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Boycrush - Gig Review: Boycrush @ Whammy Bar Backroom, Auckland 07/07/2018

18 Jul 2018 // A review by butch181

Every time I go to the Backroom at St Kevin's Arcade I feel like I’m wandering around the stairs of Hogwarts; the layout seems to change each time, or a different entrance is used, sometimes there is a bar, sometimes there isn’t. In this case, the entire stage area had been transformed into something I’ve never seen from the Backroom of Whammy before. The floor of the standing area had a square marked out in red and white hazard tape, and unlike cats, that will sit inside any shapes made of tape on the ground, the crowd avoided the square like the plague, jamming themselves along the edges of the venue, so as not to cross the line. The stage itself had layers of translucent red curtains with some colour changing neon-esque bar lights hanging behind each one. The transformation was topped off by a double set of stacked swappa-bottle crates raising the level of the monitors.

None of the acts had started and yet the room was well packed for a Back Room show. I would normally attribute this to proof of a very popular artist, but I can’t not attribute part of it due to the late start time, as 10pm came and went without any sign of the show starting. Eventually, however, somebody emerged onto the stage, and without a word, unpacked a clear rain poncho, put it on, and took control of the music.

Playing a simple track, with an almost tribal beat to it, the music flowed, ebbed and gradually phasing from one piece to another by the gradual removal and addition of layers. A basic sound, but simple, and almost hypnotic, especially when combined with the dance group led by Tui Hoffman. Clad in blue one-piece bathing suits, identical blonde wigs, and their own clear rain ponchos, the foursome performed a set composed of synchronised and cooperative dance movements. Like watching an Olympic synchronised swimming spectacle, minus the water. Even going as far as to start merging the varying styles as the music itself transitioned, the group certainly knew how to grab the attention of the audience, even if their set barely lasted 15 minutes before they vacated the floor.

The opening act of dance complete, the crowd spread out filling the whole floor. With electronic music being played between and during each set, and the generally limited lighting used, it was difficult to tell when an act was starting. 11pm was rapidly approaching and the crowd were already getting boisterous, dancing and grinding along to the house music blasting through the speakers. Alistair Deverick aka. Boycrush soon took to the stage, the lighting changed to bright blue, and Holy Water began to play. The crowd immediately stopped what they were doing and instantly redirected their dancing and cheers towards the stage where Alistair was situated with his accompanying musicians for the night.

Providing that extra thick bass sound was Tom Young from Leisure, who was trying with all his might to avoid looking up at the audience while he performed. An interesting layout, as if the musicians didn’t really want to be seen, masked behind the curtains and a lack of direct lighting. Singing Chelsea Jade’s parts for Holy Water was Carla Camilleri from Marbecks, a woman that moved like she was reliving a spiritual experience. 

Compared to the house music beforehand, Boycrush’s material has a much more relaxed vibe, causing the patrons to bob and sway from side to side rather than the more energetic dancing. The burgeoning applause at the end of each track certainly verified the crowds’ delight despite the calm atmosphere in the venue. Performing an older track Caprice, Alistair took to the main vocals between sculls of his Red Bull. The vocal side of the tracks were a little weak, with the instrumental parts of the track stealing the spotlight and garnering a huge response from the crowd.

With snappy high treble drum tracks, the set had a positive ambiance, but the tracks without Young on the bass lacked that deep rumble that got the crowd to stir. Camilleri and Young both take turns on the vocals for the remainder of the set, providing some great contrasting melodies, both low & rich, and smooth and effervescent. Boycrush continued to play through Desperate Late Night Energy, taking the time to explain the albums’ inspiration; “the yearning, confused no-man's-land at the end of a long night; looking for someone to take home, consuming more than one might need”.

While not the most conducive to seeing the musicians on stage, the lighting was well choreographed, with different lighting patterns for certain tracks, pulsing in time with the music, and the general darkness of the room, made it challenging enough to see other people, that it pushes you to focus on the musical experience in front of you. There are certainly a few areas in the music that could be adjusted to enhance future live shows, with the crowds very sensitive to changes in tempo, and depth of tone. More bass + consistent upbeat pace = an enraptured crowd. But overall the night was a success, with brilliant performances from Tom Young and Carla Camilleri, a curious opening dance set that set the scene for the night to come.

An atypical night closed off with a DJ set from Peach Milk that will certain remain in one’s memory for a while.

Review written by Alex Moulton
Photo by Shelley Te Haara


About Boycrush

Boycrush is the project of Alistair Deverick, also drummer of The Ruby Suns, with a live band comprising multi-instrumentalist Hayden Eastmond-Mein (Lawrence Arabia, Panther & The Zoo) and The Ruby Suns frontman Ryan McPhun.

Boycrush first performed in Madrid while taking part in the Red Bull Music Academy 2011.

Visit the muzic.net.nz Profile for Boycrush


Desperate Late Night Energy
Year: 2018
Type: Album
Girls On Top
Year: 2015
Type: EP
Everybody All The Time
Year: 2012
Type: EP

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