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Shihad - Shihad @ Brewers Indoor Arena, Mt Maunganui - 27/10/2018

31 Oct 2018 // A review by River Tucker

Shihad couldn’t have asked for better support acts in the form of Villainy and Kora for their 30th Anniversary Tour gig last weekend at Mt Maunganui. Not only did all the bands bring their A game to the stage, the audience was fully locked, loaded and set to celebrate thirty years of Shihad’s musical success.

On a high from their national tour with Shihad and the well-received release of their most excellent single IFXS, Villainy kicked off the night’s festivities with a high-octane set. The Auckland alternative rock band was as cohesive live as they are on their recorded material and if you haven’t bought their Mode. Set. Clear. or Dead Sight albums yet, get out and find yourself some copies now.

Eastern Bay locals Kora also set the bar high leading into the main act with their low-down electronic funk/reggae. Singer Francis Kora was in fine form perfectly belting out a number of crowd-pleasers. Skankenstein and Drop Dead Killer in particular went down a treat. His shout-out to Shihad and crew midway through their short set displayed some mutual appreciation for the hard work that goes on behind the scenes. Kora made sure the crowd was nicely warmed up, dancing and the excitement was palpable by the time the headliners took to the stage.

Shihad played at least one track from each of their albums, switching between mellower and heavier songs to great effect. Such diversity made the power of harder-hitting songs My Minds Sedate and You Again performed after mellow mood setter Deb’s Night Out all the more powerful. Somewhat of an interlude half way through their set, the ballad Brightest Star was also a highlight and poignant reminder that front-man Jon Toogood has a number of brilliant musical styles under his belt.

Toogood was the consummate performer and he has perfected his showmanship over the years. He clearly loves being onstage and the sheer exuberance of his performance was inspiring. Effortlessly interacting with the audience and giving props to Villainy and Kora for their great support, he also thanked audio engineer David Wernham and singled out Shihad’s drummer Tom Larkin for his impeccable timekeeping. Larkin truly does have exceptional syncopation and rightly deserved the crowd’s roar of appreciation.

This tour also commemorates the 20th Anniversary and re-release on vinyl of the groundbreaking triple platinum album The General Electric and fans needed little encouragement to add their voices to the chorus of the title track as well as participating in a bit off call and response during Home Again and Run.

Sound engineers worked hard getting the mix right especially once volume levels were pushed for the main act. Brewers Indoor Arena is essentially a large tin shed with accompanying high-end reflections, at times making the PA system sound a bit harsh. Thankfully the packed crowd helped soak up most of the transients like butter on hot toast.

The venue provided Shihad’s sound with a more industrial edge, which benefited their earlier heavy material like You Again and Factory, the latter having the added bonus of bassist Karl Kippenberger joining his mates in vocal harmony. Lead guitarist Phil Knight’s Les Paul and later a lovely 60's Jazzmaster efficiently cut through, providing ample coverage to make sure people lost their shit. With performances like that you can see why Shihad is still New Zealand’s number one rock band.

The longevity of Shihad is a testament to their musical success and it’s clear the strength of their songs has helped to keep them together for all these years, as much as the sheer enjoyment they get from making music. The band has amassed a very loyal following and been inducted into the NZ Music Hall of Fame for very good reasons. Make sure you catch the unrelenting live energy of Shihad at a venue near you.


About Shihad

Picture this… 1988, Bob Hawke is Prime Minister, Australia dumps $600 million bucks of tax payer cash on Expo 88, Home and Away hits our tellies for the first time, Triple J launch the Hottest 100, Nintendo release the Game Boy, free University education is no longer an option, and over in Wellington NZ, the Southernmost capital city in the world, Jon Toogood and Tom Larkin are busily creating a heavy rock band…. A monstrous band that would end up becoming one of New Zealand’s most loved, respected and successful exports… Kia ora Shihad!

Fast forward to 2020… Jon, Tom, lead guitarist Phil Knight (who they found through a music shop notice board ad in 1989) and bass player Karl Kippenberger, who joined the band in 1993, (from being a fan) have released nine studio albums (five of which went to #1 in NZ). They survived a name change propelled by Jihad becoming a staple negative reference in the global vernacular thanks to 9/11 (Shihad became Pacifier, and returned to Shihad), personal triumphs and tragedies, travelled all over the world with endless tours, selling out headline shows and sharing stages at major local and international festivals, and touring with musical heroes like Motorhead, Metallica, Faith No More and AC/DC to name a few! In 2010 they were inducted into the New Zealand Music’s Hall Of Fame. And just like Neil Finn, Russell Crowe and every other successful person or idea to come out of NZ… Australia quickly adopted them as our own, showering them with ARIA nominations, adoration and ownership of their global success.

Visit the muzic.net.nz Profile for Shihad


Old Gods
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Beautiful Machine
Year: 2008
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Year: 2005
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The General Electric
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Year: 1998
Type: EP
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