15 Dec 2018
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Soaked Oats - Gig Review: Soaked Oats @ Galatos, Auckland - 27/07/2018

29 Jul 2018 // A review by hailtree
It’s a Friday night and every nook and doorway of Galatos Street is packed with kids hiding away smoking ciggies and drinking wine straight out of the bottle. I wonder how many of them came down with intentions of getting door sales – as Soaked Oats had announced during the day that they would have 20 available on the night – but by the time we get there, just eight minutes after the doors had opened, they’d already sold out. So, my friend was sent home a bit upset (let that be a reminder to you all to make sure you ALWAYS purchase your tickets early on!).

 

Opening up the night are local band Daffodils – I had just caught them the week before at Wine Cellar, and was super impressed, so was looking forward to seeing them a second time. As I make my way through the crowd as Daffodils take the stage - trying to find a good spot to grab a couple of photos - I overhear someone in the crowd discussing how “these guys are gonna be huge! To think they’re so young… Give them a few years man! Trust me!”

The band launch with their latest single First Time Party Nightmare. Instantly the crowd is captivated, and all eyes are fixated on the stage. As the song draws to a close, frontman Theo Salmon takes the opportunity to thank the crowd for coming out – “I can’t believe it sold out!” – before continuing on with their set. By the third song the place is packed and moving around the crowd is suddenly a feat and a half – it’s not often that a venue is packed so heavily for an opening band, and the crowd aren’t shy about how much they love Daffodils – “I love this! I just wanna dance to it, it’s all I’ve been listening to the past week,” I overhear. Luckily they’re in the right place, as the rest of the crowd seems to echo this thought, looking around is a sea of smiling faces just having a good old groove. After a few more songs, Theo thanks Soaked Oats for having them along – “I was stoked to be able to play this,” – I can’t help but sigh a little at how he could have made a little pun, but luckily bassist Louis Graham leans in and says something to Theo. “Oh, Louis just asked me to say soaked. I was soaked to be asked to play this.” Theo repeats back to the crowd, his face not amused at Louis’ little attempt at comedy. “Louis isn’t a funny person.” He announces, before launching straight into the next song.

During the break I move outside to get a breath of fresh air – as the room is nearly full, however the line outside is huge, and snakes its way all the way down Galatos Street, I can’t help but wonder where all these people are going to fit? As it’s tight enough already with the crowd that are inside. I hurry back inside, as I don’t want to end up stuck at the back.

As Soaked Oats take the stage, they’re met with a round of applause from the crowd… Although there’s barely any room to move, the crowd is super friendly – they’re all there for a good time and are happy to let me through to take photos. I take a moment to admire Soaked Oats outfit choices, as guitarist Henry Francis, and bassist Max Holmes are dressed in matching red get-ups. Although Henry has chosen to wear shoes, whilst Max has gone for the barefoot approach. They launch their way into their set, with their music as carefree as their looks, pausing only to exchange smiles between each other as the crowd grooves along to each song. I’m impressed by how much of the crowd know the lyrics to each song, and watch as strangers dance alongside each other, as if they’ve known each other for years. It reminds me of a 70’s era hippy gig, with everyone wearing loose, flowy clothing, and smiles plastered all over their faces. The floor bounces underneath the weight of everyone dancing, and I can only hope that it doesn’t give way to the basement below…

Just as I think the crowd can’t get any more excited, frontman Oscar Mein makes his way down towards the crowd, and everyone surges forward, eager to dance with him. For a band that advertised their tour as “avoiding freezing to the spot by traversing the country” – they certainly don’t run the risk of that here. The crowd is one of the warmest, most inviting environments I’ve ever witnessed – a far cry from the South Island winter.

Soaked Oats definitely have stage presence down, they’re effortless. Yet everything works flawlessly, at one point they all huddled towards drummer Conor Feehly, with their backs to the audience, before then dispersing back to their places – in a form that was reminiscent of a mini explosion.

About halfway through their set, the band pause to re-tune, and Oscar takes this time to engage with the crowd, introducing his bandmates to everyone. He invites a friend up on stage – whom Henry is excited to inform everyone is his brother – to join in on the synth. I have to admit, due to the crowd cheering over Oscar’s every word, I misheard him here, and thought he was inviting him up to play the cowbell… They launch into a cover of LCD Soundsystem’s Dance Yourself Clean, and the crowd lap it up, screaming the lyrics into each other’s faces.

As their set draw to a close, Oscar thanks everyone once again for coming along, and selling out the show – and reminds us all that there’s a DJ up next, so to stick around for the party – which is met by huge cheers from everyone once again. As the band begin to disembark the stage, the crowd chant starts up – “Encore! Encore! Encore!” Oscar replies meekly into the microphone, “But my voice is going to give out!” But the crowd is relentless, the chant turning into “One more song! One more song! One more song!”

“Okay.” Oscar replies, and the band take stage again to give the crowd what they want.


Review written by Amanda Hailwood
Photo courtesy of Amanda Hailwood

 

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