16 Feb 2019
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Plum Green - Gig Review: Plum Green @ Whammy Bar, Auckland - 1/02/2019

08 Feb 2019 // A review by Sarah Sampson

Occasionally a show happens where every single performance artist is on fire, performing from the soul, baring everything, connecting with the audience and feeding off the audience, in that magical, etheric zone where performing artist and audience becomes one. Right from the first note of Shoddy the crowd was dancing, their attentions on the various rituals occurring before them. When I reminisce on this night a few things come to mind - the happy energy that encompassed everyone in that room, the smiles, the hugs (and not just the 100 or so I was lucky enough to have, but everyone seemed to be hugging - like one giant family reunion).

Shoddy had the unenviable job of opening the night - that slot no-one wants to play! They had an easy job on Friday, however as the crowd were lapping up their quirky stage presence and experimental sounds right from the first note. It was the first time I saw them (or had heard their name) and normally I stand back for the first few songs while reviewing but I was drawn to the front row during the first song. Shoddy is a four piece hailing from Auckland and after practising for a year or so, have only just recently started performing, which I was stunned to find out. They were a polished, quirky, united, eclectic soul and it seemed like they switched between structured songs and jams effortlessly. Every limb is an instrument with Shoddy and I don’t remember ever seeing a group with clapping, slapping and finger clicking - I’m struggling to find words for this section of the set, like a break down almost but instead of being heavy on the drums and bass, every member hit their guitars, or clicked their fingers and while it was both strange and unique it was also powerful and attention grabbing too. Shoddy is a band to be watched and I can’t wait for their new music, rumoured to be out later this year.

If Shoddy set the stage and warmed up the crowd then His Masters Voice took the crowd on fast, writhing, out of body, journey. I’ve seen His Masters Voice many times and although since I last saw them I have seen well over 200 bands in three months, there is something addictive about them and this set was something else. Writing this I had to close my eyes to take myself back to their set, to the feelings they invoked in me and I’m instantly filled with warmth. No His Masters Voice set is the same, other than high octane energy interspersed with one or two soulful ballads. Friday night’s set was no different, but those JAMS!! Often instrumental jam sessions can get lost on a crowd, unless you have someone like Slash, on stage with you but tonight they were channeling all the lost greats - Hendrix, Lemmy, Jon Bonham and Jessie's vocals were almost tear inducing (I can’t even think of one person who comes close to his vocals - there have been many great singers lost but Jessie's voice is his own). I spent this entire set up the front, other than filming their introductory jam session which was out of this world. His Masters Voice needs bigger stages, bigger crowds, bigger production, bigger and more - they are a band that once the right people hear it are going to take the world by storm.

After their first song’s one of my friends exclaimed loudly ‘THIS is the good shit’ and I’d have to agree wholeheartedly! His Masters Voice will be a global name, we saw them first New Zealand family!

After the high intensity of the opening acts it was time to take a step back. I remember checking the forecasted temperature for the night when I was getting ready and I still wasn’t prepared for the furnace like conditions - especially during His Masters Voice’s set with over 150 people dancing and writhing.

While the crowd wasn’t dancing and writhing up a storm like the previous acts there wasn’t any empty space in front of Plum Green, and everyone was transfixed and absorbed by her presence and stunning voice. I was so excited to finally be seeing Plum live as all of the times she has played in Auckland, before now, had either sold out before I could get a ticket, or I wasn’t in town.

Plum's gothic, almost morbid imagery of her songs is almost the antithesis of what the music sounds like. Her song Cannibal is one of my favourites and the lyrics wouldn’t go amiss in a Death Metal or Grindcore band but with Plum’s often sweet voice and teasing almost folkish music the lyrics brought a somewhat comedic element. While Plum is small in stature and softly spoken, when she sings you can’t help but stop and stare. I kept trying to take notes and put into words my feelings, but I kept feeling bad for having my phone in my hands. Plum and her band are serious musicians who tour the world a lot. I didn’t know what to expect with their set, not having seen any live videos (I try to not watch them before seeing an artist for the first time as it kind of ruins the surprise for me) but Plum is going to be a new addiction for me, I can tell and now that I’ve seen one of her shows I am already looking forward to the next time I can get my live fix, I wonder what country our paths will cross in next.


Photos courtesy of Chris Morgan Photography

 

About Plum Green

Born in a squat in Brixton, growing up in New Zealand and presently residing in Melbourne, Australia, Plum Green combines elements of folk, grunge, goth, and post-rock with her dark lyrical prose. With a focus on crafting intimate live shows her performances are striking and uplifting. Plum's musical releases have been described as a collection of dark textures with lyricism containing intriguing subject matter. Described as luscious, dark and deeply literate, Plum Green's music and lyrics have always had this mix of youthful wisdom, naïve worldliness, a corrupt innocent, which makes them heady and intriguing. Plum has released three EP's – Plum Green, The Red, Karma and the album Rushes.

Plum and her band recently finished recording a full-length album at the all-analogue Sound Recordings studio in Castlemaine. They have released the first single from this album Baby Bird, and named the album Sound Recordings after the studio they recorded in. Baby Bird is available now as a digital single, as well as a 7” record which includes the b-side Little Black Pain on Bandcamp. Sound Recordings will be released in February 2019 on a variety of digital formats on the internet. Physical sales (CDs) of Sound Recordings will be released in New Zealand in February with two performances in the major New Zealand cities of Wellington and Auckland. Plum and the band also have plans for a second European tour in 2020.


Visit the muzic.net.nz Profile for Plum Green

Releases

Sound Recordings
Year: 2018
Type: Album
Karma
Year: 2016
Type: EP
Rushes
Year: 2012
Type: Album
Live Acoustic
Year: 2011
Type: EP
The Red
Year: 2010
Type: EP

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