique to him as an artist. 

Throughout the show, Churchill asked the crowd if they were ready for Alberts and indeed, the show from Churchill was a perfect opener for Alberts, who he was building the crowd up for, but the show from Churchill also stood on its own. To see Churchill perform, you can buy tickets for his next show in Calgary on May 8, 2024

With the crowd warmed up, the Australian folk singer-songwriter walked out on stage with a quiet demeanor and softly played his song “THE SUN & THE SEA” from his latest album, Dancing in the Dark. Alberts then ascended in energy to the fan favourite “Gone (The Pocahontas Song)” from his 2014 album The Land and the Sea. He swayed his head from side to side, appearing lost in a daydream as he reminisced about a fleeting love. This song describes a beauty atypical of Western standards, but it goes about it in the wrong way. Alberts wrote this song when he was just 17 years old, but now that he is 29, perhaps he can consider changing the name and the lyric “she looks like Pocahontas,” which may be offensive to Native Americans. I don’t think Alberts wrote this lyric with malicious intent — as he expressed his appreciation for diversity during the show — but there is no time better than the present for some self-education. 

Alberts amicably changed the lyrics of the song “Days in the Sun” to shout out Kim Churchill by swapping in his name for the lyric “listening to Ben Howard on repeat.” Sparking my interest, he was handed a new guitar at the start of each song, except for “Stronger,” which we played on the keyboard. He didn’t stick to playing the guitar in a traditional manner for the whole night. For his song “getting low” from his 2021 album Searching for Freedom, he placed the guitar on his lap using his right hand to treat the fretboard like a piano and used his left hand to transform the body and strings into a drum. As he played “Hands I Can Hold,” the fans followed Alberts’ instructions “to get down low” and then the crowd erupted as he energized and called on everyone to get up and jump. He also engaged the crowd with a “Heartbeat” singalong while he radiated happiness onto his committed fans. 

Alberts played two songs, “don’t get caught up” and “Dancing In The Dark,” expressing his anti-vaccination beliefs and disagreement with COVID-19 restrictions. Everyone is entitled to their own beliefs but I would urge his fans to get responsible medical advice from a doctor or healthcare professional, not from a singer-songwriter. Churchill rejoined the stage for a “letting go” duet and left again, blowing a kiss to his friend. Alberts couldn’t end the night on a slow song, so he played “Love Me Now” as his fans sang his lyrics back at him while he brought the show to a close. 

Alberts didn’t only grow a fabulous mustache in his 29 years of life. He started off his career as a street performer and after receiving offers from record labels in 2018, chose to remain independent, creating his own label with his sister and father. Alberts is planning a return to Calgary in May or June next year to revisit his ever-growing Canadian fanbase. Keep an eye out for tickets if you want to experience an energetic folk show like no other, with plenty of singing, kicking and dancing. 

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