18 Feb 2020
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The Feelers - Gig Review: The Feelers @ Bay Park Arena, Tauranga - 20/12/2019

22 Dec 2019 // A review by Brendan McCarthy

An enthusiastic crowd of approx. 300 forty-somethings turned out to see Tauranga installment of The Feelers tour with Stellar* and Tablefox. Not bad numbers considering the time of year and the workload imposed as such.

The opportunity to see Stellar* play live was the obvious attraction for most and could not be passed over, as the last time that Boh Runga and band came to town cannot be recalled by most of the people that I spoke to.

The Stadium Lounge at Bay Park Arena is playing host to more of these mid-size rock shows in recent times and the venue is brilliant. Parking for 1k vehicles, easy venue access and a well laid out performance space with stage at one end, bar in the middle and toilets at the back. A pleasure indeed.

Clearly, the crowd have paid to see two well established legacy acts but it was great to see Auckland five-piece Tablefox receive such a warm welcome. The band have been on the live scene for a few years now and have achieved some notable success landing some air-play with Radio Hauraki and supports for international acts James, The Charlatans and City Calm Down. Tablefox delivered a well thought out set of their brand of “Alt-Rock Guitar Anthemia” effortlessly playing through their songs and interacting with the crowd to warm up the evening. The standout tracks for this reviewer were Something Better from their 2015 debut album Objects, and their latest offering Always Always. The band also dispatched some admirable moments of diversity by launching a fine version of “Heroes” by David Bowie and breaking into a few bars of I Wanna Be Sedated by The Ramones. A great start to the evening.

After a short break to switch out all the technical stuff, Stellar* emerge from a plume of red smoke to a waiting crowd. The familiar figure of Boh Runga commanded from centre stage and the band got down to business. Stellar* still have their polished sound that they are known for and it closely matches their studio tone, aided by the use of backing synth tracks to assist in ensuring that the magic is delivered. The band warmed up at their own pace, playing some of their lesser known tracks with the crowd clearly engaged, but waiting for the hits. Boh’s voice is still as strong as it ever was and it is not long before she unleashes her range with the familiar tracks Part of Me and Undone. The band have recently re-released their debut album Mix on Vinyl and Boh presented a copy to the crowd, commenting on her hair style from 1998 to great applause. With the majority of the crowd clearly over forty, it is a well-related conversation. The set continues with songs What You Do (Bastard) and a great version of Sharon O’Neill’s Maxine that the group played at the 2017 Music Awards. The band have clearly left the best until last and round out their set with the magnificent Violent, that has the entire room shaking and singing every word. An excellent set from one of our great legacy artists.

Another short pause for a trip to the bar and all things technical to be set-up and it is time for the one and only The Feelers.The lads are in a good mood, as they appear from backstage dancing around and having fun. James Reid's voice appears over the microphone as he announces, “this was our first single”. The familiar opening sequence of Pressure Man begins, and the band launches into their set with the crowd lifting in an instant, united in the common bond that is Rock n Roll. The mix is good and the guitars are sounding magic. James' voice is on point tonight, and The Feelers are at work doing what they do so well. Most of us have seen this band before, so there are no major surprises and we know what to expect. They are a part of NZ music history with their songs embedded into our lives - that is a fact. Their set is bulges with all the hits and the crowd are in top gear singing along. Communicate, Astronaut, One World, As Good as it Gets, Fishing for Lisa, Space Cadet, Supersystem, Arm, Weapons of the War; the list goes on. With a back catalogue of this depth and magnitude, there are so many great songs to call on when required. James Reid proves to us once again that songwriting will always prevail over popularity, trend and public opinion. The night is completed with the magical ballads Stand Up and the main crowd-pleaser Venus. The Feelers are the masters of NZ Contemporary Rock.

Long may they continue.

 

About The Feelers

Schoolboy friends James Reid and Hamish Gee started a legacy that is hard to match. Twentyfive years ago they formed one of our best-loved bands The Feelers and started on a journey that has spawned catalogue of some of the greatest songs written in New Zealand. They truly are a household name.

Along the way they have amassed some remarkable statistics, a quarter of a million albums sold, five multi-platinum albums, five number one albums, seven number one singles, the largest selling NZ band ever signed by Warner Music NZ in their 48 year history, 5 NZ Music Awards, 3 APRA most played song of the year awards and more radio airplay than any other New Zealand artist or band since radio stats began in 1999.

The Feelers have gone from busking on street corners to becoming pioneers of the Kiwi music industry, thanks largely to the song writing genius of James Reid.

Visit the muzic.net.nz Profile for The Feelers

Releases

Hope Nature Forgives
Year: 2011
Type: Album
The Best Of '98 - '08
Year: 2008
Type: Album
One World
Year: 2006
Type: Album
Playground Battle
Year: 2003
Type: Album
Communicate
Year: 2001
Type: Album
Supersystem
Year: 1998
Type: Album
Buy Online @ Mightyape

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