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  • Street Georges - Gig Review: Street Georges @ The Portland Public House, Auckland - 22/04/2021

Street Georges - Gig Review: Street Georges @ The Portland Public House, Auckland - 22/04/2021

27 Apr 2021 // A review by Chris Poipoi

THE PARTING WORDS from the mouth of a truly understated musician genius, Richard Beckmannflay bids goodnight to a grateful crowd of followers, who had been treated to a Masterclass performance from his band Street Georges (yes, that's his BAND's name!!)

As one of those grateful followers I found myself Engulfed, Enthralled and Enspired!

On my arrival at The Portland, one of Richard's favourite midnight arrival haunts, I settled in to another evening with some of my mates, watching our mate. My connection to the iconic "jandal-clad" man-musician is a newly forged one, special in its own history. Little did I know that this night would revive wonderful feelings and memories. And as the headliner got into his work, kindly asking for the removal of furniture to allow space for jiggering bodies to bounce about, the Street Georges vibe lifted off.

For me, this performance was Next Level. Having witnessed one of the bands earliest release parties at the Clare Inn circa 18 months ago, I was stunned by the polish I was hearing! And as the memory recall of the countless time’s I have heard my mate play these songs is smashed to smitherines, the experience became not just a musical one, but a fully spiritual one.

Jono (Annandale) was a big part of creating that vibe, delivering wave after wave of ghostly licks echoing over the top of notes the band played. Coupled with Steve (Sussex) keyboard licks, at times I thought the 2 instruments were dancing in their own time and space. It was beautiful.

And then I would wake up and see Aaron (Corbett) sitting back with his bass, fingers groovingly gliding across his frets artfully "singing" their tune. I have often enjoyed watching him; his whole upper body expresses the joys he is feeling, the basslines being but a result of such expression! Bringing your maunga strength to the dancing guitar and keyboards bro!

In the same vista view, dependable "kick-ass" Mike Beck on drums springs to the fore, no-one more capable of stabilising it all and keeping things well earthed while the others were floating off in the heavens!

As I turn my attention to vocal strands, my recollection of Mister Richard's is full of sighs. As a vocalist who has a hopeless falsetto range, I am in awe with what Richard does with his voice in that stratosphere .... he lives up there! All his songs are written up in that space, bordering on space itself it seems, no more apparent than when I Don't Know is sung (Baaaayyyyyyybbbeeeeeeyyy!)

See The Light has a groove that grabs, and whether you're up standing or seated on your haunches, you cannot help but swagger in some way. Richard obviously knew this, so his request to move the offending tables and chairs was more command than request I suspect lol!

Not to put a label on, Break My World had shades of Kings of Leon and OpShop to my ears. It had a very marketable feel to it ... whether that's what you want or not, I don't know, Richard. But that's the vibe I got. And yeah, who the heck am I.

This Release Party was to highlight his latest song, Last Lockdown, and while there will no doubt be other writings describing more about the song, this piece describes a feeling of the package of the evening, albeit mine. As we've seen the Covid posters showing Mr Beckmannflay tearing out those long blonde locks, this song was for me where that ghostly dance between guitar and keyboards really began. And fittingly I think. You add Richie's floating wails to Jono and Steve, and boy do you have an experience! A while back I was privy to a pre-release hearing of this song on the pimped out stereo of his white limo ... I remember commenting to Richard how gorgeous this song is!

And tonight did NOT disappoint! Every time I hear it, I can "see" a beautiful harmony to gently hold hands with Richard's lead ... one that perhaps even someone lovingly as supportive as Rita H Beckmannflay could be "seen" to do with him? And speaking of Rita, with there not being enough mics on hand to allow the supportive chorale in tow, how appropriate was it that Rita was at Richards side to sing the band's signature song Running Free! As I looked on that very full line-up that didn't just spill off the stage, but almost onto the bar, there was a sense of Aroha emanating from all there! I had SUCH a strong sense of whanau and whanaungatanga! Rita, Ema Barton, Claire Kendall, the Boys! Wow man!

Given that Richard's reason for this song is the message of what he thinks Te Reo would say to us if it were a consciousness, I think it quietly screamed AROHA in a HUGE way!!!

Thank you!

Now that these words are gone from my fingertips, and as I reflect on them, I marvel at the sentiments that have flowed. And within all of this I recall the many sharing times and much laughter ... but I mostly remember one obscure Monday night at GC, my first one in Auckland, witnessing for the first time a tall, skinny, blonde haired guy, sitting on the stool with capo in hand and borrowed guitar, singing beautiful Running Free .. which many of us now lovingly sing along to.

Yes your name isn't actually Street Georges.
It is Richard Beckmannflay.

Chris Poipoi has a publishing background as Publisher/Editor-In-Chief/General-Dogs-Body of the Australasian Sports Magazine "Roll n Blade" published in the 1990's

Photo Credit: First Image Tom Grut, Second Image Chris Poipoi

 

About Street Georges

Reggae Soul music project Street Georges Waikato born frontman Rich Beckmannflay has previously been known playing drums for most of his musical past. Rich recalls a number of shows playing drums for Auckland based reggae/funk/dub/rock band Easy, opening for acts like Salmonella Dub, Katchafire and dDub. Changing from drums to singer songwriter and guitarist early 2018 has led to getting out on the streets busking, playing Open-Mics for live experience and to get direct feedback on songs.

NZ Music month 2019 saw the debut single release of Running Free and work is underway to get more music released in 2020


Visit the muzic.net.nz Profile for Street Georges

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