15 Dec 2018
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Cheshire Grimm - Gig Review: Cheshire Grimm @ REC, Auckland - 10/03/17

13 Mar 2017 // A review by Sarah Sampson

It was a night everyone had to battle the leave the house with thunder, lighting, flash flooding and torrential rain but the crowds still came out in force to experience four of New Zealand’s best and upcoming Rock n Roll bands: Brendan Thomas and the Vibes, Skinny Hobos, Bakers Eddy and Cheshire Grimm

I was also keen to check out the show to check out the newest venue in Auckland, Rec. My first impression of the venue the exposed wood and brick would give the music a nice ambience, the staff were friendly and the venue had a good number of bar tables, low tables and bar stools dotted around to accommodate a large number of people. What venue wouldn’t be complete without a pool table for a quick game between sets? I arrived early as I wanted to see if I could talk to any of the bands before the show about their recent Australian shows (for Skinny Hobos and Cheshire Grimm) and arrived in time for the end of the sound checks. Which I thought didn’t bode well for the rest of the show as the first band was due on in 10 mins and ended up starting 30 mins late due to technical difficulties with the venue (not the bands issue – I need to stress that). From my conversations with the bands there was some teething issues with the venue, which should iron out in the coming months, especially as it’s such a new venue. (We all live in hope as Auckland does need another venue!)

Hamilton hard Rockers Cheshire Grimm were up first. First slot is always a hard time to go, especially at a pub venue but they had a handful of people up and dancing by the middle of their first song. I stood back and took notes for the first song but couldn’t resist joining in by the start of the second song. One of the first notes I made about the show, and one that kept reoccurring over and over again with Cheshire Grimm and then later with Skinny Hobos and Brendon Thomas & The Vibes was that I couldn’t get over how big their sound was as these bands are 3 or 2 pieces but all of them have such full sounds that all of them sound like much bigger bands.

The second thing that struck me about Cheshire Grimm is their amazing use of vocals as another instrument. Too many bands today seem to have the vocals as a secondary element to the music, with guitar solos taking the place of true vocal talent. Cheshire Grimm’s perfect harmonies and spine tingling, soaring vocals made this trio into an act that transcended their small statures. Kat is one of the most talented female vocalists I’ve seen in many years. Lora’s guitar skills and her obvious enjoyment of the effects peddle complimented Kat’s vocal and bass skills perfectly. Lora’s use of the effects also helped add to the allusion of more members, or at least two guitarists.

Cheshire Grimm’s music takes you on a journey and it was quickly easy to forget how bad the weather was outside the venue. Each of their songs travel through so many genres of music and their mix of soul vocals with a Ska beat or Rock n Roll guitar rift blend together into an insane mix of sound that blends perfectly together and one could be forgiven, I think for referencing Mr. Bungle as a possible influence.

The second band to take to the stage is Bakers Eddy who hail from Wellington, and will be making the big move across the ditch very soon. I was very surprised to learn that this band has been performing together for seven years and both proud and disappointed they are disappearing so soon after I had just discovered them and wanted to hear more when I make the move south to Wellington in a few months’ time. Bakers Eddy was the largest band out of all of the bands that performed with 4 members. All of the members sang which led to amazing harmonies and rocking gang vocals. Bakers Eddy are a mix of high energy good time Rock n Roll, 90s grunge and old school reggae. By the time they had finished their first song they had the entire room moving and clapping along in time with the music. Bakers Eddy obviously love performing and you could feel the exchange of energy in the room with the crowd jumping and swaying along with the band and the crowd and bands faces were mirrored in giant grins. By the end of their set the crowd were chanting and singing along with the band in unison this is a performance I won’t be forgetting anytime soon I wish them all the best on their next adventure across the ditch!

Next up was Skinny Hobos turn to take to the stage. They started with crowd favourite Merchant of Tirau which set the tone for the rest of the set with the crowd again amassing up the front around the stage without any prompting from the band. I’m always surprised when I see Skinny Hobos because it’s easy to forget when listening to their recordings that they are only a two piece. The second sentence in my notes from the show is ‘I can never get enough of’ which is more than true. I have seen Skinny Hobos more times than I can count now and regardless of the size of the crowd they are playing too it is always the same high energy set. Alex makes for one hell of a front man using all the available space on the stage to dance, solo and shred. My favourite song that Skinny Hobos played was Queen St purely because of the enthusiastic over use of the cow bell starting the song. In my opinion there can never be enough cow bell! If you haven’t checked out the Skinny Hobos – then you must be living under a rock by now. DO IT!

Soon it was time for local headliners Brendon Thomas and the Vibes to take the stage. I’ve been lucky enough to have seen these guys many times since the first time I saw them and promptly booked them as one of the bands to play with Anvil at the Distorted 20 festival in 2014. Thinking back on the band that performed then, 3 years ago, it’s almost like they are different band now. They have the same high energy performance, but it’s more polished and their new songs they debuted on Friday show how much growth and experience they have gained in the years since I first saw them. Their sound has developed and grown and is in a way more ‘grown up’ their own sound is defined and uniquely theirs. 

They played a number of their new songs and my notes for their 5th song (Caterpillar Blues) simply stated ‘blew my mind.’ The other song that will likely always stick with me from their performance was their cover of Can I Kick It by A Tribe Called Quest. This was especially memorable because of the FLUTE SOLO! I have never seen a flute with a rock band before and this totally blew my mind a second time. 

Repeated over and over in my notes from the show is ‘too busy dancing (head banging, insert all other forms of movement here) to take more notes’ or ‘epic’. This was a very well thought out event with the perfect blend of bands each with their own unique sound, but each also complementing each other. If you haven’t seen any of these bands yet then you are missing out! Skinny Hobos and Cheshire Grimm are continuing their tour and still have one show to play in Hamilton this Friday at Nivara Lounge with Halcycon Birds as the support act. Be there if you can.

 

About Cheshire Grimm

Genre: Melancholic Wonder / Prog-Alt-Pop-Glitter
What do you see when you think of Cheshire Grimm?

The brainchild of Kat Waswo (vocals/bass) and Lora Thompson (guitar/vocals) has created a dark creature, twisting through the motions of light and dark, threading their bright colours into a warm blanket of melancholy.

Visit the muzic.net.nz Profile for Cheshire Grimm

Releases

Rain Or Shine
Year: 2017
Type: EP
Cheshire Grimm
Year: 2015
Type: EP

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