27 Sep 2021
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  • Oh Sweet Nothings - Gig Review: Oh Sweet Nothings @ Valhalla, Wellington - 06/06/2021

Oh Sweet Nothings - Gig Review: Oh Sweet Nothings @ Valhalla, Wellington - 06/06/2021

09 Jun 2021 // A review by Bethany Mountford
I’m not sure what I expected, but last Sunday’s Oh Sweet Nothings album release party painted a very interesting scene at Valhalla. The following day, Monday, was to be Queen’s birthday bank holiday and town was consequently busier than the usual Sunday, littered with drunkards and litter. I would never describe Valhalla as a nice-smelling place but walking into it on Sunday evening it smelled particularly of sweaty socks like a bowling alley, or an indoor children's playground. It all adds to the charm though.

After grabbing a beer (the cheapest beer - $7 – not vegan) we went outside for some fresh air and stumbled upon a group of jolly old men singing sea shanties. They might not even have been old but I imagined them to be, with long beards. The performance was so passionate and well composed, with layered vocals and instrumentals (stomping and beer clinking) that I began to think that they might have been the support act, sound checking.

When the real first band did come on everyone flocked inside and for the first time that evening we were treated to the sight of the crowd in all its glory. A mass of trench coats and white people with dreadlocks and stretchers, all enthusiastic though maybe a bit too drunk.

Floral Shirt played an impressive, albeit confusing, set. They struck me first as quite dark and heavy, but it’s possible that that was just the influence of the Valhalla atmosphere, and not necessarily the music. Looking now at their Bandcamp page, the self-proclaimed adjective “unsettling” might explain why I could not for the life of me understand what was going on on-stage, or off-stage for that matter. The second song The Wall was punchy like boxing, yet playful. There were ultra-technical moments like math rock. Front-man Lachlan wore a shirt that said ‘Arnold is numero uno’ which had me wondering who Arnold was, and whether or not he was the drummer, because the drummer was very good.

“The next one’s called Super Cheese and you’re gonna love it”.

What proceeded was what I could only describe as Footloose…unhinged. A feel-good ice-skating track. Very dancey. And I did love it. It was followed by a slower ballad – classic rock vibes. I was consistently thrown around by the constant change in pace, unsettled, I guess you might say.

Skitz Hydro played next and played big time. They had a more even, predictable sound after Floral Shirt. Still quite hectic and heavy though, with lots of screaming guitar and some really nice, muted vocals. The drummer was the same drummer as in the previous band, and was again, very good.

Looking through the crowd at this point was a bit like having a fever dream. Featuring characters that resembled: your metal-head ex-boyfriend, one of your best friends from high school 20 years on and she’s an alcoholic now, Elton John with braids in a big hoodie. All the beer bottles appeared small in people’s hands while the wine glasses looked strangely big.

I must admit, the set times were greatly inaccurate and ran quite wildly overtime. In combination with my own extreme exhaustion and over-stimulation this meant that I had to duck out for the final two songs of Skitz Hydro’s set in order to get a coffee across the road. When I returned, Oh Sweet Nothings had just donned the stage to complete the third and final round of my fever-dream evening.

The stage was very smoky as they came in on a very ambient and drawn-out intro. Front man Aeron Glasgow Keene’s get up of blue-love heart sunnies contrasted with his well-fitting button-up shirt and I felt like I was on holiday at a resort in Minorca, for some reason. Their second song threw me out of that daydream and the show resumed in front of me. It was a very disjointed and pointy song that I couldn’t work out how to move to. I figured it must have been jazz, or something else beyond my comprehension. I’m very pleased to report that there was a kazoo solo (they have kazoos in jazz, right?) which made things even more interesting/insane. Actually, the whole set was one big chaotic noise party. I somehow trusted that they knew what they were doing though. The third song transcended genres again and there was something country (?), folky (?) about the big strumming acoustic guitar.

“The next one is for anyone who lives in Wellington”

It was a mix of crunching, progressive and swirly riffs that crashed around the crowd. Wellington got another very sweet shout out a bit later on with the song Cold Hands. This song was a mix of crunchy almost pop-punky riffs and theatrical breakdowns and a screaming guitar solo.

Every time that I managed to catch up with the sound it eluded me a short time later. This was a gig that I needed to re-watch in order to comprehend what actually went on. My Dad recently described Christopher Nolan’s Tenet to me by saying that he watched a really good movie but he had no idea what it was about. And that’s kind of how I felt about this gig. Confusing, but intriguing, and very, very noisy.

 

About Oh Sweet Nothings

Oh Sweet Nothings are a Wellington-based indie/post-alternative/post-post-punk 3-sometimes-4-piece band, known for their whimsical and off-kilter approach to song-writing, as well as their erratic live performances.

Having spent many years lurking at the fringes of the Wellington underground scene, OSN are currently on the rise up out of obscurity and fast becoming prominent members of the music community.

Their debut EP, Emergency Procedures, due for release on October 17th, is the result of refining 4 years of chaotic bedroom jam sessions into a coherent sneak peak into a surreal and overblown auditory world, inhabited by dark truths and repressed desires.

Visit the muzic.net.nz Profile for Oh Sweet Nothings

Releases

The Math
Year: 2021
Type: Album
Emergency Procedures
Year: 2019
Type: EP

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