28 Feb 2020
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Gig Review: Grant Haua Trio @ Jack Dusty's, Tauranga - 03/07/2019

16 Jul 2019 // A review by Corinne Rutherford

Tauranga’s musical landscape is constantly changing and evolving, new bands morph from old bands, they get bigger and they get smaller. Some of the musicians have been around since the 1970's/80's and some are just starting out, many disappear only to re-emerge years later in a different guise. So, I was honoured to be invited to sit in on the Grant Haua Trio at their band practice session. One of Tauranga’s latest musical triads to hit the gig circuit.

This is real sexy sounding original rocking blues. These guys are seasoned musicians and well known to many, they have been around for a long time. Grant Haua ex-Swamp Thing is a local legend of rich and soulful blues. Brian Franks of such bands as Briilleaux and Toner, Franks And Beano is brilliant on the bass guitar. Jeff Nilson drummer for The Shirleybyrds and Electric Universe rounds off the tight trio perfectly.

The three friends from way back told me that they “hooked up at a party”, decided to “have a jam” and the rest was history. They have the time at present to dedicate to the newly formed band and dedicated they are judging by the disciplined way they conduct their practice. No such thing as “she’ll be right” in the way these guys play, professionalism and an obvious passion for the creative process of making music shine through.

The Grant Haua Trio are filling a void in our local music scene by offering locals exceptional funky blues music twice a month at the popular boutique beer establishment The Hop House. The hint of an album is on the cards, so there is plenty to get excited about.

Grant is magic to watch, the way he plays his guitar is rather mesmerising. It is far different watching and hearing musicians in what is essentially a lounge room setting, not a pub, club or venue. You get to see and hear everything without distraction. What was very obvious to me was the love and joy music brings to Grant, at times I saw him get lost in the music. That love radiates through in his guitar playing, vocals and harmonica.  

Brian has also been on the local music scene for number of years; widely known for his base guitar Skills playing in the high energy British style Rhythm and Blues band Brilleaux. Brian had contacted me earlier in the week with an invitation for me to sit in on the bands practice session. I am pretty lucky to have the opportunity to hear them up close and personal. Brian’s bass playing and vocals complemented Grant very well. I don’t play guitar, but if I did I reckon it would be a bass, I admire the rich warm chords produced and Brian did that effortlessly enhancing the funky blues sound.

0Jeff was the only one out of the three I didn’t recall seeing perform live although I knew of him through The Shirleybyrds and more recently drumming for Electric Universe. He provides the rhythm section for the trio and is sounding pretty tight. I look forward to hearing him play on a full kit.

The band will be playing a mix of Swamp Thing tracks which have been collaboratively restructured as The Grant Haua Trio. Collectively the trio have nine songs in their repertoire within the three months they have been jamming together, however Grant wrote all the lyrics and melodies for the numbers. We are also going to be hearing some of Grants latest solo recordings in the mix at the upcoming gigs.

The very next Wednesday at my local drinking establishment Jack Dusty’s, I was invited along to the Tauranga Blues Jam. The boys are giving Tauranga a sneak peek of what they have been working on.

This was an opportunity for me to see them in action as a trio out in the field (so to speak) and get some photos to go with my article. As some people have described it was “next level” for the trio. The boys wowed us; there is a natural cohesion in the way they play together and a slick delivery. Like I mentioned earlier on the article. Mesmerizing.

There is tangible excitement for the 20th of July, when they unleash the full force of their awesomeness on Tauranga. It has been a privilege hanging out with these guys the last few weeks. I have not only come to know them and their music, but also my eyes have been well and truly opened to the wider Tauranga blues community.


Photos courtesy of Corinne Rutherford/Pixel Faerie Photography

 

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