18 Jan 2022
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  • Capital Theatre - Gig Review: Capital Theatre @ Botany Commons, Auckland - 31/07/2021

Capital Theatre - Gig Review: Capital Theatre @ Botany Commons, Auckland - 31/07/2021

01 Aug 2021 // A review by Kev Rowland

I was fortunate enough to catch Capital Theatre earlier this year at The Tuning Fork, and hearing that they were playing Botany, which is not too far from me, meant a trip to a pub venue situated in a shopping complex, not the sort of place I normally visit. Still, it is always good to come to a place which has a nice permanent stage and lighting and walking in I could see the CT drumkit on stage, along with multiple guitars and Marshall amps – the guys certainly know how to make an impression even when they are not performing. Tonight, they were playing support to The Feelers, and this was a ticketed gig with the venue closed to non-attendees, so it was obvious that most of the people were there to see the headline band and had no idea whatsoever what they were going to receive from the support. I managed to catch a chat with Roy Oliver (guitar, vocals) beforehand, and was pleased to hear that the album finally has a release date (October this year), and we discussed the new single/video, Fire, before he realised, he was due on stage in ten minutes, and he really ought to get ready!

For those who have yet to see the band, Capital Theatre are a trio, with the line-up completed by Paul Reid (drums) and Adam Stevenson (vocals, keyboards, guitar). They do not have a bassist but use triggered samples to fill in the bass sound (and sometimes also use keyboard samples if the track needs two guitars). When they walked onstage, I was pleased to see Adam wearing the clown shirt he used in the recent People video, but was somewhat disappointed not to see any of the make-up being utilised – maybe next time? They checked everyone was good, and then hit into Fait, which certainly got everyone paying close attention indeed. This is one of their heavier numbers, with high energy and twin guitars, with Paul providing almost tribal-style drumming from the back. Adam’s vocals are always spot on, and he and Roy work the stage, ensuring everyone in the audience understands here is a class act. I was asked by someone in the audience if they were only playing originals as they were sure they knew a few of the songs, which just shows the cut through they are achieving.

There is no doubt that People is an absolute classic, which also has a killer vid (check out YouTube if you haven’t already), and they launched into it as just their second number. It is one of those songs which is full of passion and emotion from the beginning, yet somehow, they lift it towards the end, and it becomes an epic anthem. I must confess to having been playing this on repeat since I first heard it, and they more than do it proud in the live environment with both guitarists crunching it hard and Adam’s vocals bringing it home.

There were times when Adam went into the dark corner where the keyboards were situated, to provide a different feel to the sound, and with Second Skin they really slowed it down, yet from gentle beginnings it soon became a pounding belter. It is hard not to be impressed by the work of Paul behind the kit, as while he is content to sit back and provide deft touches on cymbals when the time is right, or utilising rimshots, here was a song where he was really driving it on with massive fills right around the kit. Roy is happy crunching riffs or providing dynamic solos, but he ended this with delicate feedback.

The new single, Fire, is another classic, starting with a bang before the keyboards took over. Powerful and dramatic, it is a number which contains so much contrast and emotion. The constant change of attack through the set, with every number containing multiple elements and great musicianship and vocals, meant that by the end the audience were close to the stage and people were dancing which was a real contrast to everyone just staring at them from a distance at the beginning. They ended with another of the highlights, the banging Force To Fight, and all too soon it was over.

I am already looking forward to the next gig, and I know there are plans afoot to do quite a few around the time of the album release. Polished, tight, with songs which all contain great hooks, Capital Theatre really are a band to look out for.


Photo Credit: Kev Rowland

 

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