18 Jun 2019
UsernamePassword

Remember Me? | Join | Recover
Click here to sign in via social networking
  • Articles »
  • Reviews »
  • Apollo SteamTrain - Gig Review: Apollo SteamTrain @ Ding Dong Lounge, Auckland 24/03/2018

Apollo SteamTrain - Gig Review: Apollo SteamTrain @ Ding Dong Lounge, Auckland 24/03/2018

30 Mar 2018 // A review by butch181

Apollo SteamTrain were coming from Tauranga for their first Auckland show (headlining, nonetheless), and the Auckland weather gods decided to do what it always does and give us a lot of rain throughout the day and into the evening. As the season moves further and further away from summer, the rain is icy cold, but it doesn’t stop Aucklanders from getting out on the town. The Ding Dong Lounge was quiet for a Saturday night, with many of their usual clientele at the fetish and taboo show down the road.

That didn’t stop the upstairs bar from gaining a good crowd, however, as the first of three bands on the bill got up on stage to perform. Subscond, are a six-piece rock band from Hamilton, apparently comprised of 4 astrophysicists, a retail worker, and whatever it is their new vocalist's occupation happens to be. Starting their set with Condescension, their sound comes off like a lackadaisical version of the Offspring, with good vibes, if not the cleanest performance. Not happy with their playthrough of the track, vocalist Marcos laughed off the first song as a “soundcheck”, and they carried on with Blew You Away

The band start off very static, with Marcos unsure what to do with himself on stage when he sings, and bassist Logan hoping his light up kilt distracts from the angry expression he has for the majority of his performance. Jim on the drums and Vishal on lead guitar looks most at home on stage, all smiles and really getting into their performances, Vishal trying his best to add his own backing vocals without a mic. Sound for the night wasn’t ideal, with vocals greatly overshadowed by the instruments, and consistent issues with the kick-drum mic. With constant technical issues, and accidentally switching on effects pedals, Subscond had more than their fair share of standing around waiting to perform, which led to awkward silences, and an off-colour joke from the bassist highlighting the bands need to work on their banter. 

They did in fact play through Condescension again, and it was a vast improvement on their first playthrough, the band more than warmed up by this point, becoming less static, and relaxing as the crowd cheers them on. Performing Macho, they got ex-frontman and current rhythm guitarist, Nash, back on the main vocals for the track, which had a good sound, along the lines of Franz Ferdinand’s Take Me Out. Despite the technical difficulties, they were allowed to finish their set in full, Vishal was the standout member of the band, showcasing great balance in his solos, choosing styles and speeds that fitted well with the style of the songs. Marcos has a bit of work to do with his vocals, struggling to hit some notes when not forcefully projecting at the edges of his range, but there is definitely a lot of potential.

Second up for the night was Auckland punk/folk band Ocean Beach. The three-piece are instantly beset with technical issues of their own, not just the malfunctioning kick mic, but also a cable or amp that is letting out a hell of a crackle, but that issue soon abates and they get to it. First things first though, and singer/guitarist Gary Dalhousie calls out Subscond’s bassist on his off-colour joke and reiterates that “it’s not okay”. Respect +1, for these guys. 

Their sound comes across almost post-rock in style, with great instrumental sounds. In fact, many of their songs have either minimal or no vocals at all, instead, letting the variable guitar effects pedals do the talking instead. Watching them live, they almost come across as shoegazers with such focus on the effects changes, but the changeover between effects is still a little obvious, and they could work on a smoother transition. In general, their songs were very enjoyable to listen to, crescending and undulating with rhythm, they varied enough to keep the interest, and the tracks could have easily gone on a few minutes longer without a complaint; they left the audience wanting more. Each track does feel to have their own independent influences, some channelling the styles of Tadpole’s Condition Chronic, other influences to the likes of David Bowie’s Heroes, and Pluto’s Long White Cross

Criticism’s where due, Dalhousie’s strength’s in vocal lies with his singing voice, not so much the lower “talking” style, and he will do well to either capitalise on his great singing style. Troy Stanton-Kerr did well on the drums, switching sticks when needed to provide the exact sound needed for each track, and was consistent with his performance. With only 302 followers on their Facebook page, Ocean Beach are an underrated band, that are due to a following if they get some releases going.

Allowing both of their opening acts to have 45-50 minute sets, it was near 11:15pm before headliners Apollo SteamTrain had it to the stage, and what a stark contrast it was compared to when they performed at the Tauranga Totara Street Rockfest last year. Despite driving up from Tauranga earlier that day and having to battle through Auckland traffic, in rainy weather, before an Ed Sheeran concert, through roadworks on the motorway, Apollo SteamTrain were energetic and lively and looked genuinely excited to play their first show in Auckland as a foursome. As has been the theme of the night, the set was plagued with some equipment issues, with a crackling amp that was struggling with its role for the night.

With the switch to a foursome, Les Robinson has been changed to guitarist and backing vocalist to make room for James Bos on the drums. The switch has allowed frontman Brendan McCarthy to focus more on his vocals without the responsibility of being the only guitar. With the back-up from Robinson, McCarthy is livelier on stage and is able to move a lot more, providing a better performance. Ian Clark has always been a powerhouse on bass, and nothing has changed here, providing some backing vocals, and looking the part on stage. Bos is impressive with his stint on the drums, performing his set without any issues, and taking on any fills that were put in place with ease. He looks like he has cemented his place in the band (as per his request, I rate Bos 10/10 Les Robinsons). The extra guitar does add that extra layer and breadth to the music, fleshing out their sound, but McCarthy still has a lot to do himself, it would be good to see him be able to shed even more of that on to Robinson in the future.

Apollo SteamTrain have a great sound, with the extra guitar, they have the vibe of a combination of the Eagles and Crowded House; peaceful pop rock with light intricacy when called for. Bringing out the acoustic guitar for extra effect, the atmosphere was soured by the return of the crackling amp before guitar cut out entirely, and McCarthy had to carry on with just vocals for the remainder of the track. Performing their latest single Brain Bell Jangler, it looked like they were on form for a short set, and much of the crowd began to file out during their big track, but the set was not over. They continued on for two more tracks, finishing on a brilliant cover of Stereophonics Dakota. A fun night with a great mix of pop and post-rock. Just a pity that Ding Dong was plagued by so many technical issues. A great night for techs and roadies to gain experience dealing with live equipment failures, but a detriment to the bands on stage.


Review written by Alex Moulton

 

About Apollo SteamTrain

Apollo SteamTrain are a four-piece juggernaut of a band with their roots planted firmly in the British rock scene.

Featuring Les Robinson, formerly of Taranaki legends The Nod on guitar, the well traveled Ian Clark on bass, alongside James Bos on drums, formerly of Nine Mile Stone in the engine room, the rhythm section delivers a powerful platform from which singer/guitarist Brendan McCarthy then builds his hook infused rock ‘n’ roll tales.

Apollo SteamTrain have toured extensively around the Shaky Isles from their base in Tauranga and have a deal in place with Songbroker which has seen their tracks synced on several high profile TV shows including Shortland Street and Filthy Rich.

Visit the muzic.net.nz Profile for Apollo SteamTrain

Releases

There are no releases to display for Apollo SteamTrain.

Other Reviews By butch181

Gig Review: Sevendust w/ City of Souls @ Powerstation, Auckland - 23/04/2019
24 Apr 2019 // by butch181
A decidedly reserved Tuesday night in Auckland and people were quietly piling into the Powerstation and grabbing some drinks at the bar. The upper balcony area was closed, so the fans were amassing downstairs around the inner perimeter of the venue.
Read More...
Sonic Altar - Album Review: Under A Dying Sun
27 Mar 2019 // by butch181
In this digital age, it’s not often that you get a full length record anymore. Everything is short and sweet just to get content out there before fans forget your band even exists.
Read More...
Levi Sesega - Single Review: Mirror Man
17 Mar 2019 // by butch181
Levi is a musical amalgamation that would in most cases be categorised as folk, thanks to the groups' uncommon mix of instruments consisting of a saxophone, cello, and cajón, and a lack of a drum kit or electric instruments. That being said, Mirror Man has something unique.
Read More...
The Gemini Effect - Single Review: Little Mouse
17 Mar 2019 // by butch181
Little Mouse is the first single from Bad Alien, the upcoming sophomore album of three-piece alt-rock act The Gemini Effect. With some nice consistent snare work, the track jumps right off the bat with a great organic sense of rhythm that has you bobbing your head and tapping your foot along with the beat, accentuated by some gritty power chords.
Read More...
Mermaidens - Single Review: You Maintain The Stain
17 Mar 2019 // by butch181
The latest release from Wellington trio Mermaidens is a straight up middle finger to the powers that control the world and throws away the mainstream formula of verse/chorus patterns, instead, forming a self-righteous maelstrom of sonic environments.  With no warning given, You Maintain The Stain gets straight into cold, apathetic vocals alongside a pluggy bassline, until the guitar jumps in with an uncomfortable level of discord that sows the seeds of uneasiness in the pit of your stomach as if every instrument is performing a different song.
Read More...
Paper Cranes - Album Review: Voices
19 Dec 2018 // by butch181
Due for release January 18, 2019, Voices is the second full-length album from Indie Folk duo Paper Cranes. While comprised of ten tracks, the album has a short overall runtime of just over 35 minutes.
Read More...
This Pale Fire - Single Review: Float Out
17 Dec 2018 // by butch181
Float Out is about the process of letting things go, moving forward, learning from your past experiences, growing as a result. As such, the track has an intrinsically emotional weight to it.
Read More...
EP Review: Miller Yule Live
17 Dec 2018 // by butch181
Miller Yule Live is a good length EP, consisting of seven tracks with a total runtime of over 30 minutes. Performing a setlist that is mostly sourced from his 2016 EP Shoot Me In The Heart (reviewed here), Miller Yule has also added in his single Diamonds (released in November 2017 and reviewed here), a stripped down adaptation of Six60's Don't Give It Up, and a new track to spice it up further.
Read More...
View All Articles By butch181

NZ Top 10 Singles

  • OLD TOWN ROAD (REMIX)
    Lil Nas X feat. Billy Ray Cyrus
  • I DON'T CARE
    Ed Sheeran And Justin Bieber
  • BAD GUY
    Billie Eilish
  • SOMEONE YOU LOVED
    Lewis Capaldi
  • TRUTH HURTS
    Lizzo
  • CROSS ME
    Ed Sheeran feat. Chance The Rapper And PnB Rock
  • IF I CAN'T HAVE YOU
    Shawn Mendes
  • THE LONDON
    Young Thug feat. J. Cole And Travis Scott
  • TALK
    Khalid And Disclosure
  • 3 NIGHTS
    Dominic Fike
View the Full NZ Top 40...
muzic.net.nz Logo
100% New Zealand Music
All content on this website is copyright to muzic.net.nz and other respective rights holders. Redistribution of any material presented here without permission is prohibited.
Report a ProblemReport A Problem