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Gig Review: Up Your Alley Festival @ Ding Dong Lounge, Auckland 20/11/2014

04 Dec 2014 // A review by Andrew Smit

There may have been thousands of cheering so called music lovers at the Vodafone NZ Music Awards, but I was with 20 odd faithful rock lovers at the Ding Dong Lounge, where we experienced an expose of good hard progressive rock from four young bands at the Up Your Alley Festival.

The line-up of acts delivered well the promise of hard-core rock, it was like a relentless battle of distorted guitars and frenetic drumming with respite provided only by band changeovers and fire alarms evacuations. First up was Scared of Girls who played with a much harder edge than when I last saw them, they up’d the anti nicely to fit into the hard core rock the festival promoted. Gone was the surfy stomping pop rock, replaced with distorted guitars and fast rhythms, they sound good but lacked a little bravado, but with continued live gigs they should gain some more “stage” confidence and improve their overall presence.

Next was Skinny Hobos consisting of just 1 guitar and drums, but they had our ears filled with distorted guitar harmonics that defied the lack of bass or a second guitar. These Hobo’s have good chemistry and had fun as they talked, joked and interacted with the gathered faithful. Their sound was heavy with awesome bold slower intro sections that built and crashed into faster rock frenzies, at times the songs were a bit loose, but a casual grunge feel seemed the right fit at the time.

3rd up was Chuck Norris, a four piece who again provided moody preambles that broke into heavy full on rock with crashing cymbals and driving rhythms, they picked and plucked their guitars and provided great extended rock out sessions with drum rolls and booming blow outs. Almost orchestral at times they really filled their slot with dynamic songs full of drama and energy.

Last up was Bad State who were in a very good state, they have been busy gigging and progressing in bands comps around Auckland, and you could hear it, they were tight and fluid, they switched from song to song with no fuss, and didn’t need to be ear splittingly loud. Alex Glučina’s vocal was an impressive mix of vibrant velvet with breakout gothic death spells, and then there is Joseph Macedo’s dazzling lead guitar work, the only thing more active or impressive than his fingers was his growing and flowing hair! Their sound is full on rock guitars with crunching rhythm provided by Tom Hatton on bass and, Shannon Marr Paraha on drums. They have great original songs and they know how to fit a Beatles cover into the mix with suitably inserted profanity.

Well done to the Ding Dong Lounge for making this event happen, helping to support independent hard rock outfits by providing a cool inner city venue to showcase their wares to the faithful. A good night was had by all, if 50 more people were in attendance I am sure the night would have been even more memorable, but I was there and it has now been documented on the line.

 

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