15 Dec 2018

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Ghost Who Walks - Gig Review: Ghost Who Walks @ Butler's Reef, Oakura - 16/11/2018

26 Nov 2018 // A review by Emily Riordan

It's a big ask of any band to play their original material to a pub full of punters there to watch the game, but by the end of their hour-long set Ghost Who Walks had their audience in the palm of their hand.

Ghost Who Walks is the project of Wellingtonian Sam Fowles, who sets out to "make music that moves the body and touches the soul". For this tour, Fowles is joined by Henry Smithers on bass and Josh Dominikovich on drums. Their stage is a minimal setup in a corner of the room under pool lights.

The set begins with no big announcement and no fuss, but immediately people turn their attention to the band. Right from the first beat they all seem to drop into a shared “zone” - they play with natural flow and freshness as if they are just having a jam together, but they clearly know the music inside out.

Sam Fowles is a laid-back sort of frontman but commands attention. While he doesn’t move much more than one leg to keep the beat, there is quiet confidence to his demeanor. Between songs, he chats a little with the crowd, winning them over with an infectious laugh when he is lightly heckled. Everything he does seems effortless, from his smooth, soulful vocal delivery to his dynamic guitar solos. It’s difficult to compare his voice to just one singer, but there are echoes of several greats in there - Paul McCartney, Bob Marley, and Bruno Mars all come to mind at different points.

Henry Smithers’ jazz background is apparent in the way his bass lines dance through the songs. He’s set up with a keyboard too, and switches seamlessly between instruments mid song. Josh Dominikovich is playing a stripped back kit flawlessly - he barely drops a beat all night - and he takes that kit for all it’s worth, drumming on the hardware as well as the drums themselves. Together Smithers and Dominikovich make an incredibly tight rhythm section, always supporting and never overpowering Fowles.

The trio mix and cross genres from song to song, but the set as a whole is one big swell. There is a bit of a Red Hot Chilli Peppers vibe to the arrangement in general. While the ratio of guitar solos to songs seems high, every solo is different and Fowles makes the guitar sing.

Ghost Who Walks offer no gimmicks, no frills, good music - and it looks like every person in the bar digs it.


About Ghost Who Walks

“I make music to move the body and touch the soul” – Sam Fowles.

Ghost Who Walks is a project started by Sam Fowles, backed by his band that is homegrown in Wellington. Formed from the vibrant jam scene of Wellington open mic nights. Combining elements of Blues, Funk, Rock and Reggae, sprinkled with psychedelic overtones. Ghost Who Walks has rocked many a venue in the Wellington live scene with funky originals that Sam writes from the perspective of someone who has seen struggles, overcome and risen above them. This is a lyrical style the listener can relate to. “With relatable lyrics of creating your own destiny, a listener can resonate more with that kind of lyrical sensibility. This is music that makes you feel.” - Muzic.net.nz

Straight after their inception they cut their teeth into the Battle of the Bands progressing to the national final before spending the next year honing their sound ready to record with the Dr Lee Prebble at Surgery Studios Wellington. Producing an EP that showcases their raw energy and gives you a glimpse into the power of their live show. “Ultimately an energetic offering, 'Vertigo' soars this Wellington group to new heights and offers an exciting glimpse into the impending Ghost Who Walks EP in 2018 - fun grooves ahead!" - Tiana Speter, thesoundcheck.org.

Visit the muzic.net.nz Profile for Ghost Who Walks


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