Well what can you say about Riki Gooch... the Maharaj of experimental music in New Zealand. In this role he was appropriately dressed conducting the opening concert of Eru Dangerspiel at the Auckland Town Hall. A venue with such a powerful presence and acoustics there was no moment in time where you were not drawn into the whole intense experience.
Eru Dangerspiel is the epitome of a big band. 25 of New Zealandís best musicians performing with trumpets, saxophones, bass, guitars, drums, a trombone, percussion, vocalists, a choir, the infamous organ and even a Triangle! The potential chaos on stage looked so simply mastered by flicks and shimmies of the conductor and his baton. There was so much to absorb that initially there was a perplexity of where to look first, that that soon faded away the excitement and organized viewing. In true big concert style each of the artists incorporated their own musical approach but also brought their unique personal fashion to the stage. Ria Hallís afroís, Isaac Aesiliís sci-fi inspired glasses, a bull fighting trombone player, and Mike Fabulous wearing very littleÖ.
Opening the concert with incredible Opera singing accompanied by the organ it was like the beginning of a dream. King Kapisi introduced the concert and acted as hype man to help aid Goochís vision. The talented and gorgeousness of Ria Hall and Anna Coddington joined Mara TK in the vocal extravaganza kicking out Jasmine Tea Party. The floor got completely worked over with all the dancing and jumping by both the band and the crowd.
The set included all the songs from the recently released Eru Dangerspiel CD, Backfoot , Hold Up, Sun Again were all performed with a high energy, where no member of band or crowd was out of time or left behind. Say Honestly was led by a sublime brass section with precision timing and memorable execution. The highlight of the night would beMara TK and a special appearance by the mesmerizing Whirimako Black singing Maia, a haunting ballad that transformed the movement of the crowd to awe inspired motionlessness. The night was capped off with Anna Coddington leading You would Know and introducing and appreciating the band through Samba School Drop Out.
If you have never seen two bass players battling, a duel that only ended because it trumped all others or a triangle solo and want to experience music that emotes passion from every facet go and see Eru Dangerspiel. With that much NZ talent on one stage there is nothing bigger or better!
Eru Dangerspiel is drummer/producer/DJ Riki Gooch. With dirty, bottom-heavy funk and psychedelic rhythm and blues, Eru Dangerspiel offers something completely different to any other current NZ sounds.
"I'm interested in the idea of music being a community. I want to create an experience which resembles a large musical engine based on simple arrangements, improvisation and groove... the sum of all parts, enhanced by surreal visual and theatrical elements. But mostly I want to break down the barrier between artist and performer to give a sense of inclusion to both parties" - Riki Gooch.
Riki Gooch released his solo debut album as Eru Dangerspiel, 'Great News For The Modern Man', a shuffled swathe of experimental grooves in late 2008.