19 Dec 2018

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Gig Review: Paul Kelly @ The Civic, Auckland - 1/12/2017

12 Dec 2017 // A review by Andrew Smit

I last saw Paul Kelly in 1987 at the Dee Why Hotel and was eager to hear him again 30 years later, I was confident he would sound awesome, as he is a proven song writer and musician who has not stopped performing and creating beautiful music since 1978, in a stellar career that continues to impress both at home in Australia and abroad.

Mr Kelly simply strode to the large stage and started playing his guitar and sang some new songs from his 21st album Life is Fine, they were 3 new songs that are wonderfully fresh, but still typically Kelly songs with his customary sweet melody flowing under his distinctive lyrical comments on life. His voice has not changed, and he proved he still has a surprising range and melodic ability.

After the small solo set his band joined him, bass, keys, drums and electric guitar, and two backing singers, stating that he would indeed be doing songs from the late 20th century and together they brought Kelly’s songs to life. It was beautiful, and it felt so warm and uplifting, the sound was truly exquisite music that you know you only get when you’re hearing it live. We were all lifted when he boomed into the song that first got me hooked back in 86’ with Before Too Long and boy it sounded good, just like they had written it yesterday.

The beautiful harmonies that are littered throughout Paul's songs were gloriously enhanced by the Bull sisters; Vika and Linda, who are stunning singers in their own right, and thankfully they both had cameo moments and solo songs that were a wonderful treat to the senses, their range and clarity was a superb sound to experience, and they were well acknowledged by the loud and enthusiastic audience applause.

Paul's story telling was not only prevalent in the songs lyrical content, with Paul also adding background information to some of the songs subject matter giving them extra meaning and resonance, like the fishermen who continued fishing after finding a dead body in So Much Water So Close To Home or the unexplained jailing of Ned Kelly’s Mother in Our Sunshine.

Many old classics were played, To Her Door, Careless, Look So Fine, Darling It Hurts and Dumb Things, all were songs that I knew well, and so did the capacity crowd judging by the amount of people singing along. Kelly and the band looked genuinely impressed to be playing at the Civic, with Paul commenting that it’s great to play our last night of the tour in such a beautiful venue. With 3 encores they really did put on a show, they mixed it up with country, folk, rock, a spine tingling accapela song and even a Shakespearean Sonnet!

Earlier we were warmed up a treat by The Eastern, a folk-rock ensemble from Christchurch with the gregarious lead vocalist Adam McGrath leading the way, he looked and sounded a bit like Joe Cocker, mixed with a bit of Bob Segar and Bruce Springsteen. With a whoop and holler they ripped into their music and the audience were hooked and soon we were clapping along happily. Adam enthusiastically declared “You can take the band out of the bar…” and then set about getting the crowd to learn some lyrics and sing along, which we all did wholeheartedly.

A wonderful night of music with genuine admiration from both sides of the stage, to have some bands plug and play at what is normally set up for major theatrical productions was very cool to see, and it suited the Civic very well, hopefully we will see more bands plying their wares at the Civic in the future.

Review written by Andrew Smit


Other Reviews By Andrew Smit

fleaBITE - Album Review: Bite Me
04 Dec 2018 // by Andrew Smit
Finally, there is a children’s album that you can chomp into with glee, fleaBITE are the band and Bite Me is the album, and it's full of surprises, where every song is like a bursting musical festival. As a father of two young ones I have had many hours listening to albums full of standard nursery rhyming fair that after a couple of repeats would start to affect your sanity.
Chris William - EP Review: Out of Sight
18 Sep 2018 // by Andrew Smit
Out of Sight is an EP with 10 very easy on the ear compositions, with gentle serenading tunes, accompanied by Chris William's velvet vocals that glide on deft orchestral arrangements. You're struck by the clear and crisp tones of the instrumentation, there is piano, a cello, lots of orchestral keys, and they are all compelled forward nicely with modern beats.
Vallé - Single Review: Love Me
17 Aug 2018 // by Andrew Smit
After a short and dreamy musical intro, the rap begins and it’s an assured and clear rap, and Vallé's Love Me sounds sublime. The classic syncopation of rhythm and rhyme is performed with a cool style, but it's also intense and stirring.
Scott MCB - Single/Video Review: In Your Mind
26 Jun 2018 // by Andrew Smit
A tenderly plucked guitar leads to some nice rhythmic strums, which is then united with a suitably soothing vocal, it’s a nice start that presents well the songs musical quality. In your Mind is a beautiful sounding song that also delivers a clear message, a message that many will find heartening to see presented as it is in the music video.
Gig Review: Skinny Hobos @ Galatos, Auckland - 25/05/2018
12 Jun 2018 // by Andrew Smit
On a cool and wet Auckland night, many faithful rock devotees arrived to experience and enjoy a night of mostly Auckland-made Rock at the inner-city hall that is Galatos. Bam!
Shady Brain Farm - Album Review: 19 Years In The Same House
05 Jun 2018 // by Andrew Smit
A most wonderful album full of songs laden with a unique and funky mix of rock and blues. Opening with a most funky bass line, Get Up Get Down pumps up the vibe and demands that you do indeed get up and get down, such is the energy and feeling it generates.
Lucifer Gunne - Single Review: HRM
22 May 2018 // by Andrew Smit
Wellington based 4-piece rock act Lucifer Gunne, fronted by singer/guitarist/songwriter Rory McDonald, have produced a cool track that stands out as something different that's engaging and passionate. This new single HRM is a wonderful mix of bubbly funk rock that is striking and compelling.
Gig Review: Royal Blood @ Logan Campbell Centre - 01/05/2018
03 May 2018 // by Andrew Smit
The Logan Campbell Centre has seen many years of great rock acts like Nirvana and Metallica and tonight the well-worn 70's decor was rocked by Royal Blood's first headline shows in New Zealand. Dead Favours were up first to warm the crowd, which was pretty much at capacity, this four-piece Auckland band have impressed and progressed steadily over the last two years since I saw them at their debut gig back in May 2016.
View All Articles By Andrew Smit

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