20 Dec 2018
UsernamePassword

Remember Me? | Join | Recover
Click here to sign in via social networking

Fables - Gig Review: Fables @ The Wine Cellar, Auckland

11 Sep 2018 // A review by Alex Moulton

Stepping through the door of Auckland’s Wine Cellar, I was caught off-guard. Gone was the empty floor space and in its place were several rows of seats, already nearly full with what looks like a number of friends and family. Not often you find such a strong turnout at the Wine Cellar, especially so early in the night. With some slow folk music playing in the background, and footage of unfurling and blossoming flowers projected onto the back wall we awaited the opening acts to begin

First performance of the night came from duo, Beth and Taine. Starting a few minutes early, they opened their set with a cover of KT Tunstall’s 2004 hit, Black Horse and the Cherry Tree. Beth’s voice is incredibly striking; with immense strength and control, the calibre of her voice was unexpected. Props to the man behind the sound desk, the night was empty of static or any other electrical interference, and it really provided extra depth and clarity to the vocal performances for the night.

Beth and Taine continued on with their set with further covers of Ella Fitzgerald’s Dream A Little Dream Of Me, and The Beatles’ 1996 classic, Come Together. Despite the duo’s instruments consisting of nothing more than an acoustic guitar and two microphones, they were able to provide a soul/jazz fusion that entertained the seated masses. They ended their set with an original track; some great phrasing and flow on show in the verses, and despite a substantial change in tempo in the pre-chorus, the strength of her voice in the chorus left the audience enraptured. The track could potentially look to make better use of silence to give enough space for the full impact of the vocals to have an effect, but otherwise a very enjoyable set.

With no need for any change of equipment, the changeover for the second act was instantaneous, and Fern took to the stage. Armed with nothing but a microphone, she shared a selection of poetry. Her first choice was Your Stupid Spray a scathing retort against the males that spray the strong scented deodorants in close proximity to her. Comedic in her display of annoyance and frustration, she elicited many chuckles from the crowd.

Taking a more serious turn in topic, Fern spoke in Jesus Morningstar about a bad experience with a dangerous cult that preyed on young women, before switching again in Substance to talk discuss a would-be authors lack of depth in characters and plot. This is the first time I have come across poetry as an opening act, but the experience works surprisingly well.

Without music, the audience are forced to pay attention to the words being spoken, otherwise losing out on the entire experience. Calling out James Geluk to pull out the double bass, the last piece in Fern’s set was a song called Drama Queen. Fern performed on the acoustic guitar, alongside the double bass. A brilliant songwriter, Fern is a remarkable storyteller for such a young woman, with a soft clean voice, and a good vocal range. Her confidence in her abilities is palpable, and it has a positive effect on engaging the audience.

The final opening performance for the night comes in the form of Kirsten Warner. Another poetic performance, Kirsten has more of a long prose method of poetry, with free verse narratives. Starting with an ode of sorts to Sid the Cockatoo at the Dunedin Aviary, who taught the toucan to talk. Kirsten provides a one-sided dialogue that looks at the opposing behaviour of two different cockatoos that could be linked to their treatment from their owners.

Moving on with In A Nutshell, Kirsten spoke of effects and personifications of certain types of nuts. A unique performance, while denser and more complex than Fern’s work. The second part of Kirsten’s routine brought partner Bernie Griffen of Bernie Griffen and the Thin Men to the stage. Armed with two guitars, they played a short set which included tracks such as Sweet Obsession and My Brain Exploded.

With simple strumming rhythm, and some technical finger picking lead, Bernie and Kirsten provided the yin and yang of the song, with a mirrored fashion in the vocals; Bernie has a deep rumbling drawl, compared to Kirsten’s higher melodies. Almost like listening to two adaptations of a song at once, you can certainly feel that the track is missing elements that the Thin Men would normally provide, but it worked well for an intimate setting such as the Wine Cellar. After exiting the stage, for the first time in the night, after 3 back-to-back opening acts, the audience were given the opportunity for a break, as the stage was prepared for the headlining act.

Fables was the final act for the night and are fronted by Jess Bailey. Jess was the first to come up on stage with an acoustic guitar and she summoned Finn McLennan-Elliott to join her on the clarinet to perform The Way That I Do. Rather soft spoken, Jess’ vocal style is reminiscent to that of Dido, with husky quiet tones, but an excitingly piercing melody when she unleashes the high notes.

The purpose of the evening being to promote the launch of their debut EP Portraits, the set included all tracks from the release. As Jess moved on to How to be Comfortable, she sent away Finn, and called out for more band members, bringing in Pearl Hindley on the violin, Laurence Diack on the cello, James Geluk returned on the double bass, Victoria Vigenser was up front for backing vocals and a hand drum (perhaps a bodhran) among others. As the set progressed, band members were sent away and brought in, with each track having a different line-up on stage.

A messy set logistically, with a lot of accumulated downtime and confusion over who was playing and what songs were being played, but musically, the sound was angelic. Jess’ voice worked well and was well backed by the strings and percussion sections. Fables is almost an orchestral event with backing vocalists (Chris Dent from Albi & The Wolves among them) bringing the number of people on stage up to twelve at one point. The end of each track was met by rapturous applause from the audience, among catcalls and whistles.

The set was largely participatory, with many of the Friends of Fable being called out of the audience to join in on stage to thicken the sound adding more depth and volume, as well as getting the remaining audience to sing along. Every portion of their sound was backed up, with multiple string instruments, several percussive elements, and a plethora of vocal harmonies. Far from folk music, Fables is a multi-instrumental soundscape; a multitude of layers.

The crowd were impassioned, cheering at every opportunity, and it created an atmosphere that Fables thrived in. Not an ounce of nervousness was present, beyond forgetting the lyrics to the final verse of Home (which was a request from the audience and not originally in the set), and the night was a fun evening from start to finish.


Photos and review courtesy of Alex Moulton.

 

About Fables

Fables, a musical ensemble from the outskirts of Auckland. Fronted by Jess Bailey and accompanied by a cast of many talents. Fables produce a gentle and heartfelt indie-folk sound which could warm even the coldest of hearts.

The small ensemble has shared the stage with modern folk notables Great North, The Remarkables, Chris Priestley and Nadia Reid, with performances at the home of Auckland folk, The Bunker.


Visit the muzic.net.nz Profile for Fables

Releases

Portraits
Year: 2018
Type: EP

Other Reviews By Alex Moulton

Paper Cranes - Album Review: Voices
19 Dec 2018 // by Alex Moulton
Due for release January 18, 2019, Voices is the second full-length album from Indie Folk duo Paper Cranes. While comprised of ten tracks, the album has a short overall runtime of just over 35 minutes.
Read More...
This Pale Fire - Single Review: Float Out
17 Dec 2018 // by Alex Moulton
Float Out is about the process of letting things go, moving forward, learning from your past experiences, growing as a result. As such, the track has an intrinsically emotional weight to it.
Read More...
EP Review: Miller Yule Live
17 Dec 2018 // by Alex Moulton
Miller Yule Live is a good length EP, consisting of seven tracks with a total runtime of over 30 minutes. Performing a setlist that is mostly sourced from his 2016 EP Shoot Me In The Heart (reviewed here), Miller Yule has also added in his single Diamonds (released in November 2017 and reviewed here), a stripped down adaptation of Six60's Don't Give It Up, and a new track to spice it up further.
Read More...
Mako Road - EP Review: Local Safari
10 Dec 2018 // by Alex Moulton
Local Safari is the latest release from Christchurch Indie group Mako Road The four-piece provide a very laid-back and relaxed (albeit short) EP as we enter the prime summer road tripping season.The EP begins with its titular track Local Safari, with some pleasant keys and a generally unhurried pace, controlled by a simple hi hat and snare drum combo.
Read More...
Kerretta - Single Review: Chroma Queens
10 Dec 2018 // by Alex Moulton
Chroma Queens is the first single from upcoming LP release Exiscens (due for release on December 14), which is the first release from Auckland experimental rock act Kerretta for over four years. The band are comprised of bass player William Waters; drummer H.
Read More...
Gig Review: Ghost Who Walks @ Anthology Lounge, Auckland - 30/11/2018
06 Dec 2018 // by Alex Moulton
Cheers and squeals are let out around Auckland’s Anthology Lounge as The Rubics take to the stage. The six-piece group have been working on making a name for themselves as the groove-makers of the Auckland scene, and from the sound of the audience, they know exactly what they are in for.
Read More...
Gig Review: 2Cellos @The Civic, Auckland - 3/12/2018
04 Dec 2018 // by Alex Moulton
People were abuzz as they filed into The Civic to get to their seats. Many eyes were enjoying the venue itself as one of Auckland’s last remaining atmospheric theatres, with its soft-top design that floats above the auditorium, with stars and clouds that recreate the Southern Hemisphere sky-scape.
Read More...
Lisa Crawley - Single/Video Review: Baby It's Fine
30 Nov 2018 // by Alex Moulton
Lisa Crawley’s latest single Baby It’s Fine is a delightfully unhurried and soulful pop track. Starting with a slow strum of the guitar and an almost acoustic vibe to the bass, there is a slow melancholic edge to the song.
Read More...
View All Articles By Alex Moulton

NZ Top 10 Singles

  • THANK U, NEXT
    Ariana Grande
  • SHALLOW
    Lady Gaga And Bradley Cooper
  • SWEET BUT PSYCHO
    Ava Max
  • SHOTGUN
    George Ezra
  • WITHOUT ME
    Halsey
  • SUNFLOWER
    Post Malone And Swae Lee
  • SICKO MODE
    Travis Scott feat. Drake
  • BETTER
    Khalid
  • HAPPIER
    Marshmello And Bastille
  • EASTSIDE
    benny blanco feat. Halsey And Khalid
View the Full NZ Top 40...
muzic.net.nz Logo
100% New Zealand Music
All content on this website is copyright to muzic.net.nz and other respective rights holders. Redistribution of any material presented here without permission is prohibited.
Report a ProblemReport A Problem