21 Mar 2018

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Gig Review: Shihad @ The Powerstation, Auckland - 1/5/2016

06 May 2016 // A review by Andrew Smit

Unlike the anxiety felt by a congregation waiting for the obligatory late bride, the crowd waiting for Shihad to arrive after a cancelled flight were merely suppressing the energy required to jump through a banging set of "real fucking drum and bass" (quote Jon Toogood). In what was supposed to be a 50 minute set on a Sunday night after two previous gigs earlier in Christchurch and Wellington, our four home-grown heroes ripped the snot out of the Mt Eden night to prove that the NZ music industry is still in good hands. Shihad still have 'it' and some bunch of metalheads from the UK with their own private 747 playing down at the Vector couldn't stop the hardcore fans packing into the Powerstation for a dose of uncompromising Kiwi rock.

Kicking off the show with Home Again, Jon goes straight up to the mic and yells “everybody fucking jump” which we all did of course, and then lights flooded the stage and we were impressed to see Jon and the band jumping about with amazing enthusiasm and vigour. After two songs Mr Toogood did admit, “we’re fucking knackered”, but said that the energy coming from the room was so powerful that we could spur them to be even better. Now we may have forgiven Jon if he turned up with a voice that's a bit hoarse and a body action that’s a bit slower than usual but this guy had more energy than anyone in the mosh pit collectively, and that voice maintained its full range for the whole show, which went for 90 minutes including an encore that was worth chanting for.

Jon worked his space well and even had the front rows wondering if he was going to launch himself off the stage for an epic crowd surf, not tonight. The ever-consummate professional wouldn't risk screwing up a chord for such a discerning crowd of Shihad purists, plus he was wearing a bloody nice pair of boots which he may not wanted to risk losing to boot.

I have no idea what size Tom Larkin's boot size is but his foot pedal was being smashed down rhythmically and exceedingly hard, you almost begun to question whether he could split the earth in half with each kick. The raw amplified drum sound was blasting away at my shirt and playing havoc with my heart rate, man he worked that kit so hard it must have been bolted down.

Karl Kippenberger is the only bass player I've ever seen smile through a sound wave so powerful that the fabric of time and space looks set to succumb while us mere mortals in the front of the stage look up in fear as his fingers become a blur over his four strings of death. Phil Knight laid down the fundamental chords with a calmness that reeked of accomplishment, then succumbed to the signature riffs and danced around the stage which had the Moshies bouncing and a throng of raised hands punching the air and waving eagerly for more.

In a set list that's only glaring omission was Pacifier, we rocked to the best and better of a round dozen of Shihad classics. Few bands can come back on stage for a multi song encore with anything as powerful as The General Electric which was sublime in its intensity. The whole level of energy and precision on display would have blown you away as a standalone gig, let alone the third of a jet setting 3 city set executed over 11 hours.

They gratefully accepted our applause and we all joined in the mandatory crowd selfie. We all went home very impressed and more than satisfied with the entertainment provided, I can’t wait to see them again and I am sure most felt that way too. Surprisingly the band fronted up at the end of a gig to shake hands and graciously have selfies taken with the fans, how genuine are they, from sublime rock performance to approachable heroes, the crowd applauds them for it, and they will time and again.

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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