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  • Carb On Carb - Gig Review: Carb On Carb @ Portland Public House, Auckland - 18/05/2018

Carb On Carb - Gig Review: Carb On Carb @ Portland Public House, Auckland - 18/05/2018

28 May 2018 // A review by butch181

The Portland Public House is an interesting choice in venue for me. This is one of the latest start times for a show I’ve reviewed (with the first of the opening acts not starting until 10pm) and yet this is still the earliest I've ever been in the Portland Public House. A staple of the Kingsland night scene, the quaint bar is usually packed to the point of only standing room by midnight. Still in the beginning stages of the night, the number of patrons was manageable, but the bar was still abuzz.

First up for the night is Auckland alt-rock three-piece, Repairs. Making the most of the limited space on stage, Marty and Nic (guitarist and bassist respectively) had their microphones side by side and stood facing each other and they performed. The drummer, James, has a good sense of timing creating engaging build-ups thanks to some solid tom-work. Unfortunately, the audio mix was little off for their performance, with the male vocals and bass guitar not loud enough to properly contribute to the soundscapes being created. The guitar is very much overpowering, but has a great sound; no feedback, no gaps. Very professional. The opening track has a similar vibe to Tool’s Sober with the dissonant chord choices employed. By the second track the bar has started to fill as the bar staff desperately try to remove the tables and chairs, so more people can fit. The balance is really off-base and makes it hard to fully appreciate their sound. Marty’s vocals are quite quiet and muffled while Nic’s are loud and piercing. The instruments are the opposite with Marty’s guitar overbearing while Nic’s bass is barely present at all. They have a very simple song structure, but a good selection of hard hitting riffs, with some definite Tool and Muse influences. When the guitar is toned back, the instrumental sound is gorgeous with some organic rhythm. I could actually see these three making a brilliant post-rock act if they chose to go in that

I had wondered whether there would be sharing of equipment on the stage due to minimal space and the late start, but perhaps due to the vast differences in instruments being used and number of band members, a full swap of equipment commenced. Space limitations led to a slower set-up and a subsequent delay in the start time for the second act of the night, Polyester. Five-piece pop act also hailing locally from Auckland, Polyester’s set was plagued with technical issues, and their strong start went to waste as they suddenly lost power on several occasions. Eventually sorting the power issues, they got into their set, with their 70s style of pop music, using what sounds like fast-plucked open string chords. Almost David Bowie-esque in sound, Polyester has a positive, perky vibe, and a solid multi-layered sound. Lead vocalist, Sylvia, has an amazingly voice that is full of soul, and she clearly loves being on stage poking fun at her nasally style of singing, and keeping the ever-growing crowd entertained during further technical mishaps. Complications with power return to the set, and the group adapt on the fly performing with minimal equipment. The only real complaint is that after a while the songs do become a bit samey, and care should be taken to not fall into the trap of following the same formula when writing, as the vocals are the only real defining character to each song. Nonetheless, an enjoyable performance to watch.

The changeover of equipment causes further delays, and I begin to regret not getting enough sleep during the week, but the headliners finally take to the stage. James and Nicole form the Auckland two-piece known as Carb On Carb. The self-described emo band that will “bring down the mood”. It was at this point I realised that Portland Public House actually has good acoustics. The audio mix was good for their set, though they could have done with a little bit more volume on the vocals. When properly projecting her voice with full energy Nicole’s voice is reminiscent to that of Haley Williams, and as such Carb On Carb’s style comes across in a similar vein to that of early Paramore. When her vocals are toned down, it becomes an intriguing combination of drone emo vocals and hard hitting punk drums. Despite the lack of the usual major chords that make a song sound positive and uplifting, the pace is upbeat and full of energy. They exhibit good control and timing, but the overuse of the crash cymbals does get a little difficult to listen to after a while. An enjoyable night, and the duo were very appreciative of those that came, frequently thanking everyone that came down. There to promote their album release (they have a pale green vinyl available for purchase), I found that their live set has so much more energy compared to the studio recording. If you enjoy their album, for ages, then you definitely need to check them out live.

Review written by Alex Moulton


About Carb On Carb

Carb on Carb are James and Nicole from Auckland. They have toured consistently since releasing their first EP in 2012, around NZ, as well as internationally (Australia, Singapore, China and Malaysia). In February 2015, Carb on Carb released a self-titled album, earning many thumbs up, plenty of high-fives and a bunch of new fans.

Visit the muzic.net.nz Profile for Carb On Carb


For Ages
Year: 2018
Type: Album
Carb On Carb
Year: 2015
Type: Album
Ladies Mile
Year: 2013
Type: EP
No Body Perfect
Year: 2012
Type: EP

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