Little Bushman and Electric Wire Hustle always manage to draw big crowds and when they decided to play together over two nights at Wellington’s San Francisco Bathhouse it was always going to be huge.
From what I’ve heard the Friday night was a pretty amazing affair, so I headed along to the Saturday show with some pretty big expectations.
Kicking off after the All Blacks game finished, Little Bushman already had the bar packed out before playing a note. You can put part of that down to Warren Maxwell, of Trinity Roots, being involved; anytime he plays in Wellington seems to do well. But at the same time Little Bushman have been around long enough now to have built their own following and there were a lot of loyal fans dancing in front of the stage.
I’ve seen Little Bushman a few times now and I’d have to say that last night they were in the best form yet. Their style of bluesy psychedelic rock isn’t an original sound, but the key to their appeal is in the delivery. Warren is an earnest frontman for the band and gives his everything into each song, which in turn leads to a genuine connection with the audience.
Of course, the band is more than just Warren Maxwell and the rest of the band played exceptionally well last night, in particular drummer Rick Cranson who treated us to an outstanding drum solo, which was to be the first of many for the night.
The standout moment came when Little Bushman performed an electrifying version of Big Man from their third album Te Oranga, their response to the Tuhoe terror raids last year.
Shortly after midnight Electric Wire Hustle made their way to the stage and the crowd seemed to swell. For almost two hours this three piece had the crowd moving relentlessly with their blend of funk and electronica.
While all three are talented musicians and performers, it was drummer Myele Manzanza, who also performs with Olmecha Supreme, who stole the show. Watching him drum is always jaw-dropping and I’ve never seen him give a bad performance. Despite seeming to have a constant scowl on his face he clearly loves what he’s doing and is innovative in his approach to drumming, showcasing his jazz leanings in his fills and solos, of which there were plenty throughout the set.
Mara TK’s bass grooves kept the music from descending into a drum fest and added the funk element that kept the crowd moving for the whole set.
This was the first time both bands had performed in New Zealand since April; Little Bushman have played a few shows in Australia since then and Electric Wire Hustle spend most of our winter playing throughout Europe. It was great to see both of them back in Wellington, and a real privilege to have both perform for us on the same night.
“A great blend of forward thinking hip hop, jazz and soul.”
Wajeed (Platinum Pied Pipers, Bling47, Ubiquity)
“I’m picking (Electric Wire Hustle) over the course of next year to be one of the biggest success stories coming out of New Zealand…it is one of the best local albums I’ve heard in a while, it is really really amazing.” Nick Dwyer, Sunrise, TV3 NZ, Sept’ 09.