25 Mar 2019

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Soaked Oats - Gig Review: Soaked Oats @ Whammy Bar, Auckland - 19/01/2019

24 Jan 2019 // A review by Lou Clement

Dunedin-based Soaked Oats took the stage on a warm Saturday evening, as part of their Shuggah Doom tour. The four piece are made up of lead vocalist Oscar Mein, guitarist Henry Francis, Max Holmes on bass and Conor Feehly on drums. Whammy Bar on K Road, was full to capacity for the gig and the anticipation was palpable.

I was looking forward to seeing the band because they created music that has a wide-array of influences and despite this, they still sound original. There’s stylistic confidence to their songs and I learnt tonight, to their performance too. The crowd were rowdy, it’s clear they have a devoted following, as the audience danced and sang along. When they played Stoned Fruit as one of their opening tracks, I was carried along with their happy-go-lucky melodies and laid back lyrical style.

The band have variously been described as new wave/synth influenced, billed as sludge pop and as indie rock. I’m going to add to that and call them experimental and alternative. They are a collage of influences and that’s what makes them appealing. There’s plenty of sing-along songs as well as atmospheric and quirky compositions. Often the tone of the music varies, but they have their own particular sound which unites every track. This is in part because of the distinctive vocals of Oscar Mein and also because of the super-catchy lead guitar.

As the gig progressed I particularly enjoyed the slow build of Houdini. Mein was charismatic; the fans were attentive, if a little noisy. We all sat down for one song and in the low-ceiling compact venue, this was a perfect opportunity to get a good look at the band. Some of the songs have an introspective and psychedelic feel to them. A perfect summer soundtrack: where the music is lingering and chilled. It was a solid performance, and an insight into the varied back catalogue of a much-loved band.

Soaked Oats continue to tour and will be appearing at festivals and venues in Australia and New Zealand throughout February.



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