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  • Hollie Smith - Gig Review: Hollie Smith @ San Francisco Bathouse, Wellington - 8/04/16

Hollie Smith - Gig Review: Hollie Smith @ San Francisco Bathouse, Wellington - 8/04/16

20 Apr 2016 // A review by LilMizCharlie

I have often been in awe over Hollie Smith’s tracks. Her voice comes across as humble yet commanding and at those precious moments, heart-wrenching.  A bluesy soul fuelled feel I often dream of myself.  

So when I was asked able to review her show, I was over the moon. Somehow I felt like I had one the lottery. I had no idea what to expect and had no clue who may be there. All I knew by Friday night, was that her Album Water or Gold had hit #1 on the Official Charts and that was enough to make me think she was very loved.

Alae were supporting. I loved the flow of Alae, the sound aligned very much with what I would have expect to hear when supporting someone like Hollie.  

This is that moment where I feel like I sound precious... To read later, that these guys see themselves as Country Folk got me thinking, are they really? I’m not so sure about that to be honest. My first listen to their set and I instantly felt like they were Acoustic Popular Singer/Songwriters with a Soul edge, I never for a second connected they were Acoustic Country Folk. Not even with the harmonica as an addition later in the set.

Getting over myself though Alae aka Alex Farrell-Davey and Allister Meffan, nonetheless had the crowd including myself, beautifully captivated. Their harmonies are pure, they play with heart, the vocal soul is no doubt, with conviction. You could have heard a pin drop in Hallelujah. Just stunning.

It seemed like in a flash it was over, at a guess I would think the set was 30 mins.

Hollie’s team came on the groovy Marika Hodgson, commanding Darren Mathiassen & freaky awesome keys player Daniel Hayles. I knew already I was gonna love this line up. I nestled in with my ginger beer ready to be swept off my feet.

Hollie. I must confess, I didn’t know this vibrant vocalist played guitar and well! So when she walked up to the mic in her swaive tomboyish look doubling denim and proudly wearing her cap, I was already smitten. Her vocal sound is unique in NZ so I was looking forward to hearing her portrayal of her songs live. She aced everything she did and Hollie was a great front person. Hollie is funny and talks about what she knows. In her moments that it matters the most, she is completely captivating.  My favourite song has become a bluesy riffy charmer called Lead The Way, full of gutsy substance heavy, melodic, my kinda song.  

One thing that I couldn’t help but notice was that although Hollie and her band had the crowd engaged and swaying, there seemed to be this glass wall between the stage and the crowd that needed to be shattered. Even Hollie noticed it by her sensing that the crowd was really quiet at the start of the night. People around us seemed to bring it up too. But none the less Hollie and her team performed as professionally as I would have expected. If anything although I think San Fran has a fantastic setting, the venue didn’t feel quite right for this artist but allow me to try and explain myself. When I closed my eyes, it felt like we should have been wined and dined at a theatre show mostly because of the “feel” of music. It felt like people needed to be able to sit back with mulled wine, relax and soak in the moment of Hollie, cause for me, that’s a beautiful thing to feel.


About Hollie Smith

Hollie Smith is one of NZ's most predominant & celebrated New Zealand musicians. After working with numerous bands including TrinityRoots, Fat Freddy’s Drop and Detroit dance legend Recloose, she was approached by NZ royalty Don McGlashan to perform on a movie soundtrack single Bathe In The River that topped the NZ charts & became one of the biggest & iconic singles in NZ history.

This set the stage for her debut album Long Player which went straight to number one on the NZ charts, This multi platinum selling album had sold out national tours & saw her take away several NZ music awards which included ‘Best Producer’, ‘Best Female Solo Artist’ and ‘Breakthrough artist of the year’. Long Player also caught the attention of Bruce Lundvall, head of Blue Note records in New York, where she spent time working with Philidelphia heavyweight soul producer James Poyser. This also saw her tour Europe as part of the Blue Note Jazz Festival.

Her follow up album Humour and the Misfortune of Others also hit number one receiving rave review & again numerous award nominations & sell out tours, proving she was here to stay. During this time she also supported Bob Dylan, Coldplay and Simply Red in NZ.

Visit the muzic.net.nz Profile for Hollie Smith


Water Or Gold
Year: 2016
Type: Album
Buy Online @ Mightyape
Band Of Brothers Vol 1
Year: 2011
Type: Album
Long Player - Deluxe Edition
Year: 2008
Type: Album
Long Player
Year: 2007
Type: Album
Year: 2006
Type: EP

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