19 Dec 2018
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Elemeno P - Gig Review: Elemeno P @ Nectar, Auckland

03 Nov 2018 // A review by Alex Moulton

Nestled within The Kingslander is the Nectar function area, a lovely warm area, with a wide deep stage area. The only real downside is that the stage area has a step about four metres away from the stage that could become a trip and fall hazard during the night depending on how packed the venue is. Not forgetting that the show was Sold Out. The doors opened, and the crowd slowly gathered, relaxing and enjoying the mild weather.

First act of the night came from the Emo/Pop-Punk duo carb on carb. Comprised of James Stuteley on the drums and Nicole Gaffney on the guitar & lead vocals, they have honed their style well creating a full-bodied sound with minimal instruments.

Working with a minimal kit, each component of Stuteley’s kit has a contrasting sound to the other pieces. This combined with the great mic job done, meant Stuteley was not just keeping time, but was also contributing on the melodic percussion side of things exhibiting some great tones. Gaffney’s guitar style appears simple but uses looping effects effortlessly to create a well-rounded sound, acting as her own rhythm section.

With a very Hayley Williams (Paramore) meets Dolores O’Riordan (The Cranberries) there is a confident, wide ranging vocal melody that has strength and youth interwoven into every note. Gaffney’s high notes could use a little more projection, but otherwise the set was vibrant and clean. Banter was a little bit here or there while tuning, and the crowd that were unaware of the material were caught off-guard by their style of abrupt ends to the tracks which led to some awkward silences (unsure of whether to clap or not), but ultimately the set had some good consistent pace, and received much applause from the crowd.

One of these things is not like the other, was the thought going through my mind as I waited for the second opening act to hit the stage. Mainard Larkin, otherwise known as Randa, is a Rap/Hip-hop artist. An interesting choice to have between the two rockier acts, but if Elemeno P reckon it works, I’m happy to give them a try.

Randa came out swinging, armed with only a laptop and a microphone, and the stage looking slightly empty, but they made use of the space moving from side-to-side as they waxed lyrical. With a very good flow, they rode the beat well and showed a reasonable level of syllabic variation to keep the tracks interesting. The physical side of the performance did leave much to be desired, however. Starting out strong, they were moving a lot, and engaging with the crowd, even at one point jumping down to the floor to get closer to the audience, but after the first few songs, the energy did get sapped from the artist and they spent much of the time simply standing behind the mic stand. With nobody else on stage and no instruments, the visual appeal was lacking. Still, with good bass and melodies on the backing tracks, Randa opened a few eyes to a different genre, and created an audibly pleasant experience.

As the last equipment changeover occurred, the crowd were well and truly getting into the bar. Instruments were tuned and checked, and as the house music went quiet mid-song, the crowd rushed forward right up to the front-of-stage. It wasn’t an early start for the band, however, and what appeared to be the pre-gig tunes chosen to see if the crowd was ready, with Weezer’s Say It Ain’t So, and Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody resulting in beer pints and phones in the air as they belted out the lyrics, from high operatic portions to guitar solos.

The time finally came, as headliner Elemeno P took to the stage. After a short intro they leapt into Burn and the energy permeating from the crowd was amazing. The room jumped several degrees in temperature as they started moving, and vocalist Dave Gibson wasted no time in reminding everyone about the Health & Safety hazard 4 metres away from the stage.

They thrashed through Ohio, Baby, and Nirvana without a pause, even when Lani Pukis’ bass started having some teething issues; but nothing dissuaded the crowd, who were pogoing to their hearts content. The passion in the crowd was intense, with very few phones in the air from the 130+ patrons in the venue, they were all living in the moment and putting in as much energy as I would expect from a Lamb of God concert. The enthusiasm was mirrored by the band with Purkis frequently climbing onto the foldbacks to get closer to the audience, and Gibson really having fun on the Toms every once in a while.

As quickly as the smoke machine could churn out smoke the body heat in the room was pushing it up, and eventually it was virtually impossible to see the band, only the bright colours from the spotlights were visible as everything merged together, and it just encouraged the crowd to try get even closer.

With a 16-song set, the energy managed to stay high throughout, with the tired audience members moving back and swapping out with fresh bodies, there was always movement, jumping, cheering, and singing along as the band played. Gibson appeared rather impressed with effort from the crowd, even noticing one person who had brought a tambourine and encouraged the fans to bring any form of percussive instrument to future shows if they like.

As they came to the end of their main set, they switched it up with a fantastic cover of P!nk’s Raise Your Glass, with an impressive vocal performance from Purkis, before they closed off their set with Verona, a track that Gibson dedicated to his wife, who was home looking after their new-born child.

Definitely not a crowd that would be that easily satisfied, they chanted for an encore, and as would be expected Elemeno P complied, Gibson jumping on the drums, leaving Scotty Person with no place but the microphone. Turns out the song choices before the gig were certainly predetermined, with the band playing another cover this time Weezer’s Say It Ain’t So, enthusiastically sung by Scotty.

They played through Louder and then during Tahoe the front rowers pushed their way onto the stage and started dancing with the band; sweaty, topless, and largely getting in the way, it was good-natured fun for what looked like the last song of the night. As the band left the stage for the second time, and the house music started up again, the crowd kept on chanting for “one more song” until the band relented, pushed most of the crowd back off stage, and finished the night off with Verlaines.

The definition of a high-energy set, the audience had no time for photos, they just lived and breathed the music, demanded more when they wanted it, and Elemeno P are the great souls that will give what the fans want. Easy to see why the show sold out.

 

About Elemeno P

Pop music: an expression of the current consciousness of what’s happening. An onomatopoetic description for sure, a boom, a bang that jolts and shakes things around, it can shift and change into many forms, its chameleon nature becomes seductive. Phil Spector called the stuff he did "little symphonies", encapsulated stories about life that has just as much resonance as the high brow classical form he borrowed from. Pop music is the sound of the actual, all the little details of how we live our lives, the soundtrack to our reality.

Elemeno P make pop music that bangs, guitar power pop with big choruses that is an invitation to a party next to a pool with lots of girlies, where the summer is endless and school or work is but a distant memory. Choice.

Dave Gibson describes the band as "We’re just happy people" and Dave is indeed a person full of the jollification that life can bring. But don’t let that cloud your perspective, he has a solid background in musical performance. Playing in a variety of acts: Queen City Big Band, hardcore band Nickel and in 1998 toured Eastern Europe in a band called Elephant, where he broke his back - the fun has to stop sometimes. He’s also somewhat of a of a media veteran, having appeared in numerous commercials and featuring in the film The Locals and also a stint as a radio DJ. Surprisingly finding time to complete a commerce degree, he’s a man who knows what to do and how to do it.

Visit the muzic.net.nz Profile for Elemeno P

Releases

Elemeno P
Year: 2008
Type: Album
Trouble In Paradise
Year: 2005
Type: Album
Love & Disrespect
Year: 2003
Type: Album
Fast Times In Tahoe
Year: 2002
Type: EP
Every Day's A Saturday
Year: 2002
Type: EP
Nirvana
Year: 2002
Type: EP

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