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Gig Review: The Church Tour @ Chapel of Christ The King, Hamilton - 22/09/16

03 Oct 2016 // A review by mciver29

As a 32 year old former Catholic the idea of going to a Church to see 4 artists that found recognition in the early 80's was a strange one, I had a few conflicting feelings but also knew that Churches quite often have fantastic acoustics and have often wondered about playing in grand cathedrals myself. I suppose my first feeling was a little disappointment when we arrived to the venue and it wasn't a cathedral, rather a large Church but still had the big pipe organs etc...and there was no wine on offer ;)

The line-up for the Church Tour is Hammond Gamble, Shona Laing, Debbie Harwood and Sharon O'Neill – all artists that any older Kiwi would be familiar with given they heard the hit singles: Melting Pot, Asian Paradise, Glad I'm Not A Kennedy, Maxine, 1905.

I enjoyed seeing all 4 artists collaborate on stage all lending their voices to each others songs and mixing the 2 sets up so each had their moment in the spotlight at various times throughout the evening. Though I was hoping for a full backline of drums, bass, guitars and keyboards we were met halfway with guitars and keyboards which at times left me feeling like the songs were a little bit empty though filled richly with vocal harmonies and Hammond's tasteful lead guitar playing.

As I write this just over a week after the concert what still stands out to me is Shona Laing's set, her well aged track 1905left a strong impression on me. Laing had a youthful, cheeky energy and her performances had a slight rawness that the 3 other performers seemed to lack but that's not take anything away from them.... Debbie and Sharon both sang beautifully and shared some stories behind their songs and, as mentioned, Gamble's playing and voice (though experiencing some technical problems) added a good balance of female/male vocals and energy to the stage.

I can't help but think that NZ over looked Shona Laing's music for a long time, she reminded me of someone that you could sit down with for a smoke and a jam while enjoying stories of the music scene that seemingly left NZ in the mid 90's. After the concert I felt inclined to hit up YouTube to educate myself more on Laing's music and the strength in her lyrics and delivery continue to hold up against today's “popular” artists.

Over all the evening was filled with classic New Zealand songs, a lot of fun between artists and all set in a beautiful location. As a songwriter it was a treat to see these songs performed live as they were on constant radio rotation as a child in the mid 80's, I would have loved to see a full backing band but understandably a stripped back set would suit Churches a little better.

The Church Tour is worth checking out and also worth supporting these 4 artists that have given us so many great songs to look back on and enjoy over the years!


Other Reviews By mciver29

Gig Review: Devilskin & Halestorm @ Great Lakes, Taupo - 8/01/17
10 Jan 2017 // by mciver29
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Andy Richards - Album Review: Shine On
05 Sep 2016 // by mciver29
Shine On is the second album release for Warkworth based singer/song writer Andy Richards and is testament to the NZ DIY ethic. Shine On was recorded over a year at a friend's home studio, free of stress and the pressures of working to a budget and time frame.
Rebel Sound Radio - Single Review: Liberation
09 Jun 2016 // by mciver29
Reviewing singles is often trickier than reviewing an EP or album as a body of work can help an overall sense of a band as opposed to just one song, in this case, it's the single Liberation by Hamilton based three-piece Rebel Sound Radio. This is all I have heard of the band, and as a first single it's on the right track, it has a hint of The Offspring in the frontman, Jessie Hanright's voice and a strong melodic hooky chorus.....
Mice on Stilts - Album Review: Hope For A Mourning
18 Apr 2016 // by mciver29
At first glance the name Mice On Stilts doesn't really give any indication of what the band might sound like - I hadn't heard the music before, but had seen the name a lot. To be completely honest, it wasn't until perhaps the third listen to their new album Hope For A Mourning that I started to connect with it, and started hearing the influences more clearly and somewhat understanding the intention.
Jason Kerrison - EP Review: JKEP2
02 Mar 2016 // by mciver29
The second part to Jason's E.P set is definitely a stronger musical offering than JKEP1 which I found to be a over produced somewhat shallow offering from an otherwise gifted singer/songwriter.
You Barbarians - EP Review: Helioshiva
21 Aug 2015 // by mciver29
I'm guessing Wellington alt rock band You Barbarians are a newish band on the Wellington scene though there is quite a mature sense to the song writing featured on their 5 track EP, Helioshiva.   The packaging of the EP is very cool and unique with almost a type of greeting card style to it, it looks good and made me want to check out the music and seeing where it was mixed (at STL studios, Wellington) definitely made for some strong appeal.
Seasons - Album Review: Patriarch
13 May 2015 // by mciver29
The first thing I noticed when I graced my eyes upon Patriarch, by Auckland progressive metal band Seasons, is the cover... and as much as they say “don't judge a book by its cover” I judged it right, I love the artwork and the music meets the mark.
Jason Kerrison - EP Review: #JKEP1
27 Mar 2015 // by mciver29
For those new to Jason Kerrison's music, he was also the frontman for platinum selling Kiwi pop/rock band OpShop. To be honest I didn't even know OpShop had disbanded, I wasn't a follower but they had some good catchy songs such as No Ordinary Thing and One Day, so naturally I had some preconceived ideas of what to expect when I came to do this review.
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