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Decades - Gig Review: Decades @ Empire Bar, Christchurch - 13/07/2018

18 Jul 2018 // A review by ivyxenaxxe

Decades kicked off their The Truth Hurts Tour in Christchurch on Friday the 13th of July at Empire Bar. The venue is fairly new, and they have invested in their stage set up and sound system quite heavily. Because of this, Empire Bar was an excellent venue at which to commence Decade’s nationwide tour.

The night began with Lexxa, two young female twins hailing from Auckland who were sporting wonderful vintage styled tartan pant suits. Lexxa’s varied instrumentation consist of a synthesiser keyboard, a drum pad machine, some backing tracks, a vocoder, the occasional bass guitar, and lead electric guitar, with beautiful vocal harmonies woven through their tapestry of synth pop. One factor Lexxa expertly incorporates into their songs is a sense of nostalgia. This is initially noticeable in their 80's-like synthesised sound, but less obviously, the lyrics hark back to Bubble’O’Bill ice creams at the beach and learning who your real friends are. It was clear from the outset that these young ladies have a talent for writing catchy tunes and potential radio hits, and you can sample this yourself with their newly released single I Got Better Friends Now on Spotify. I have no doubt that we will be hearing much more about Lexxa in the near future.

The second lot of talent taking the stage for the evening were Auckland’s four-piece female rock band She Loves You. On this tour, the band has the drummer of Skinny Hobos filling in for them, and he slotted in perfectly, laying down a really solid groove foundation for each song. It is obvious that these girls sure know how to rock! The chemistry between band members was tremendous and it was clear that everyone on stage was having the time of their lives. With a tried and true combination of electric guitar, bass, drums, and rocky vocals, She Loves You have found the golden ratio which works ideally for them. There is talent at play in the arrangement of their songs, as it was not always obvious where the next section would take you. For example, the song titled Last Night takes you from an intense rock guitar solo to a pumping reggae beat which the audience was completely on board with, judging by the dancing erupting from the crowd. The lead vocals were impeccable, slightly raspy but full of soul, and always right on point. The guitar work was intricate and powerful, with backing vocals harmonising effortlessly. I noticed some very cool slap and pop bass lines along with some grooving bass melodies, and when all of these elements come together, the end result is a powerful and beautifully punchy sound which appeals to a wide range of audiences.

Thirdly and finally, Decades took the stage, and immediately owned the heck out of it. This is a band who has toured the country for close to ten years, and their level of professionalism and ability to consistently deliver an expertly crafted sound was obvious from the outset. Decades sounds incredibly similar on stage as they do in their studio recordings, and segue between songs very cleanly, keeping the music flowing throughout the set. Each band member had a relentless energy and was entirely in command of their parts, while interacting with each other and the audience the entire time. The lead vocals were faultless and authoritative, never missing a beat, while the guitar work was perfectly executed and delivered with enthusiasm, along with flawless back-up vocals from both the guitarist and bassist. The drumming was intense and commanding with some really cool syncopation, and the bass playing perfectly complimented that while standing out in its own right with its groove and high attack.

Of course, Decades played all the hits from their debut album The Truth And Other People, but two unexpected covers were also thrown into the set. The first of these was The Cranberries’ Zombie which Emma played solo with just an acoustic guitar and a microphone. The tone of the song took the upbeat vibe down slightly to a more intimate feel for a few minutes, as the crowd sang along, and Emma passionately sang her heart out. The second surprise cover took the energy of the room up to 11 as the instantly recognisable intro to Rage Against The Machine’s Killing In The Name erupted from the stage. The bass tone during this intro was incredibly fuzzy and deliciously gritty, and the guitar solo towards the end of the song was impeccable, brilliantly played. Having not heard this song with a female voice before, I was unbelievably impressed by the level of grit and intensity that was delivered in the lead vocals here. The audience was going nuts, the mosh pit was intense, and every crowd member was singing along with this song. It was an exquisite performance of a very well-chosen cover.

Signing off the night with their latest single The Truth, Decades proved to us that they are an unstoppable force. With the bassist and guitarist both flanking the stage rocking out on top of some very tall speakers (at times literally hanging from the rafters), the drummer’s arms a backlit blur from behind Emma’s dancing silhouette, and an audience moving in unison, it was a high-octane and apt ending to an impeccable and engaging set.

The entire evening at Empire was one not to be missed, and I applaud Decades for including more female rockers in the line-up of this tour. If the Christchurch show was anything to go by, these three bands have an exciting tour ahead of them, as they make their way into Dunedin, Wellington, and Auckland, tearing each city a new one on their way through, and leaving audiences captivated by their astonishing performances. Get yourself a ticket from Under The Radar and get along to see this show. You’ll be so glad you did.

Review written by Sam Grueber


About Decades

Formerly known as Ashei, there are a myriad of ways to describe NZ rock outfit, Decades, but one word that really summarises their so-far 5 year journey in sharing their music is simply: determination. Bursting on to the scene in 2009 led by a unique female voice that reaches both the gritty angst and delicate reservedness of the vocal spectrum, Decades have shown they are an independent Kiwi rock band to really watch with their shared passion for intense live performance and honest song writing.

Members Emma Cameron (vox/guitar), Liam Muir (guitar), Daniel Perry (drums) and Curtis Booth (bass) have spent the last several years focussing on honing in on their unique sound, independently releasing a scattering of singles and music videos to varying levels of local success, playing as many local shows as they could muster around their full-time day jobs, and supporting larger national and international acts such as Midnight Youth (NZ), Villainy (NZ), The Ataris (US), and Scary Kids Scaring Kids (US).

In 2013, Decades knew they were at a point of ‘go big or go home’, and so they began to envision what the next couple of years should look like, and how they were going to reach these milestones. Early 2013 saw Decades lock in with producer Matt Bartlem of Loose Stones Studios in QLD to create their debut record. Faced with the many obstacles of an independent band, the band launched - and achieved - a $10,000USD indiegogo crowd funding campaign in mid-2013, to head over to the studio in Australia to complete a 5-track EP.

Visit the muzic.net.nz Profile for Decades


The Truth and Other People
Year: 2017
Type: Album
Music Is Boring
Year: 2014
Type: EP
Nine To Twelve
Year: 2013
Type: EP
Light And Live
Year: 2011
Type: Album

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