26 Aug 2019

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Villainy - Villany @ The Powerstation, Auckland - 27/07/2019

31 Jul 2019 // A review by Lou Clement
The Powerstation was packed and as the clocked ticked on, the anticipation felt almost palpable. Villainy were there to play the last date on their tour, which was named after their new and third album Raised In The Dark, which, four years after the last one, was unleashed into the hands of their fans only three weeks prior.

Villainy's album reviews have been more than positive, gushing at times, and it seems the fans agree; a buzz of excitement laced the crowd, including a burgeoning mosh pit. The crowd were well warmed up after two excellent support acts Dead Favours and Sit Down in Front.

First up were newcomers Sit Down in Front. These Gisborne punk rockers made it to the top of list to support the band via Smokefreerockquest, the longstanding nationwide music event, supporting young musicians. The four-piece took to the stage with their catchy punk songs, catching the attention of the crowd and setting the scene for an intense night of music. They were abrasive, fun and included a singalong to the Ghostbusters theme tune, we were all ready for rock and Sit Down in Front provided a metaphorical shakedown – in that way that punk gets your attention, yes we really were present.

They were followed by main support act Dead Favours, whose raucous blend of heavy guitar and drums had the crowd moshing and dancing in equal amounts. Vocalist Jared Wrennall reminded me of the Killers front man Brandon Flowers. Their sound is heavier though but reflects a flexibility in Wrennall’s vocals that lends itself both to heavier rock sounds and more pop-influenced intonations. This band were new to me, I was pleasantly surprised. There are nods to some of my favourite bands, especially when the drums ramped up and bass was pummelled. They played music from their recently released first album Misbehavior. The title track Misbehaviour is a foot stomping, smasher, with vocals, that almost scream at you over heavier riffs. Another, great opener.

The gig took place, to me, in a venue at the heart of the Auckland music scene; but it felt intimate for a band like Villainy, whose sound is anthemic by design and who moved around the stage all the way to the edges, addressing the crowd and really performing, rather than just playing. What makes their sound attractive to me is the emotion in their lyrics and vocals. Their songwriting, which probably demands some soul searching, comes out sounding glorious; it feels like an epiphany delivered through a cathartic process. That works for me.

They made a big sound and there was theatricality to their performance in not only how they dress, but also the way they play together: orchestrated as one instrument at times. And of course, confetti and inflatables, what every gig needs! As a front man, Neill Fraser has it all. He flew across the stage nimbly, playing to the crowd: the front row, the stalls and even to those, like me, at the back. During the opening songs, Fraser warned us we were in for a long night. In the press, the band had said their 10-track album had been whittled down from the choice of 100 songs (I’m waiting for that deluxe edition), I can’t imagine the hard work and preparation that has gone into getting to that moment, live front of the baying Auckland crowd. Villainy's intention was obvious to the start: to give the fans an amazing night of music and performance, face to face. Amongst the long set, with tracks from all three albums I particularly enjoyed heavier track Syria which vibrated through the crowd, as well as Ammunition, Alligator Skin and the closing track, Safe Passage.

This was a night of music in which were bathed in the luxuriant sound of rock: Villainy's antecedents were some of the most successful bands around, and yet they sewed together an original sound. This tour gave the fans a chance to see their continuing energy and commitment to their performances.

Photos courtesy of Nikita Weir/Antonia Pearl Photography


About Villainy

vill·uh·nee /?vil?nç/
Noun: 1. The actions or conduct of a villain; outrageous wickedness.
2. Maniacal rock band from Auckland, New Zealand.

Visit the muzic.net.nz Profile for Villainy


Raised In The Dark
Year: 2019
Type: Album
Buy Online @ Mightyape
Dead Sight
Year: 2015
Type: Album
Buy Online @ Mightyape
Mode. Set. Clear.
Year: 2012
Type: Album

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