20 Mar 2019
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Jon Toogood - Gig Review: Jon Toogood @ Anthology Lounge, Auckland - 31/01/2019

01 Feb 2019 // A review by Paul Goddard

It’s pretty apt that Jon Toogood is playing at Anthology Lounge. Kind of sums up the whole vibe of his acoustic tour.

Here is a guy playing a collection of songs and telling stories in a laid back environment. This is Jon Toogood though, so we aren’t expecting a set of Barry Manilow covers.

As iconic in NZ as some of the pictures of Rockstars that grace the walls of this excellent fairly new venue on Auckland’s Krd Jon is greeted with a cheer as he flashes a smile and tunes his two guitars while the few of us lucky enough to be here tonight move closer to the stage. 

If you haven’t checked Anthology Lounge out yet it out yet make sure you do. It has an intimacy and coolness in contrast to the hustle and bustle of the street outside. It has a great set up if you are in a band as well.

Jon is one of the best front-men in the world. That he sings songs every night with the same passion as when he first wrote them is testament to this.

He approaches this acoustic show in the same way. Everything with Jon is 100% or it isn’t worth doing

He starts the show with So You Think You're So Free from the excellent FVEY album. Its intensity isn't lost, and the words ring home loud and true. I would love to see a full on MTV unplugged version of this whole album (Jon make it happen)

Next up we are in familiar sing a long territory with a stripped down version of Run. Jon is relaxed and encouraging everyone to join in. A familiar but equally passionate cover over Reckless is next. He stops the song when one enthusiastic member of the crowd sings the wrong line. These little interactions warm up the venue. These acoustic gigs celebrate the power of song, where someone just plays a guitar in a bar and people start singing along.

It is a different set to last time he was round. I was at the Kings Arms last time and whilst it was awesome I do prefer the chilled out vibe tonight. After Brightest Star from General Electric we get another cover. This time it is Bliss by Th' Dudes and after Jon describes them as sounding like the Sex Pistols and The Rolling Stones. He does it justice and of course by the end everyone in the room is singing. The energy levels are picking up.

The first surprise song of the set is by Aldous Harding from her album Party, which Jon says is the best NZ album he has heard in the past 5 years. Horizon is haunting and powerful. The room is silent, listening, captivated. One of the highlights of tonight's show. 

Next highlight is Victoria by The Exponents. Jon tells a story about how he couldn't believe a band from New Zealand had created a song like this. I remember the first time I heard Victoria was on the Jon Peel show in the UK and I thought for years that they were from the UK. Same with Straitjacket Fits.... anyhow back to the gig.

Pacifier gets a huge cheer and it is great hearing the stories about how these songs and their parts were created. Jon is giving it all with spittle flying from his mouth as his vocals soar. 

After a few more familiar Kiwi and Aussie covers we get David Bowie's Ziggy Stardust. Honestly one of the best versions I have heard. He catches the energy of the song perfectly. You will never see Jon just "going through the motions" when he performs. He breaks a string, grabs his second guitar and just keeps playing. Seeing one of my favourite artists playing one of my favourite songs by another musical legend is a moment I won't forget. 

In another last minute twist Jon adds a song to the set after a guy who requested it via Facebook is front of stage and calls it out Everyday I Wake Up which he wrote with Julia Deans as The Adults. It's a cool moment prefaced by an hilarious story about how Jon was on the loo when he got the message from the guy now standing stage front. 

Home Again is the closer and everyone leaves with a smile on their face. Many still singing as they walk out onto Krd. Jon is an entertainer, one of the best, he is funny talented and naturally connects with everyone. If you haven't got a ticket for these intimate shows yet make sure you do. 


Photos courtesy of Chris Morgan Photography

 

About Jon Toogood

NZ music legend, and guitarist and vocalist for Shihad and The Adults.




Visit the muzic.net.nz Profile for Jon Toogood

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