17 Jun 2021
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Decades - Gig Review: Decades @ Whammy Bar, Auckland - 20/07/18

23 Jul 2018 // A review by Paul Goddard

I love Auckland and I love Whammy Bar. A dive bar by definition, this underground venue has been the staple of underground bands for years and long may it continue. 

The addition of Mark Petersound as the in-house engineer means the sonics are in safe hands and as She Loves You open up the night with their perfect mix of attitude and melody the place immediately brightens. Maddie told me just before they took the stage that she was “knackered” but you wouldn’t have guessed. She has one of those almost pitch-perfect voices and reminds me of the late great Mia Zapata from Seattle band The Gits. Tonight, a bum note is not hit (unless you count the banter with a certain Hobo on the drums).

The set runs fast and smooth with no let-up or drop in the quality of the songs or the performance. This is rock music with a wink and a smile as the band entertain and excite in equal measure. Texas on drums is faultless and would be hard shoes to fill if ever he leaves the stool (shit did I just say leaves a stool and shit in the same line) but let’s hope She Loves You have their sights set overseas as they are ready to take on the world. They say to make it to the top (whatever that is) you need to rise to the top in your own backyard first. Auckland take note She Loves You and I do too.

Things take on a trippier vibe when Lexxa take the stage. They create a kind of EDM with an indie vibe bolstered by some excellent songwriting. Maybe it’s because of their connection as twins but this music is at times hypnotic with a synchronicity that syncs into your soul.

The harmonies are balanced if occasionally equally off pitch and a genuine connection with the crowd is made especially after some intersong banter while some equipment issues are sorted.

Overall there is still a long road to travel when it comes to the performance but with songwriting like theirs, they can easily hone the live show into shape. There is a sublime moment when as a musician and audience the music can take over and seem more than the people creating it. Lexxa hit that moment a few times tonight.

I didn’t realise that Decades have been around in various guises for more than a decade. If you drive or listen to any decent radio station at work you will be familiar with their brand of chart-bothering rock. The first two songs tonight fall into that familiar radio-friendly unit shifting territory but then the third song kicks in and everything gets a little darker and dangerous without losing that unique vocal that Emma has. It reverberates off every crevice in Whammy and as the song crescendos to a halt she sums it up nicely breathing “fuck” into the microphone.

Next up is a track that would sit happily bouncing along on Flava FM, the hip-hop vibe mixing perfectly with a dark underbelly of a chorus. Things are getting interesting and as it’s a new song let’s hope they channel more on this frequency.

Then it’s onto Rock FM territory as the band let rip and seem at their most comfortable. A cover of the Cranberries Zombie could have gone horribly wrong but with just an acoustic guitar it is delivered with genuine passion and a voice that can carry it off. The heavy female presence on this tour is something we need more off. It's a simple fact that we need more women to form bands and the message is delivered loud and clear.

Unlike the Zombie cover though, the blast through RATM should have been avoided. It’s a great song by a great band but also probably the most covered song ever so why bother when you create your own music that would have been just as entertaining in that slot. Watching Decades, you get the feeling they have one foot back where they started and one in what the future holds. They just need to focus on the future and leave the past behind.

Set closer The Truth (I think) is the perfect mix of radio-friendly blaster and heartfelt passion. It feels fresh and relevant. Tonight was a show I will remember for lots of different reasons but mainly because I got to see some amazingly talented bands in a great venue who truly believe in what they are creating. Tune in to a radio station near you to hear it soon.

Review written by Paul Goddard
 

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

Releases

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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