19 Sep 2021
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L.A.B. - Gig Review: L.A.B @ Coroglen Tavern, Coroglen - 28/12/2019

05 Jan 2020 // A review by Gaby Ivanov-Giraldo
It couldn’t have been a better day for it. The sun was radiant, and the energy was high. The local bus drove us all to Coroglen just in time for the opening band. All of us were, of course, singing Tutira Mai Nga Iwi along the way. I could already tell this was going to be a wholesome experience.

The lively crowd had clearly been soaking in some NZ sun on arrival; there were friends from all over greeting one another in embrace. There was a feeling of warmth, earth and laughter; pounamu in plenty, with party shirts and colour everywhere. I instantly saw what all the fuss was about; this venue’s vibe was something different.

Having been a gifted band for over four years now, also named by Radio New Zealand as “New Zealand’s best Live Act”, L.A.B have become one of New Zealand’s most loved and most sought after live experiences of high-energy music the country has to give. Combining elements of reggae, dub, roots reggae, funk, electronic, blues and bits of country, it’s clear why this eclectic cohort is a Kiwi summer staple.

The mood was set perfectly by homegrown artists Soaked Oats and Mako Road, showcasing a local take on the summerly sound popularised by acts such as Sticky Fingers.

A deep red ambience lit the foreground as L.A.B entered the stage. They opened with an elegant, minor blues Mark Knopfler-esque intro. About three minutes in on the melody, there was a moody and heavy sound of Joel Shadbolt’s delayed guitar echoing the stage; with no delay in the crowd hitting the floor. We then witnessed the hefty beauty of Ara Adams-Tamatea’s reggae bass and the soulful synth and keys of Stu Kora. The spirit is set off in a rampant rhythm, with close to 2,000 people filling the sold-out show.

They played a glorious set; after opening with She’s Gone, they followed with the deep grooves of Rocketship. Then came the percussive guitar and resonant sounding voice box featured in Fashion Dread, and the descending bass-driven sound of Hands Up; where Stu, distinctive in his yellow tee, got a big crowd reaction with his energy on keys. Songs following included Personify and Ain’t No Use which had a majestic transition into well-known stomper Umulash. The most beautiful moment of the night was definitely their tribute to White Island where they played Controller and all that could be seen was a blanket of torches, lighters and swaying hands. This song really showcased the ability of Joel’s comforting grasp on the audience, and homely feeling the band emits.

Back in motion, Stu gets thrown a hat and smashes the groove to Shadows. Next, they played The Watchman, showcasing the intricate and dynamic drumming of legend Brad Kora. In The Air was played, a big hit off their successful new album L.A.B III, followed closely by Baby Will You Let Me where Miharo Gregory kills the bubble and skank. The entire night started and ended in a party and L.A.B’s live musicianship can be counted as nothing short of spectacular.

Rating: ( 5 / 5 )
 

About L.A.B.

The pedigree and musicianship of L.A.B. is undeniable.

L.A.B. was founded by the legendary Kora brothers Brad (drums) and Stu (guitar, keys) and quickly engaged the extraordinary talent of Joel Shadbolt on lead vocals & guitar and Ara Adams-Tamatea from the mighty Katchafire on bass.

The L.A.B. sound is one which has seen them quickly become a fan favourite on the New Zealand live circuit – trademark Kora grooves combining with Adams-Tamatea’s reggae/dub experience, and Shadbolt’s blues roots to create a sound entirely their own. Each member brings their own individual styles to the table, and the result is an eclectic mix of reggae, electronic, blues, funk, and reggae, even heading into country at points.

Visit the muzic.net.nz Profile for L.A.B.

Releases

L.A.B. IV
Year: 2020
Type: Album
L.A.B. III
Year: 2019
Type: Album
L.A.B. II
Year: 2018
Type: Album
L.A.B.
Year: 2017
Type: Album

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