Medusa in Wellington has a bit of a reputation for putting on interesting nights and Friday was no exception. Kicking off the night was local band Spook The Horses, whose album Brighter was one of my favourite New Zealand releases of the past year. These heavy hitters don't seem to play much, but when they do it's always high energy and intense. Despite some technical issues hampering their set, they played well and impressed the full house. If you're from Welly then they are definitely worth catching next time they play.
Having Auckland band Cobra Khan on the bill next was a real treat. They rock a fast punk-influenced metal style, and with keyboards heavily in the mix at times reminded me of early Killing Joke. They're also incredibly loud, with several people commenting on the level of noise this five piece was throwing out. This was my first time experiencing the band and I'm hoping it won't be the last. They've got an impressive sound and some great tunes, that while heavy, lend themselves to dancing. If you can't get out to see them, try their new album Helgorithms, which is getting rave reviews from everyone who's heard it.
Former Wellingtonians, and current Melbournians, Gatherer headlined as part of their album release tour. Some in the crowd might have recognised the band, as they last played here as This City Sunrise before making the move to Australia. With that move came a name change and a sonic move too. Gatherer are less heavy, far poppier and use a lot more vocal harmony that This City Sunrise.
What hasn't changed is the level of musicianship they display.This was my second time seeing the band during this tour and both times I was blown away by their sound, their songs and their energy on stage.
They definitely seem to enjoy what they do and give it their all. The crowd had thinned out by the time they started (about 12.30, with the band commenting that they'd forgotten how late gigs started in Wellington, and how great it was that people were prepared to stay out until 1.30 to see a band). This seemed to be just fine with everyone who stayed because it left more room to move when the band started up. And the music definitely inspired people to get moving.
A couple of newer tracks were tried out but for the most part we got to hear a lot of tunes from the album (So Be It). The album has been on pretty high repeat for me for the last couple of weeks, so it was good to hear some now familiar songs played live, and played well at that.
The move to Melbourne seems to have worked well for Gatherer, with a lot of support from other bands, and numerous support slots with touring acts. Hopefully that support translates into a long career, because it'd be great to see them back here again in the future.
The first track from their soon to be release debut full length album called SO BE IT, Regular Frontier establishes the Gatherer proclamation in honest clarity: growing up is a bit shit. Relocations are never easy, especially with a body of water separating the comforts of their home town Wellington, New Zealand to the reality of independence and opportunity offered in Melbourne, Australia. It was never going to be a relaxed transition, but it was imperative for the band to move into their next phase of existence.
On SO BE IT, Gatherer has drawn on a combination of life experiences and influences, cohesively blending the pop sensibilities of Nine Inch Nails, the genuine melodic rock of Cave-In and a hint of Converge/Isis inspired heaviness with the vocal rhythms and melody of Queen and Tears For Fears.
A wall of syncopated sound, coupled with strikingly unconventional rhythm, dynamics and harmonies take the Gatherer sound to a complete original aural spectrum. This, along with an honest approach to lyrical content, completes the Gatherer package.