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  • The First Child - Gig Review: The First Child @ The Ding Dong Lounge, Auckland - 22/01/2021

The First Child - Gig Review: The First Child @ The Ding Dong Lounge, Auckland - 22/01/2021

24 Jan 2021 // A review by Kev Rowland

When I sent Mariner the review of their gig the previous week, singer Adam told me they were playing Ding Dong again on the Friday, so I thought to myself why not? So, for the second consecutive Friday I made my way into central Auckland to everyone’s favourite rock dive. The gig this week had been organised by Lily Mou from The First Child, with Mariner being the only band I knew on the bill. I caught up with some of the band beforehand, and it was also nice to see Aidan from On Tick and James from Black Sands showing their support for the event.

First band up were Club Ruby, a quintet who from the off provided loads of punky pop energy, with Wearing Me Out being really quite staccato and reminiscent of the early Eighties scene. The band were all working hard, but attention kept being drawn to singer Jade Lewis, who is determined to stand out in a crowd both visually and sonically. As she said at one point, “life is too short not to have crazy hair”, and vocally she kept reminding me of Siouxsie Sioux. Tonight, they were apparently featuring a few new numbers, and they did lose some of the pace and energy with slower songs, while there were times when Jade was singing a little sharp, something not so noticeable when they were blasting through at pace. Their cover of Paramore’s All I Wanted may not have been completely there, but the audience were having loads of fun. The band were having a blast and really enjoying what they were doing, and they are certainly an outfit I will be happy to go and see again. I must also make a mention of drummer Josh Johnston, as he not only kept it all together but was also wearing the coolest Abba t-shirt I have ever seen in my life!

Mariner were next up, returning to the venue where the week before they had definitely made a breakthrough, which had provided a massive boost to their confidence. I must admit to being a little disappointed in Cullen dialling down his sartorial elegance (last week it was Jesse from Cafe Fistfight, what is it with bassists?), but with the same set as the week before and a new-found belief in themselves, they were going to have fun and take the crowd along for the ride. Singer Adam seemed somewhat more animated, as the whole band are beginning to find their feet on stage, really starting to gel as a unit, and as they relax more and enjoy themselves so do the crowd. Right from opening number Treehouse Stories the crowd were with them, dancing and having fun, with plenty of energy both on and off the stage, while One Idea is proving to be a great up-tempo blast. Their version of All The Small Things is definitely a real crowd pleaser, as yet again they get everyone down onto the floor so they can all jump up on cue. Barman Regan, who apparently is a pop punk princess, turned to me after that and admitted it was a really solid version. They again closed with Vaype Nashe, and here was another job well done.

Next up were Dogtooth Amethyst, another band new to me, but as the guys started to set up their gear, I started to pay serious attention. The reason for that is the two guitarists, Joseph Macedo and Aaron Simpson, both had 8-strings attached while Jack Walker-Tate was confidently wearing a 6-string bass. It is generally a truism that musicians who are confident enough to play that sort of equipment are incredibly adept at what they do, meaning the music is often complex and complicated. I had undertaken some research and knew they listed themselves as a progressive metal band, which added to my expectations, and when I positioned myself in readiness to take a few photos I could see that drummer Keoghan Palmer was also setting himself up to be able to trigger some samples and backing tracks as well. Microphone stands were dispensed with, and up stepped singer Alanah Paige who said, “If you haven’t seen us before, well you are about to” and they crunched straight into Discipline. I am not sure what I was expecting from the band, given the line-up and instruments, but it wasn’t this. The band were full-on right from the off, get on board or get out of the way, with a determination to simply blast the audience into submission. Musically the band are producing multiple interweaving patterns of sound, often led by the rhythm section with guitars intermingling and taking it to the next level, and then there is Alanah. In many ways she reminds me of ex-Arch Enemy singer Angela Gossow, with really guttural sounds coming from the diaphragm, but when the time is right, she can also provide more normal vocals, often switching between the two in the same song, reminiscent of the approach of Rody Walker (Protest The Hero).

What really sets this band apart is amidst all the frenetic action and sheer brutality of what they are doing, is there is a real groove inherent in the sound. The set was only five songs long, but that was plenty of enough time for me to come away massively impressed. The use of some backing tracks at certain points allows them to add a few harmony vocals and some basic synth lines, and what this does is add polish on top of what is already a very tight unit indeed. There was nothing flash or fancy about the visual performance, with Alanah often being the focal point as she was the only one moving on what appeared to be a very crowded stage with pedalboards, this was all about the music which contained elements of SOAD, Sepultura, Arch Enemy and so many more. Definitely a band to keep an eye on as they deliver a real aggressive musical approach which grabs the audience from the off and never drops the pace.

I felt really sorry for The First Child, as tonight just was not their night. First off, they had expected to be playing much earlier than the time they made it onto the stage (11:30), and some of the audience had left by the time they got started. There was also a long changeover, and when they started there was obviously massive sound problems. Lily Mou gives his all, and the aggressive over the top approach of the band allows him to vent his venom, but the problem for most of the set was that it was impossible to hear him. For some reason, the vocals were not coming through, and even though they switched microphones, the audience were not getting the sound, and the bass was overly loud and drowning out most of the guitars. This meant that for all their energy and enthusiasm the crowd were just getting part of the overall sonic picture, and although those at the front could probably hear Lily just due to proximity, the rest of us had no chance. They had a guest singer jump on stage for their last number, Stupid Horse, and Lily took over Ariki’s bass, who also grabbed a microphone, but even though the twin vocalist approach looked great, we just could not hear what was taking place. I have been to numerous gigs at Ding Dong, and Dave is a great soundman, so I have no idea what was going on, and it was obvious there was little he could do to resolve it.

But overall, it was another great night at the Ding Dong Lounge, and there was no doubt who was band of the night tonight, as Dogtooth Amethyst just took the intensity to a whole new level.   


Photo credit: Kev Rowland

 

About The First Child

Since 2019, The First Child have made a name for themselves in the New Zealand local scene for their progressive approach in the realm of emo and hardcore favouring the use of technical musical stylings. Combining their love of emotional and experimental post-hardcore, alternative culture, Japanese music and the aesthetic of anime and video games, they have earned recognition as one of the forerunners of the New Zealand alternative scene for their uniqueness and undying commitment to the identity they have crafted for themselves.

With a heavy focus on nurturing their local scene; the band have made a name for themselves in the New Zealand local punk and metal scene due to their tireless work-ethic and progressive approach to their shows. This approach meant developing their local scene by any means necessary, such as mentoring younger bands, and building relationships with new venue owners across Auckland. After years of hard work, The First Child have become a cult classic in Auckland and there is not a single venue that they would struggle to fill with fans of vulnerable and emotional alternative music.


Visit the muzic.net.nz Profile for The First Child

Releases

Sincerely Yours
Year: 2022
Type: EP
Violent Delight
Year: 2020
Type: EP
Greying Into Bloom
Year: 2019
Type: EP

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