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In The Shallows - Gig Review: In The Shallows @ Spirit Festival - 05/05/2022

08 May 2022 // A review by Kev Rowland

I left work a little early on Thursday, and then fought my way from South Auckland, West to Kumeu Showgrounds, where Spirit Festival was taking place. In many ways this is a sister festival to Earthbeat which I attended last year in that it is very much for the alternative culture movement, with lots of stalls and a wonderful vibe. I had a great time at Earthbeat last year, but there I had taken the day off and immersed myself in what was going on, whereas this time It was dark not long after I had arrived, and I know I missed out by not being involved during daylight as it was obvious that a great deal was going on. Thursday was the first day of a four-day event, and my reason for being there was to once again catch up with the wonderful Lance and Danni from In The Shallows, one of my favourite duos who to my mind do not get up to Auckland enough. In fact, the whole reason for going to Earthbeat the previous year was to see them play, and here I was again.

Danni and I caught up for quite a lengthy chat before their set, and it was during that time I checked my Facebook feed and was surprised and pleased to see that Aaron and Amy from Looking For Alaska were also here, as Amy was undertaking some healing so they were running a stall, but not playing. After a rather glorious butter chickpea curry, I headed over to the main stage, which was set up in one of the large sheds. Having seen how it was being utilised I was rather surprised that this is not something undertaken by Auckland Folk Festival, but the shed was somewhat smaller than the main tent I guess and too big to take the place of the smaller ones, but it certainly made for a pleasant evening.

I soon caught up with Aaron and Amy, who had not been aware that In The Shallows were playing, but were keen to see them as it had been suggested to them that they tour together but had not previously heard any of their music. I feel very fortunate indeed to have caught LFA touring with Albi & The Wolves a couple of times earlier in the year given that the tour had to be cut short due to COVID restrictions, but one can never get enough of these guys and until we get the next album (hint) I’ll just keep turning up to see them play. Interestingly, Aaron told me that it had been suggested to them that there should be a 3-band bill of duos, with Aro also being involved, and given how much I love all of them that really does sound like something not to miss.

Then all focus turned to the stage as it was time for Danni and Lance. We were treated to an a cappella introduction to Who Were You Before, and then they were off. On this number Lance was playing acoustic while Danni provided lead vocals, and with just the one accompaniment there was plenty of room for her to shine, with the song ending with acapella harmonies, just as it had begun. The last time I saw them, Danni had played electric guitar onstage for the first time, and tonight it was a bass which she brought out for one of my favourite numbers, Hold On. It is infectious, full of energy and by now there were plenty of people in the shed, most of whom were dancing, entranced by the music. Let’s Not Start A War seemed even more apt than normal, and then they were joined by Shane Hamil on five-string bass for the rest of the set.

Take It Easy was another highlight, and another of my favourite songs, upbeat and a load of fun. I Can’t Reach You was quite different with more of a reggae beat and a very different feel. There was some nice popping bass in contrast to the stark chords and Danni’s vocals with the different elements combining well together. There was even the opportunity for a short lead vocal from Lance which had way more grit. The song has real swagger, and it just stops, dead. They finished the way too short set with Let It Go, another fun song, and then it was over. They were playing a longer set during the day on Friday, but I was going to have to miss it due to work. After they had finished playing, I introduced them to Amy and Aaron, and four of them started talking about the possibility of doing some shows together and if that happens it will definitely not to be missed.

Spirit Festival is a wonderful event, with wonderful stalls and opportunities, and it was great to be able to see In The Shallows. Let’s hope I don’t have to wait for another festival next year until that happens again.


Photo Credit: Kev Rowland


About In The Shallows

Blending catchy vocal hooks with soaring harmonies and atmospheric acoustic guitar, weaving in tales of love, loss, connection, redemption and empowerment - leaving audiences spellbound and wanting more.

Full Band includes Andy Bain (Fur Patrol) and Nick Brown (Eb & Sparrow, Vorn).

A little more about In The Shallows...

Visit the muzic.net.nz Profile for In The Shallows


In The Shallows
Year: 2020
Type: Album

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