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  • Oakley Grenell - Gig Review: Oakley Grenell @ Dux Central, Christchurch - 19/01/2020

Oakley Grenell - Gig Review: Oakley Grenell @ Dux Central, Christchurch - 19/01/2020

20 Jan 2020 // A review by Gareth Heta
Coming off the back of supporting his latest single Serious Time across a series of NZ dates over the last month, Oakley Grenell graced the Dux Central courtyard alongside brother Redford on drums and Peter Flemming on double bass. Taking a stripped back approach to some staples from his back catalogue, it was the perfect soundtrack to a sunny Sunday afternoon, amid the bubble of a rejuvenated Christchurch inner city.

Starting with a nice clean strat sound (and plucking some familiar riffs, including Yellow Ledbetter by Pearl Jam), a lovely acoustic double bass boom, and surprisingly crisp percussion for an open space, the trio moved through a series of originals from various OG projects. Departure Lounge tunes featured heavily, opening with a jazzy, freeform jam, followed by a pair of afrobeats-influenced songs.

In the first, a bouncy off-beat strum with minor chord, proggy-ish elements mutated into a rockier affair, with a cleverly constructed drum solo section where the guitar and bass traded off with the drums, each time featuring a different style or tempo break. On the other, a fast shuffling beat induced plenty of head-bops and tapping feet, before switching gears with a cheeky octaved/wah solo by OG, again sneaking in little familiar riffs that had the band members smiling in acknowledgment.

OG used his pedalboard to subtle but noticeable effect on another Departure Lounge tune called Do Whatever (from the 2009 LP In Session) which also featured a double-time change-up - this free-flowing approach to genre, moving easily between a fusion of soul, jazz, blues, reggae and funk, kept the lengthy songs from getting repetitive, taking the listener on a journey. Another OG project, the short-lived Otautahi Allstars, was represented by a tune called Mosquito, an upbeat instrumental with a cheeky wah solo.

An absolute highlight was a rendition of the Ladi 6-penned Change For The Better from the Uncharted LP: opening with a gentle strum/picked intro, OG’s soulful vocal turned nostalgic then defiant as the song progressed to southern rocking stomp, afterwards acknowledging the influence of “Stevey, Jimmy, and BB King.”

You couldn’t ask for much better for a free acoustic set from these accomplished local musicians - OG has been active for 2 decades now and it shows in his laid-back but professional vibe and impeccable skills. Make sure to catch him next time he’s back in town.

Rating: ( 4 / 5 )
 

About Oakley Grenell

Oakley Grenell's debut Jungle Jazz CD release titled 'Jaded' has been in stores since April 2002 under the name OG. The EP was released on Oakley's own Central Records.

Highlights since the release have been:

- A nomination for the Most Promising New Act for the 2002 BNet New Zealand Music Awards.

Visit the muzic.net.nz Profile for Oakley Grenell

Releases

The Deep
Year: 2014
Type: Album
Moving On
Year: 2008
Type: EP
Departure Lounge Live
Year: 2005
Type: Album
Uncharted
Year: 2003
Type: Album
Jaded
Year: 2002
Type: Album

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