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  • The Jordan Luck Band - Gig Review: Jordan Luck Band with Ekko Park @ The Mangawhai Tavern, Mangawhai - 19/06/2021

The Jordan Luck Band - Gig Review: Jordan Luck Band with Ekko Park @ The Mangawhai Tavern, Mangawhai - 19/06/2021

20 Jun 2021 // A review by Investigator

I'll start with an admission; I was well up for this gig! A Kiwi icon, at an iconic venue, with a superstar rock opening act... and I wasn't the only one out for good night. One of my favourite mid-sized venues, The Mangawhai Tavern, played host to a sold out crowd all wanting to open their lungs and belt out those oh so familiar choruses with one of NZ's finest singer/songwriters, Jordan Luck. And he didn't disappoint.

But it didn't all start to plan; the weather was sketchy, later to get worse than just sketchy. Also there was a problem with noise. To my surprise, I wandered in ahead of the proposed 9pm start time and the opening act, Ekko Park, were already underway. I apologetically pushed my way through the crowded bar, thankful not to be drinking tonight with queues almost reaching Waipu, made my way into the outdoor marquee just in time to hear a ripping cover version of Elemeno P's 11:57. Instantly it was evident that Ekko Park were head and shoulders above any standard kiwi pub rockers. What stood out first was the killer rhythm section, Nick Douch on drums and Bryan Bell (ex-Dead Flowers frontman) on bass. I love it when a venue and sound engineer come together and this really showed, I could hear every bass note and found myself air drumming along with Nick, they were driving this show. So the spine was superb, but then you have a very talented, Alex Hargreaves, playing her low slung Les Paul (just like we all wish we could) bouncing with the downstrokes, not missing a note. It all comes together perfectly for guitarist/vocalist, Joe Walsh, to stalk the stage and stir the crowd. I've recently been enjoying their latest single, Bassano Sky. This was highlighted on the night by an excellent live performance, reminding me of early Stereophonics, their best years in my opinion.

Due to the noise restrictions, Joe made the call to start early and reduce the set to 8 songs. It's a shame because I was eager for more and the punters were clearly up for the night. I always take the time to check out audience reactions, not only were there Ekko Park fans there singing along to songs they knew, but there were scores of people up the front doing their best drunk dance, inaudible slur singing like they've been with the band since the start. I think the boys made some new fans... result.

End of Act 1.

Now the second act was a bit of a shock. No it wasn't The Jordan Luck Band, not a random local group either. It was the playlist between acts. I love a great playlist, most people do. But this crowd seemed to have written this gig down on their calendars in permanent marker, the crowd became Act 2. There were some Kiwi classics coming out those PA speakers and without a single person on stage, the crowd took it upon themselves to keep the show going. I was outside, hiding in the corner and writing notes when all I could hear was a couple of hundred voices singing, "drink yourself more bliss, forget about the last one, get yourself another..." That was it, something took hold and now every song on that playlist was sung by the throngs at ear deafening decibels. Act 2 highlight, definitely Beastie Boys Fight For Your Right, oh and the fact that everyone clapped after each song, like there was a live band on stage in front them playing it.

The crowd were singing, there was movement on stage as the playlist kept the peeps happy... and then out of the blue, Jordan Luck somehow segues out of the playlist directly into Why Does Love Do This To Me? It was a neat trick and one that emptied the bar and filled the marquee. From there on I was a fanboy again, reliving my Uni days while Jordan and his borrowed band of legendary Kiwi rockers played hit after hit until our throats were dry. This wasn't a phone-it-in performance from a man who could easily let the crowd do all the singing for him. This was a performance from a man who is on top of his game, with a voice just raspy enough to give these iconic songs more gravitas. The crowd, sung, screamed, flashed themselves like school kids all over again, but I could always hear one person above the rest... and always in tune, Jordan Luck. He was also funny and charismatic, at one point calling on Andrew Fagan of The Mockers to take the mic for a rendition of Forever Tuesday Morning. There was no Andrew Fagan, just Jordan himself walking off stage and then straight back on again to deliver an excellent version of the classic Kiwi tune. This wasn't to be the last cover of the night, with such a fantastic backing band, everyone had their time to shine.

Both Joe Walsh and Bryan Bell were doing double duty with Ekko Park and The Jordan Luck Band, with the former taking lead on Iggy Pop's The Passenger and Bryan Bell smashed out Split Enz's History Never Repeats. There was a fine nod to Graham Brazier with Hello Sailor's Blue Lady and later to Dragon as the band absolutely nailed April Sun in Cuba. Again I found myself mesmerised by the rhythm section, Bassist, Rich Mixture is the man, effortlessly working his way up and down the frets. This a guy who has the chops and has played on some outstanding records. But it's at the back where my eyes are at. None other than Beaver from The D4. He's just so damn good, every kick, fill and crash is perfect and still surprised that he didn't shatter brass or explode skin, relentless!

Just as you feel like the whole night is building, it unfortunately all comes to a halt at 10:30pm. I hate noise control, I'm a musician and a music lover, of course I hate noise control. I sometimes wonder who is controlling Karen about her constant complaining after moving in to an area with an already long established live music venue. It gives me the sad pangs of The Kings Arms all over again, a place where bands like these started out, a place where bands like these learnt their chops, a place where bands could express themselves and the people could express themselves too. What I do know is this, I had a fantastic night, the music was excellent, the crowd was on form and the thunder and lightning only added to the occasion.

With that - I'll leave the last words to Loz, the friendly yet talkative school teacher who had this to say to me, "This is totally wild, but excuse me I have to mimi."


About The Jordan Luck Band

‘Legend’ is a word suffering from chronic overuse syndrome these days, but when it comes to Jordan Luck, the word regains it’s full meaning and one the NZ public associates with this true blue Kiwi artist. This affection is obviously felt amongst his musical peers as well who bestowed Jordan the honour of Inaugural Inductee into the New Zealand Rock n Roll Hall Of Fame. As front man and pop-writing genius with the legendary Exponents, he clocked up a staggering 18 Top 40 singles over the years, with Victoria recently voted by public as the 8th greatest New Zealand song of all time. These days on any given weekend you will hear packed stadiums of sports fans singing in unison (if not in-tune) Why Does Love Do This To Me? a song that seems to have taken on the mantle as the ‘unofficial’ alternative NZ national anthem.

THE JORDAN LUCK BAND is the new super deluxe Frankenstein incarnation backing the iconic kiwi singer these days. Every gig the band play the best of all those iconic tracks we know and love as well as a collection of recently penned and possible future stadium sing-a-longs of tomorrow. Meticulously designed by Jordan himself from the ground up this band has just the one purpose...to bring Jordan’s blend of pop rock genius from the past, present and future… back to the masses!

Hand-picked from a wish-list of players Jordan wanted to work with the word went out, his fantasy starting line up were contacted and unsurprisingly they all signed up, there was no need to refer to the list of reserves…so, starting from the stage right part of the paddock…

Visit the muzic.net.nz Profile for The Jordan Luck Band


Not Only... But Also
Year: 2016
Type: Album

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