Bar Bodega 20/03/2010
The night was young, I had my glad rags on and Wellington looked ready to party. What better place to be than the stalwart of the music venue business; Bar Bodega now located on Ghuznee Street in central Wellington. This venue has seen some excellent performances over the years and it's new premises look set to continue a great heritage. With a main stage and bar, an alcove performance area and a downstairs bar, this venue rocks!
The Vaults in the alcove started the party off with heart-warming synthesizer and vocal loops interspersed with From Scratch like percussion segments. The broad sound arrangements coalesced in reverb drenched dizziness. At times I wondered how the crescendo would come back down to Earth and at first the cool audience wasn't sure that it had. By the end of the second song any inhibitions were gone, loud applause telling the two performers they were on the right track. Dynamic drumming intermingled with recurring vocal sounds, which carried the melody, the Vaults were a great warm up act for the night of festivities.
Then onto the main stage where The Slur Tones got people dancing. With sheer enjoyment of performing to the half full audience, the quintessential three-piece were masterful in their delivery. The sky's the limit with these guys. The tight rhythm section worked hard to bring out Fabian Shaws impressive talents as vocalist and guitarist. You can see why they get a good rap in the industry, hard work and dedication usually pays off. Well-crafted alt-pop eagerly lapped up by the energetic and enthusiastic crowd.
The third act for the night: Can We Talk with Cam Bisley on guitar and mandolin, Liz Cameron on keys and event organiser Ben Dalgleish on drums fitted perfectly into the relaxed atmosphere. CWT gave a light-hearted performance with tongue in cheek lyrics from Cam and Liz. The vocal interplay and beautiful harmonies with nice time changes in their poppy love songs, worked a treat.
With a 21st going off down stairs, the vibe was good! A few beers and a happy, fun crowd already meant it was a great night out. However the best was yet to come... Knives at Noon took to the stage after just enough turnaround to create some anticipation. The four-piece, not messing around, jumped straight into some poppy/punk funky disco with hints of Goth. Doom Pop I think they call it. Strangely the almost packed audience slowly dissipated. Their music was slightly reminiscent of New Order. You can tell Knives at Noon have worked hard to get where they are. I wondered what they would sound like in a big arena or stadium. Oli Wilson's encompassing synthesizers kept the bass line and great tempo with Tim Couch on drums. Tim McCartney's crypto lyrics were well supported by his and Paul Gauvin's guitars. It was the most professional act of the night by these chaps from Dunedin.
Old Grey Wolf in the alcove then rarked things up. The one-man band's new wave midi driven, frenetic Pop and vocal effects from stomp boxes was contagious. That's the most fun I've seen driven from a synthesizer digital interface. The small but enthusiastic audience played along with the miniature musical instruments they got from a "lolly scramble". People joined in on the drums that were left from the previous act and threw streamers and balloons around. The windows steamed up like any good house party. "You're here to party so let's party" and that's exactly what it was.
Regularly swapping guitars for synths, New Friend found a receptive audience fully enjoying their alternative sounds. Expansive and poppy, these young guys enthusiastically played their hearts out. I look forward to seeing their sound develop. The Nerines joined the stage in a seamless jam with New Friend meaning there was no turn around on the main stage. The Nerines know how to party, working skank like off beats with heavier pop rock and, looking like the Beatles, the lads at times got some moshing happening on the dance floor. Amusing lyrics and band enthusiasm kept people dancing till the wee hours of the morning. But wait there's more...
If you needed an excuse to go out and have some fun, then an alternative event at Bar Bodega with any of these bands playing is a damn good reason.
Knives at Noon are a foursome who sleep in Dunedin. They have been credited as being the pioneers of "Doom Pop", a genre which wont be fully acknowledged on Earth until sometime between 2030 and 2050. Knives at Noon try not to take themselves too seriously, but are constantly and politely wondering......why them?