17 Oct 2019
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Albi & The Wolves - Gig Review: Albi & The Wolves @ Kakaramea Hall - 27/07/2019

14 Aug 2019 // A review by Emily Riordan
Alt-folk trio Albi & The Wolves, led by vocalist and guitarist Chris Dent, have been making waves throughout New Zealand in the last several years - and for good reason. They brought their show to Kakaramea Hall, just south of Hawera in Taranaki, supported by Swiss-Kiwi loop artist Sonic Delusion.


Tonight the hall is set with long tables and a dance floor, with a lot of wine and big plates of nibbles going around. The stage is lit, and everybody is seated - it feels very grassroots.


Sonic Delusion (Andre Manella), is a one man band and is constantly adding new pedals and instruments to his setup. He opens with a track from his new album, and while it takes a minute or two to build to a full band sound, he has the crowd in the palm of his hand by the end of those few minutes. Sonic Delusion's sound is often described as "too folk for funky; too funky for folk", and that really sums it up perfectly: his set is made up of what might be considered modern folk music if not for relentless electronic drums and funky wah-heavy guitar riffs driving the songs.

It's about half and half old favourites and new Sonic Delusion tracks - and the new ones are exciting. He experiments with different ways of building the songs, including one based around keys rather than guitar, and another beginning with a sample. These new numbers, while still having that well known and loved Sonic Delusion flavour, are distinctly lighter feeling than the older ones - more mature and optimistic.

Then Albi & The Wolves take the stage, beginning their first set with a violin solo from the immensely talented and charismatic Pascal Roggen. The three of them - Dent, Roggen, and bassist Michael Young (playing a stylish upright) - have a very comfortable and effortless stage presence together, and their performance is very polished. Their harmonies sit perfectly, and they play with such energy and rhythm that to add a drummer would be unnecessary. Again, these songs could certainly be considered folk, but it's the excellent and exciting arrangements that give Albi & The Wolves their edge. It's like Mumford & Sons lite with a reformed crooner taking the lead.

Between songs Albi & the Wolves are chatting away to each other and the audience, even getting them involved in the songs. After a brief interval they return for their second set, which they've promised will be a hoedown - and they deliver! Classics like Pink Floyd's Another Brick in the Wall and the Black Keys' Lonely Boy are reimagined as stomping country numbers, and the entire crowd is on their feet in no time. We are treated to a round of solos that really drives home the calibre of these musicians.

It's a wonderful night out that began as a small town concert and ramped up to a full barn dance in the space of only a few hours. Albi & The Wolves' and Sonic Delusion's styles are very complementary and it's easy to have a great time with both.

 

About Albi & The Wolves

This is folk music, but not as you know it. Pulling inspiration from a wide spectrum of genres, from swing to bluegrass, soul, R&B, rock and world music, Albi and The Wolves offer a decadent serving of double bass, banjo, and fiddle accompanied by Albi's smooth vocal stylings. These elements come together to create both a potent foot stomping rhythm and a captivating music and stage presence never experienced before.

With this love and respect of music in all its forms, Albi and The Wolves not only offer vibrant and refreshing original songs which burst open the seams of traditional folk music, but they also inject their signature sound into modern classics from artists as diverse as Micheal Jackson, and Pink Floyd.

Since the band's formation in 2014, they have excelled in New Zealand's live music scene, pulling in large crowds with their unique performance style, making it irresistible to dance.

Visit the muzic.net.nz Profile for Albi & The Wolves

Releases

One Eye Open
Year: 2016
Type: Album

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