18 Feb 2020
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Festival Review: Good Vibes @ Soundshell, Gisborne - 11/01/2020

16 Jan 2020 // A review by Jason Peters
Good Vibes was a packed-out festival with lots of very 'happy' people, after soaking up the rays and many beverages and other herbs I suspect the audience was certainly in good vibes alright. We headed over to Three Houses Down featuring General Fiyah (pictured); their brand of soul reggae was received well and their monster hit Love & Affection went over well with the enthusiastic crowd. To my ears they did a good job bringing in the sunny reggae vibes and especially nailing their cracking cover of Pass The Dutchie that really got the crowd grooving.

Next up was Tomorrow People, definitely not my cuppa tea this RnB/Pop hybrid Reggae set featuring female vocals by a heavily pregnant Hamo Dell singing in a Mariah Carey style, although not my buzz the crowd were enjoying their set. A highlight for me was the track Souljah Feeling, which had more of a roots vibe to the track.

House Of Shem (pictured) had a more traditional Roots/Reggae Marley vibe which I really enjoyed, their sound was crisp and punchy. The drummer was a total standout, good grooves with nice percussive playing. Take You There from 2013's Harmony album was my favourite as was the popular track Thinking About You.

It was time to go grab a whitebait fritter and a beverage; not everyone was in good vibes though as two guys fought on the ground in a drunken fight at my feet before two other dudes broke it up. Given the state of general inebriation of the crowd, I was surprised there weren't more fights, could have been the local police presence and friendly security staff that kept the nonsense down to a minimum? The said whitebait fritter was delicious though and I rejoined my wife for the next act.

Stan Walker (pictured) was up next and the Good Vibes audience was definitely his demographic. Winner of 2009's Australian Idol this seasoned performer stepped everything up with his energetic first track. I have to take my hat off to the man for his singing and performance chops. He is a great entertainer and the audience was well and truly hooked and along for the ride.

His track Aotearoa from 2014's Maori Language week really got the crowd pumping and singing along in unison. Take It Easy was also received well before Hamo Dell joined Stan for the track Choose, super cheesy but this crowd was lapping it up.

Stan also offered a brand new track which the chorus sounded suspiciously close to Destiny's Child's hit Say My Name, maybe it was a tribute? None the less it's an upbeat tune that gets the audience grooving. Hat's off to Stan's live band as well, the rhythm section, in particular, was in the pocket and performed well.

Up next was L.A.B. (pictured) a band that I was looking forward to seeing live for the first time, I'm a fan of Kora and have seen Brad and Stu rock out NZ stages several times with that band, I'd heard L.A.B were also the business live so expectations were high.

Their show kicked off with a sweet bluesy guitar solo before blasting off into their funk-laden blues roots reggae hybrid of tunes. Standouts were In The Air, Controller, Ain't No Use, Personify and a beautiful version of For The Love Of Jane dedicated to the victims of the White Island tragedy, obligatory torches on phones swaying in unison filling the sound shell with light. L.A.B's lead singer Joel Shadbolt was sitting down due to his injuries received by a motorbike accident a few weeks earlier, injuring his left shoulder but it certainly didn't affect his vocal or guitar performance which was top-notch, the whole band delivered a high energy set equipped with bursts of steam and fireworks, L.A.B was easily my pick of the festival, a band well worth checking out this summer too.

The final headline act felt like a little out of place after L.A.B's high energy set and in my opinion, L.A.B. probably should have been the headliners, none the less the audience lapped up their sickly sweet pop-reggae tunes, not my flava at all, but this audience seemed to enjoy the Hawaiian reggae vibes that this band are well known for.

A major gripe for me was VIP tickets were required in order to get down closer to the stage, I assume those tickets cost more as well, the rest of us relegated to the cheap seats. Shame on the organisers, VIP should receive "an area" but not the entire front of the stage as a viewing preference? Copious vaping/smoking and a lot of very drunk patrons aside, this summer festival was enjoyable entertainment and a great summer release for the Gizzy locals and surrounding areas.


Photos courtesy of Ngamihi Photography

 

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