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Shihad - 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

Picture this… 1988, Bob Hawke is Prime Minister, Australia dumps $600 million bucks of tax payer cash on Expo 88, Home and Away hits our tellies for the first time, Triple J launch the Hottest 100, Nintendo release the Game Boy, free University education is no longer an option, and over in Wellington NZ, the Southernmost capital city in the world, Jon Toogood and Tom Larkin are busily creating a heavy rock band…. A monstrous band that would end up becoming one of New Zealand’s most loved, respected and successful exports… Kia ora Shihad!

Fast forward to 2020… Jon, Tom, lead guitarist Phil Knight (who they found through a music shop notice board ad in 1989) and bass player Karl Kippenberger, who joined the band in 1993, (from being a fan) have released nine studio albums (five of which went to #1 in NZ). They survived a name change propelled by Jihad becoming a staple negative reference in the global vernacular thanks to 9/11 (Shihad became Pacifier, and returned to Shihad), personal triumphs and tragedies, travelled all over the world with endless tours, selling out headline shows and sharing stages at major local and international festivals, and touring with musical heroes like Motorhead, Metallica, Faith No More and AC/DC to name a few! In 2010 they were inducted into the New Zealand Music’s Hall Of Fame. And just like Neil Finn, Russell Crowe and every other successful person or idea to come out of NZ… Australia quickly adopted them as our own, showering them with ARIA nominations, adoration and ownership of their global success.


Visit the muzic.net.nz Profile for Shihad

Releases

Old Gods
Year: 2021
Type: Album
FVEY
Year: 2014
Type: Album
Ignite
Year: 2010
Type: Album
Buy Online @ Mightyape
Beautiful Machine
Year: 2008
Type: Album
Buy Online @ Mightyape
Love Is The New Hate
Year: 2005
Type: Album
Buy Online @ Mightyape
Alive
Year: 2005
Type: EP
The General Electric
Year: 1999
Type: Album
Blue Light Disco
Year: 1998
Type: EP
B-Sides
Year: 1996
Type: Album
Shihad
Year: 1996
Type: Album
Killjoy
Year: 1995
Type: Album
Churn
Year: 1993
Type: Album
Devolve
Year: 1991
Type: EP

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