20 Jun 2018

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  • Gig Review: Shihad, The Datsuns, I Am Giant & Cairo Knife Fight @ Matakana Country Park 3/1/2015

Gig Review: Shihad, The Datsuns, I Am Giant & Cairo Knife Fight @ Matakana Country Park 3/1/2015

16 Jan 2015 // A review by Andrew Smit

On a sparkling day a faithful rock crowd flowed into the picturesque Matakana Country Park and they were ready to rock, the sun was shining and the air was clear, perfect for an outdoor rock event and so at 5.45pm it was a delight to hear the silence broken by a guitar throbbing its distorted beauty - I think it was a just a little sound check but it got our attention, and thus began our very cool warm up as manifested by Cairo Knife Fight. A very entertaining crew of two, with very crunchy guitar paired with solid hypnotic drum rhythms. Drummer and vocalist Nick Gaffaney also managed to provide bass from a piece of equipment next to him and at one stage the duo managed to get their instruments to play themselves, they were able to walk away while a psychedelic sampled loop took over, enthralling the crowd and had us inquisitively waiting to see how it would all end, which it did with a good old thrashing and grinding which we all loved.

I have to say how well staged and organised the event was, plenty of staff servicing the bars and food areas, there were no queues at the bar or the ATM’s or even the surprisingly clean Portaloos, so well done to the organisers.

The vibe went up a gear when I Am Giant began their set, with new vocalist Ryan Redman energetically jumping around the stage under the bright summer sun. Ryan apologised about his voice being a bit hoarse, but for the most part he sounded fine, it was a bit noticeable on the higher parts of their hit Transmission but everyone just enjoyed hearing all their great songs performed live and loud and cheered their appreciation wholeheartedly. The band sounded in perfect sync with a mega powerful bass and guitar sound swathed around steadfast drumming. Ryan claimed it was his first trip to NZ and understandably was thrilled with the place and beamed about how good the tour was, you think… we were so jealous, every rock wanna be would die to tour NZ in summer with the likes of The Datsuns and Shihad as your drinking buddies!

Next up was The Datsuns who engaged with the crowd and enthralled us with their enduring classic rock vibe, with the sun slowly setting behind the stage the now very eager mosh pit could enjoy the cool shadow spilling off the stage. Lead man Dolf de Borst had control of the mob who complied gratuitously when requested to crouch down and then stay down until the band got loud, upon which we were told to “lose your shit”, which was more than enough incentive for the pack to jump and flail about in a mindless rhythmic move (when said band did get loud). It sounds like the guys are going on an extended break, hopefully we see them back soon, for they are a very popular live act who impressed everyone with their performance tonight.

But now it's 9pm and it's finally getting dark, we all are eager to experience Shihad, many are seeing them for the first time, and would no doubt have heard that these guys are a formidable force live, so the excitement and expectation levels are high. When the band hit the stage the pack moved in closer and boom we’re straight into Think You’re So Free and it sounds awesome, the grunge of the guitar and Jon Toogood's vox are better than the recording, so powerful and yet so crisp. Like a machine Shihad have just clicked into gear, it was expected but not taken for granted, everyone respects that to show up and perform continuously at this high standard, requires a profound amount of talent coupled with a colossal positive attitude which Shihad have in buckets. Jon talked about how we should all try and be honest with each other, and how they were sick of people lying to them, someone recently must have done a number on them as he reiterated it later in the show. Shihad’s pure form of rock was engrossing and relentless, this is what the punters have paid for, to be taken away from the normality of life and just get lost in the world conjured up by the sound and rhythm of heavy rock! The mosh pit grew sweatier as the night progressed but never did it waiver in its quest to flatten the grass and reach for the skies in a bounding mass of ephemeral rock disciples. Tom Larkin on drums was a mechanised human pace maker that never missed a perfect beat, and thus Karl Kippenberger’s powerful bass and Phil Knight's soaring guitar could grind in sublime sync with absolute confidence, and they did. Jon’s vocals were perfect throughout, he played his guitar and sang with a strength and energy that belied the fact they had done 7 gigs in the last 8 days. They made us feel like a fraternity of fans, and appropriately ended the set with the Coming Home. We wanted more, after all it was only 10.30? but we made our way out in an orderly fashion feeling satisfied and fulfilled in spades.

About Shihad

In 1993 four young long-haired lads walked into a brand new studio in Auckland to record their first album.

The band was Shihad, the album was their boundary-pushing debut, Churn, the producer was Jaz Coleman, and the studio was York Street in Parnell.

Churn was the first album to be recorded at the iconic studios, and since then many great records have been cut there. So it was only fitting that almost 21 years later Shihad were reunited with Coleman to record the last ever album at York Street.

Visit the muzic.net.nz Profile for Shihad


Year: 2014
Type: Album
Year: 2010
Type: Album
Beautiful Machine
Year: 2008
Type: Album
Love Is The New Hate
Year: 2005
Type: Album
Year: 2005
Type: EP
The General Electric
Year: 1999
Type: Album
Blue Light Disco
Year: 1998
Type: EP
Year: 1996
Type: Album
Year: 1996
Type: Album
Year: 1995
Type: Album
Year: 1993
Type: Album
Year: 1991
Type: EP

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