23 Sep 2021
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The After - Gig Review: The After @ Anthology, Auckland - 12/08/2021

14 Aug 2021 // A review by Roger Bowie

It’s a year and a bit on and here we are again at Anthology for a night of rock curated by Andrew Featherstone and featuring his band The After. Last year we were left a bit muddled about promises of things to come and whether it would be the hereafter, but no, it’s more like an AfterFest.

First band up on the light infested stage (much more interesting than usual) looking very familiar is a group of middle agers with a touch of attitude and of course it’s the Sunnylaw Social Club, they were here last year, fronted by the youthful big unit from ‘ull (Hull), Ryan Mathie. Big lungs, a little Cocker, a little Ben Ottewell, backed by two guitars and the first impression is that this is a blues rock combo. But throw in a ballad or two, lifting to classic rock with a little prog on top and dished up in funk and you have a quintessential 70’s sound. Big songs, all original, complex moves, sometimes not quite coming off, but hey, they are out there, they’re out on the street, they’ve left the suburb behind, they’re putting themselves out! Enthusiastic amateurs, working hard after hours, no doubt having a ball, and what’s better they are starting to record, slowly and steadily, and an album is in the offing. Put these songs under the spit and polish of the studio, and I reckon it will sound terrific. Can’t wait to open a Sunnylaw Social Club page on Muzic.net!

Next up it’s Glow Becky, all hard and tight and Tooly and loud. The band is a step up but the singer is not from ‘ull, at least not first up, but then he warms to his task and it’s not easy to compete with twin jarring guitars and the driving rhythm of good old Kiwi rock. Which is a mix of post-punk, hard rock and a flash of metal mixed up in the lights which point blindingly at us in an effort to bring us onto the stage and back from the darkened depths. Bring up the groupies is the call and everybody responds (to protect the innocent). A clutch of singles which are out on Spotty-fi and a softening ballad which is not too Late but just an interlude before the build to crescendo. A little acoustic also fails to detract from the energy and drive. The AfterFest is building….. Jel Sisona on vocals, Nathan Garton rhythm and Ysmael Silverio on cool lead guitar, Jeremy Wooler and Joe Teinakore pounding out the rhythm. Glow Becky.

Set List

1.Miss
2.
Asoka
3.
Stand Up
4.
Abyss
5.
Late
6.
Bit of Love
7.
Fadu Baku (Fade back)
8.
Yeah Yeah

It’s quick-change night as the bands disperse and regroup, a frantic free for all but it all works like a musical transformer and here are The After, a completely new band from last year, apart from Andrew, who has the pedigree as well as the songs. You will know Andrew Featherstone as the man behind The Battle of the Bands for the past, what 30 years? But he’s also a songwriter and bass player and has form, having been in bands opening for No Doubt, Collective Soul, Ocean Colour Scene and not forgetting Everclear recently at the Powerstation. Last year the line-up was a little patchy, and the singer was wobbly, but tonight it’s immediately if not everclear from the outset that this is the band these songs deserve. Blu Skii in skinny long hair and yellow shades adds an almost exotic authenticity behind the mic, even though he’s from Wellington. Rob Mayo adds mayonnaise on a grey-hair platter along with Andrew, and the rhythm section is solid as rocket salad. But it’s new-found Vance Manu imported from Invercargill who brings style and flair and intensity to the guitar strings supported by, oh my Lord, it’s a Hammond organ masterfully caressed by Rock Steady virtuoso Bruce Madden. How great is a Hammond? Orgasm to the ears as well as distant memories. Who plays Hammond these days (apart from Guy Harrison, and I think he uses the one from Roundhead). This is great music and these are great songs, and there’s even a segue into Floyd with a brief Breathe as if we need to catch our breath. It’s Clear to Me, The After are glowing, and there just might be a happily ever after.

Setlist:

1.Doesn’t Matter
2.
Something Outa Nothing
3.
No Looking Back
4.
Mesmerised
5.
My Delirium
6.
Only One
7.
You Can Work it Out
8.
One Thing I Know
9.
Clear to Me
10.
IDKY
11.
Breathe
12.
Where There’s a Will


Photo Credit:
Image 1: Roger Bowie
Images 2-4: jmksnappyclicks

 

About The After

New Zealand Music Industry stalwart Andrew Featherstone has done his time having recorded and promoted hundreds of up and coming artists over the past 30 years as label, studio and Battle of the Bands National Championship and World BOTB competition owner.

What some may not know about Featherstone is that he’s a songwriter and bass player in his own right, one who’s had his fair share of close calls in the success stakes. His most recent project The After with debut single Clear To Me is creating the most interest in his career to date.

Having been signed to MCA/Universal last year, Grammy nominated producer Steve James (Sex Pistols, The Rutles, Ginger Baker, Paul Young, Shirley Bassey, Monty Python’s Life of Brian (incl. Always Look on the Bright Side of Life..)), was recruited and the first single recorded.

Visit the muzic.net.nz Profile for The After

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