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Albi & The Wolves - Gig Review: Albi and the Wolves @ Room Twenty5, Nelson

26 Oct 2019 // A review by jacquiew

Auckland-based trio Albi and the Wolves have made a real impression on the festival scene both here and overseas, especially since their Best Folk Artist of the Year Tui Award win in 2018. Just days ago, the group were named in the line-up for WOMAD 2020, a well-deserved nod for the very hardworking and talented Chris Dent, Micheal Young, and Pascal Roggen.

Friday night's gig came off the back of a challenging day which included a 'missing in action' guitar (every musician's nightmare when they give their instrument over to baggage handlers) and was also near their end of their tour to release their latest album This Is War. While the group always bring a great collective musicianship to the stage there was some fatigue evident in Chris Dent's vocals and his overall energy during the first set. However, this group are nothing if not professional and they soon set about lifting themselves and the audience out of whatever setbacks had been experienced earlier in the day.

When the harmonies came in to support Dent from Roggen and Young the material felt more secure and stable. It really is a treat to hear the three performers singing together. Roggen's mesmerising skill on violin was a highlight as ever. He plays with such commitment, sensitivity and true touch. It's a delight to behold.  

Dent is a very able songwriter and the material from the new album is every bit as good as that on their breakthrough album One Eye Open. A lovely moment during the first set was when Keeli, who opened the night with Bo, joined the feature act to duet with Dent on a song from Albi and the Wolves new album which features Looking for Alaska. Keeli's singing was every bit as good as the recorded version. 

The absolute highlight of the night for me, however, was Story off the new album This Is War. Story is an anthem for the broken-hearted everywhere. Songs with that kind of power do unfortunately take a personal toll on the writer, whose life experience provides the creative spark. Next time I see the band it would be lovely to hear that Dent is happy in love. He certainly got a fair amount of ribbing from his bandmates throughout the concert for his succession of heartbreaks.

The second set was much stronger than the first, featuring a rollicking It Ain't Easy the first single to be released off the new album. Lonely Boy was also excellent and Closing Time featured a tongue in cheek and highly entertaining duel between Roggen on violin and Bo from the opening act on guitar. Settle Down ended the set before the group came back for an encore and delivered a gorgeous cover of Man of Constant Sorrow that got several members of the crowd up and dancing.

Albi and the Wolves are a wonderful act both live and in the studio and it's well worth heading to see them and buying their music. Hopefully Dent can soon rest his voice a little in preparation for what's sure to be a busy summer and a fantastic New Year for one of Aotearoa/New Zealand's most beloved folk acts.


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


Light After The Dark
Year: 2023
Type: Album
This Is War
Year: 2019
Type: Album
One Eye Open
Year: 2016
Type: Album
I Will Not Be Broken
Year: 2015
Type: EP

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