27 Sep 2020
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The Chills - Gig Review: The Chills @ 50 Gorillas, Dunedin - 21/09/2018

22 Sep 2018 // A review by Darryl Baser

As I sit here listening to Snow Bound, re-writing this from notes in bed the morning after the gig, while I sip black coffee and eat chocolate and ginger biscuits, I feel life is good. And more importantly, this LP and tour really could be perfect for relaunching The Chills globally. There aren’t many who get a chance for a second coming. If their gig at 50 Gorillas is anything to go by, the band are seizing this opportunity with all hands on deck.

The doors opened at 9pm with queues sprawling around the corner. By 9:40pm The Veils front-man Finn Andrews had taken the stage, and was commanding people's attention with an acoustic guitar and his voice for his first song, before swapping to piano for a couple. He seemed to channel Nick Cave in one particular number, however with all comparisons aside, Andrews is a gifted and versatile songwriter.

The particularly full venue is only getting fuller. The tables are gone, the dinner service is over. The audience now resemble Meercats craning their heads to see past taller Meercats in front of them, and the room appears full, yet more people are coming in. The quietest song of Finn's set is Love, What Can I Do?, and it's such a beautiful song, so tender and beautiful - unfortunately it goes over many people’s heads and conversations raise in volume. However, being the smart performer he is, Finn picks up the pace and finishes on a stomping guitar song that sets up the crowd beautifully for The Chills. It’s like having a masterclass session on how to play an opening set. 30 minutes with all killer, no filler and a punchy number to close. Well played Finn.

After around 30 minutes The Chills take the stage and open with the classic song Night of Chill Blue, then it's straight into Bad Sugar from Snow Bound. It's such a great song with this song alone making it worth buying the album. But wow, the next song is Wet Blanket. In my not-at-all humble opinion, this is one of the greatest love songs ever written, and it sucks hearing this when you're loved one is on the other side of the world.

Male Monster From The ID follows, and the band is road tight with Martin in fine voice. The single Scarred follows, it's another great track on the album and it's so much larger live, way huge. The title track Snow Bound then follows - this is another great new tune that sounds phenomenal live.

A sublime version of Submarine Bells is played next, and it’s pretty much just Martin playing guitar and singing, and James Dickson on piano. There are tears in eyes, probably more than mine. Another song from Snow Bound follows, called Deep Belief and then the lights go pink, no prizes for guessing the song title, and it's a solid version. It’s astounding how songs written so well just don't age.

Lord Of All I Survey from Snow Bound follows it’s a beguiling 6/8 that swings along and takes you with it. America Says Hello from 2015's Silver Bullets follows and it’s great to hear and see palpable anger from Martin as he lyrically comes out against the injustice of wealth at the expense of humanity. Complex from Snow Bound comes next - this is a single which could break the band into foreign markets, like the UK and US.

Speaking of songs that helped break the band overseas, they launch into Heavenly Pop Hit. It comes across as being kind of messy - it's the last song of the regular set and a crowd favourite.

Martin and all of the band members are visibly happy and drained as they leave the stage. The very full venue yells and stomps for more, the band return for three more. First encore Kaleidoscope World, then straight into Doldrums. Then what’s the only major Chills song they haven’t played? … Yes, I Love My Leather Jacket is the last song of the night, being another classic that's lost nothing in the past 30 years. Just perfect. The band are supplied with after-show drinks then head to the merch desk where sore wrists get more of a work-out as many people get items signed. Did I go full fanboy? You bet.



Review written by Darryl Baser
Photos provided by Adam Binns

 

About The Chills

The Chills story is as much the story of Martin Phillipps. The group was dogged by an ever changing line up, with Phillipps being the only permanent member. At times it seemed that the end of The Chills had finally arrived but Phillipps' strong motivation and ambition for success wouldn't allow this. The Chills achieved the success they deserved and were one of the top bands to emerge from New Zealand.

It all began in late 1978 when Martin Phillipps was the crisp age of 15. Inspired by the punk movement, including local band The Enemy, he teamed up with Jeff Batts (vocals) and Craig Easton (guitar) one weekend and began to make noise.

Soon after Paul Baird (drums) and Gaynor Propsting (bass) joined up and The Same was formed. Phillipps played guitar and following the departure of Batts took over as the principal songwriter and vocalist. Their few gigs included support for Toy Love and a Telethon '79 appearance, and it was quickly becoming obvious that Phillipps possessed a rare talent with a great sense of melody.

Visit the muzic.net.nz Profile for The Chills

Releases

Snow Bound
Year: 2018
Type: Album
Buy Online @ Mightyape
Silver Bullets
Year: 2015
Type: Album
Buy Online @ Mightyape
Somewhere Beautiful
Year: 2014
Type: Album
Buy Online @ Mightyape
Stand By
Year: 2004
Type: EP
Sunburnt
Year: 1996
Type: Album
Heavenly Pop Hits
Year: 1994
Type: Album
Soft Bomb
Year: 1992
Type: Album
Submarine Bells
Year: 1990
Type: Album
Brave Words
Year: 1987
Type: Album
Kaleidoscope World
Year: 1985
Type: Album

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