It’s watching a man in a bunny suit bash out a mean five minute drum solo that makes you remember why live music can be so much fun – it's the unpredictable nature of it; no two gigs are ever the same. But that’s the end of the night; let’s start at the beginning.
Having four musicians from various well known Wellington musical acts (the three members of The Nudge have performed in Fly My Pretties, Tropical Downbeat Orchestra, Newtown Rocksteady and Hikoikoi amongst others; Warren Maxwell, who opened for them has wowed audiences for the past decade in TrinityRoots, then the Little Bushmen) was always bound to draw a big crowd, but I don’t think anyone expected the turnout on Friday night.
The San Francisco Bathhouse, a large venue by bar standards, was packed out, with barely any room to move about, by the time Warren Maxwell dished out some of his soulful solo blues.
By the time he finished no one else was allowed in and there was a line 50 deep of hopeful punters outside.
It was the Nudge who were to be the stars of the night, as they turned the audience into a seething mass of flailing arms (and stumbling drunks) over the next two hours. Their blend of blues and 60’s style funk is infectious and the energy and musicianship they exhibit are a winning combination. The animal costumes (Ryan Prebble plays guitar in a chicken costume, James Coyle works the keys as a bear, and Iraia Whakamore is their dancing rabbit drummer) and homemade pies add to the atmosphere, and although a little gimmicky at times, remind us that music should be fun, and that successful musicians shouldn’t take themselves to seriously.
It was Iraia’s drumming that stole the show for me – his high energy levels, manic dancing in the middle of songs and downright funkiness, and of course that solo, just blew me away.
They didn’t keep up the energy the whole night; a couple of slower, dirty blues jams drew the energy down a bit about halfway through, then again towards the end, but it did allow the crowd and band a well deserved breather, before ramping it up again.
Two hours is a long, long set these days and we definitely got our $15 worth of music from the Nudge last night.
The Nudge are a fresh form of innovative blues.
As a trio, they are all individually inspired by multi genres of music that help to form a complex sound often termed as psychedelic swampy blues with an element of party. The songs have been loosely based around singer Ryan Prebble's style of writing, but as a band they interweave their ideas to create a thick organic sound with unique forms due to their very different musical backgrounds. One thing that is however certain, this is music for the soul and the feet!