29 Jul 2021
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Gig Review: Music is Dead @ The Kings Arms, Auckland 15/01/2015

23 Jan 2015 // A review by Andrew Smit

The resplendent Kings Arms hosted the Music is Dead rock festival, a two night event with $4 of every ticket going to charity. A good crowd for a Thursday night filed in to take in the first show with four hot rock bands on the bill. Staged by Seb Mackay, who with help from Halogen Audio, organised a set of QSC speaker stacks to provide extra oomph to the existing sound system and it did provide a tremendous amount of extra kick, but most impressively was the high quality of sound it delivered, the best I have heard at the Arms or any live gig in a long time.

First up, Braves hit the stage and pounded out their progressive thrashing rock numbers with vigour and startling clarity, a potent blend of punk with a little pop! While some light hearted humour didn’t quite have us in raptures it did lift the vibe and made the audience feel like they’re at a private party. Nico Batenburg's vibrant vocals was powerfully delivered as he jumped around with two distorted guitars twisting around solid drums and bass. The four guys up front may have been in matching grey shirts but they were not a synchronised pop dance boy band, oh no, they were punk rockers but with nice harmonies and friendly attitudes. In true punk style the guitarists, Danny Fanny and Michael Smith, generally kept their back to us except for when providing some great harmonic backing vocals. Overall the guys showcased their hot originals which all sounded strong and impressive. The drumming from Keiran Walsh was solid throughout and was in fine sync with bass man David Newman, who we were informed was leaving the band, hopefully the guys have found a replacement as good bass men are a rare breed indeed.

Thin White Lines kicked off with their super rhythmic blues funk rock mashup that grabbed you by the throat and the pants, their high energy upbeat songs are very driving and attention grabbing. Most tracks had great funked up rhythmic sections and tempo changes that kept you interested and wanting to dance. Lead vox from Alex Ward was cool and dynamic throughout, they did an impressive slower rock number, a smooth bluesy ballad that built with energy and feeling very nicely. I have seen these guys perform before and tonight they showed they are improving with each show in spades, they are a tight unit and have formulated a high energy sound that will continue to win them new fans like me.

Silence The City performed their high energy rock in relentless style, this was chunky hard rock with Justin Pitt up front supplying punk energy with a strikingly melodic vocal. Great songs were continuously peeled off, each with a stirring rock strength, their rocked up version of Ellie Goulding’s Burn hit a unique spot, with Justin not holding back on the high vocal sections before the chorus. They enjoyed their work and never took the pedal off from delivering driving powerful energetic rock numbers. Silence The City are a tremendous group to look out for.

Ekko Park slotted in to fine form, with Joe Walsh looking and sounding in good shape, the band sounded fresh and in fine rhythmic sync. An awesome light show was provided that helped create a blistering atmosphere that felt incredible. The band clearly know and enjoy their songs and it was with a familiarity and ease that they delivered their upbeat sound to the night. They put to great use Seb’s great speaker stack with dynamic songs full of melody and feeling, with softer blues numbers like Simpatico punctuating the more heavy songs beautifully. We were able to jointly celebrate when Joe announced with his lovely Irish accent that he will receive on the 20th of Jan a prized NZ passport!

Their cracking rock song My Crime sounded fantastic and reminded us why they were in the running for Rock Album of the year. Joel Halstead provided magnificent guitar work throughout the show and was moving confidently around the stage with his sweet black Gibson in tow. The machine room was a very sturdy ship with Callum Tong on Bass and Nick Douch on Drums consistently providing sweet fat rhythm throughout the show. A new song Evolution Revolution was performed for the second time ever and it was full of lovely harmonies and melody that built nicely with strong rhythm and power. A cover of Bowie’s Suffragette City was superbly performed and acknowledged by the rock devotees who had moved up close and personal to the stage.

Everyone enjoyed the whole evening, an expertly arranged event with four hot bands let loose on a big stage with an awesome sound system and dynamic lightshow! It was a sustained assault on the senses and it made you feel alive, who said music is dead?

 

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