24 May 2022

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Danny McCrum - Gig Review: Noise Play @ Vic Theatre, Devonport - 18/03/2021

24 Mar 2021 // A review by Gaby Ivanov-Giraldo

Noise Play are a collaborative band and recording blueprint; a match-up of experience, talent, as well as friendship. The band co-writes and produces together, having released their first single Just A Little Bit during lockdown in Auckland, New Zealand. The band consists of Danny McCrum on guitar and vocals, Dan Antunovich on bass and vocals, Jasper de Roos on drums, and Stephen Small on keyboard.

These musicians make music for the love of it, yet carry a wealth of honed skill in live performance, production and composition that sets them apart from the rest. Starting with Danny McCrum, he has worked with and supported big artist names such as Eric Clapton, Tommy Emmanuel, Jeff Beck, John Mayer, Nora Jones and many more. Dan Antunovich has also worked with many great names such as Kenny Aronoff, Michael 'Fish' Herring, Brain Collier, Paul Allen, and more. Jasper de Roos has played with many live acts in New Zealand such as Gramsci, Concord Dawn and Autozamm, as well as Grammy award winning Japanese artist Kitaro. Stephen Small has worked with many New Zealand artists such as OpShop, Jamie McDell, Jackie Clark, Hammond Gamble and others, having also directed and arranged music for Kitaro, and on tour, conducted music for the Russian Philharmonic Orchestra and many others.

Vic Theatre started to get packed up this evening; walking inside gave off a nostalgic mood, like going to see a play or musical. The stage had a polished set up. A monochrome video starts playing of the band's rehearsal session. They're bantering, fine-tuning, practicing, and just generally spinning musical yarns. There’s a moment when someone says, “This would be a C diminished”, and the dog in the video falls asleep; everyone in the room is in stitches. We then heard some audio from Danny’s podcast Don’t Give Up Your Day Job with one-off quotes like: “I don’t know what people think we live on… Exposure!?”. Met closely by a video of Danny, and his former band The Frankies, in 1994. The video shows Danny moving about a lot with punk-like energy, whilst his band stays silent and stiff on stage; all heads in the room, again, have a laugh at the footage... Afterwards, the crowd recognised the song Full Speed Ahead. We’re met with some images of living in Los Angeles, and see photos of Danny with many great stars, including a photo outside Abbey Road Studios. The air felt like it had a general big appreciation for music and its journey, whilst also celebrating the coming together of the band.

The songs come on bass-heavy, with a full swing from the drums, vibrant keys, and silky, skilful guitar. Jazz and funk meet rock, blues, pop, soul; there were scores of genres! Danny’s vocals were smooth and had good range; his voice fit the atmosphere well. The drums are tight on the groove, and the keys come together well with real personality, and creativity. There was notable play between bassist and guitarist, Dan Antunovich and Danny. They both perform captivatingly well together, with high energy, whilst bouncing off each other’s notes. The drums had stunning improvisation between each beat the band lands, Jasper’s fills and timing were pristine. Noise Play had a large set with special guests Bonnie Hurunui and Debbie Harwood. On the night we heard many classics, as well as their debut single Just A Little Bit. The setup, with slideshows and action, was thrilling and refreshingly different.

Bonnie Hurunui from White Chapel Jack! Bonnie’s voice killed the stage with soul. She sang Crazy by Gnarls Barkley. She's vocal madness, with heavy soul. Bonnie came on with a beckoning presence and high energy! A deep bass was met with her explosive vocals. We hear Paper Monsters, a beautiful song. Then, a cover of Africa by Toto was played; this song got everyone standing and on their feet. She brought electric light and a lot of heart to the show. Danny and Bonnie also performed a captivating duet. At this point, we hear some really funk-laden guitar. Next on, we heard She Will Have Her Way by Neil Finn. Later followed by many fills, bass, and a melody from the guitar that surges to the back of the audience. Suck My Kiss by the Red Hot Chilli Peppers was played; the vocals were really catchy in this one. Then, we heard a mix up of other greats including That’s All by Genesis and Roxanne by The Police. The keys had a big moment here, Stephan was really exercising his talents, while the drum fills were still in full fire. The keys cascaded into each of the fills, and the band hit their notes what felt like every time. The choice of music for the night had a polished sound, with impressive composure and adaptation.

We heard Language by Dave Dobbyn which was a stellar moment, and Come Together by The Beatles. The whirling of blues, jazz and rock ‘n’ roll was moody and original. The guitar solo here by Danny was rich, with an epic washed-out, and old school sounding distortion. We also heard Lean On Me by Bill Withers. Lean On Me was an adapted version of Danny’s, played acoustically with many of his own layers, and change up of notes. We heard Don’t Bring Me Down, which was supported by a great video with a big message on bullying.

There was video footage from Hustle Bustle, an original single of Danny’s with Dan Antunovich on bass, which also put a great marker in the story leading to the creation of Noise Play. Later in the show, well-respected guest Debbie Harwood appeared, a renowned NZ singer, solo artist and performer from the band When the Cat’s Away. Debbie was welcomed with a lot of joy, and sang for us a few close numbers including her own hit Isolated, and a cover of Sunshine by Dragon. A famous Kiwi hit came on, Melting Pot, which many of us knew and sung along to. The show came together superbly with Debbie on board, she had a lot of good humour, and warmth for the crowd.

This was an exquisite debut event to be a part of. The show was a lot of fun, full of musical mastery, and talent; many people will be looking forward to the next event, and more following! It’s refreshing to see artists getting together, and putting on a real show with videos, dialogue, story and a collective spirit. The band have really gone the mile to put on a self-made, self-organised event, and have equally shown up to it!


About Danny McCrum

Danny McCrum is a multi talented musician based in Auckland. He is a highly respected guitarist, singer and songwriter, with extensive experience on stage, in the studio and running the business behind the music. He has worked with many music greats including Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck, John Mayer, Tommy Emmanuel, Jimmy Barnes, Simple Minds, Bryan Ferry, Joan Armatrading, Katie Melua and more.

Visit the muzic.net.nz Profile for Danny McCrum


Best Moments From A While Ago
Year: 2019
Type: Album
Hustle Bustle
Year: 2019
Type: Album
Year: 2013
Type: EP
Letters To The Future
Year: 2012
Type: Album
Say What You Mean
Year: 2009
Type: Album
These Dirty Days
Year: 2008
Type: EP
Awake & Restless
Year: 2007
Type: Album
Year: 2006
Type: EP

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