26 May 2018
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Gig Review: Tom Cunliffe @ Pah Homestead, Auckland - 15/04/2018

28 Apr 2018 // A review by butch181
Off from Auckland’s Hillsborough Road, if you can find the sign for Delargey Ave within the trees that line the roadway, you may come across the Pah Homestead. A historic home that houses the James Wallace Art Trust’s collection of New Zealand Art, and on Sundays is also the home of a mini-concert series. On this calm evening, we are treated to a simple act. No opening bands, no house music, and an early start time of 5:30pm

Tom Cunliffe headed into the observatory, to announce himself and his band, and the vibe was somewhat peculiar. This didn't feel like a concert at all; it felt like an intimate music recital in front of family and friends. The vibe of the show was throwing me back a decade to my nervous piano recitals when I was younger.

Breaking straight into new material from the album he just released Template for Love, they started their set with Burning Blood and Primrose Hill, the latter song written about a time when he wandered through London, jetlagged, and came across the hill, observing the couples still lying under blankets drinking wine from the previous evening. Instrumentally, the folk music created a very smooth sound that combined with Cunliffe's velvety vocals, made a very relaxing performance.

Playing through a simple PA system, the vocals did come across a little muddy and lacked the clarity to really get the full folk experience if all of the lyrics were discernible, but it was an enjoyable evening. Cunliffe played a mixed set list, focusing on the new material originally, and then sent the band away, while he performed a selection of tracks (including Just Kids) from his debut album, Howl and Whisper. Cunliffe really came into his own on the material that he performed solo, and it really begs the question whether he should continue forward with the band or revert back to a more individualistic folk style. 

The highlight song of the night came in the form of I've Been Bitten by An Old White Man, which had a very preppy pace to it, and had great rhythm, which was exacerbated by his own bobbing up and down during the chorus (much to the delight of the young children present who bobbed along). The song itself plays off how "zombie viruses" are spread and pokes fun of the older generation millennial battle that seems to be plastered all over media at present. An easy-going night for all.


Review written by Alex Moulton
Photo courtesy of Alex Moulton

About Tom Cunliffe

In short: Music for midnight drunks and the brokenhearted.

Longer: In 2011 Tom Cunliffe released a collection of early songs called Red Leather Blues, written in the dark, recorded in a corner of his bedroom and sent out into the world with all the confidence of a bemused baby ferret venturing out of his hole for the first time.

It wasn’t long after that he started to take things a little more seriously and since moving from Wellington up to Auckland, managed to share the stage with the likes of Wagons, Hopetoun Brown, Will Wood, Bernie Griffen, Skyscraper Stan and Holly Arrowsmith.

Visit the muzic.net.nz Profile for Tom Cunliffe

Releases

Template For Love
Year: 2018
Type: Album

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