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  • Anthonie Tonnon - Gig Review: Anthonie Tonnon @ Hollywood Cinema, Auckland - 14/05/2022

Anthonie Tonnon - Gig Review: Anthonie Tonnon @ Hollywood Cinema, Auckland - 14/05/2022

16 May 2022 // A review by Andrew Smit

On a coolish Saturday evening it was great to see a rather large crowd that clearly were so happy and eager to experience a night of live music, and what a perfect venue to stage it at the slightly musty but still majestic Hollywood Cinema in Avondale.

Opening the proceedings was the cool 4 piece band Lips with their ambient 80’s groove thanks to the techno synth sounds from keyboardist and singer Steph Brown. Starting slow and steady the band soon combined with bounding beats and groovy treats. Steph Brown's clear vocal was sounding great, which had hints of Suzanne Vega type expression mixed with a Sheryl Crow comical tongue in cheek fun vibe. The band all played their parts very well, with all 4 instruments nicely audible in the mix. There were many lovely moments throughout their set where the drum work by Fen Ikner held and released the feel of the music with his very proficient yet genteel jazz funk feel.

One song which demanded attention was Your Deodorant Doesn't Work, which at one point had Steph dropping many names like Jacinda and Michelle Obama! which I guess was not in reference to their deodorant not working, or maybe they have met them and their scent inspired them to write the song? While their set was short it was we'll received and gave us a good taste of the band that is Lips.

After a short recess, the backing music faded off and 4 band members took to their positions and there they stood rock fast like an android awaiting its orders to proceed. Soon enough Anthonie Tonnon took to his place in front of a Roland keyboard and began to fill the stately old cinema with layers of symphonic synth sounds and then so coolly sung with his smooth crooning style akin to Brian Ferry and David Bowie. After standing rigidly still it was good to see the other four band members moving to play their instruments and add their stunning colour and rhythm to the ensemble, with drums, bass, percussion, guitar and an extra synth all joining in with Anthonie as he jumped from keys to guitar throughout the night.

Anthonie's mostly subtle mannerisms kept you intrigued with his own robot mannequin manoeuvres, picture if you will a mix with Madonna's vogue video hand gestures mixed with modern expressionist dance moves. When he spoke we listened intently and his anecdotes and quirky tales had many laughing out loud. He described how he saw a cat leaping to catch a butterfly and flipping over to land perfectly, and then stare at him as if nothing had happened which impressed Anthonie so much he said “I asked him to do it again” this had many pockets of the audience laughing loudly in joyous appreciation, he conjured simple beauty and had the perception and style to relate it so tastefully. This was the perfect intro to the new song Leave Love Out of This, a very nice piano led ballad, which is reminiscent of Split Enz’s Stuff and Nonsense, and boy it was beautiful.

We were treated to a quick history lesson with the significance of the arrival in 1986 of the first Roland D series Synthesisers into Auckland, like an ode to the musical odyssey that the synthesiser gave to Music Anthonie boldly declared that it’s been a while since his Roland D10 Synthesiser was tested to its true limits, stating “there may be strange happenings and we may make mistakes but there is no place that we’d rather be than right here with you at the Hollywood Cinema Avondale”. It was intro’s like this that kept the audience compelled to listen and really engaged in the performance. Together the band did indeed test the D10 Synth to its limits, while Anthonie also mastered a Mini Synth or Stylophone which he played and manipulated perfectly as the musical crescendo reached its triumphant end in a blaze of techno synth liberations. This particular musical composition was wonderful to experience live, the effect cannot be replicated in a recording, this is the live experience that makes you come back for more. At times, the prodigious mix of guitars and key’s invoked a musical soundtrack where you could imagine it in a modern movie used in a montage where all the pieces of the plot come together.

Anthonie at times named local places and businesses and none more so than in the Real Estate Agent song, he clearly loves Aotearoa and has a special place in his heart for Auckland and we felt that conveyed many times during the show. Overall the evening was quite magical and I’m sure everyone was impressed, the audience enjoyed every track whether it was a piano ballad or a techno synth dance song, with each composition enthusiastically applauded and appreciated for its uniqueness and the journey it took us on.

Photo Credit: Chris Zwaagdyk / Zed Pics


About Anthonie Tonnon

Few songwriters forge the kind of paths that Anthonie Tonnon has. While experiments with synthesizers, samplers, and drum machines have changed his sonic palette, a constant is his lyrics - which find character-driven stories in existential subjects: evolution and the future of work in Two Free Hands, or machiavellian local government politics in Water Underground.

Winning the Taite Music Prize for his recent album, Leave Love Out Of This, Tonnon has returned to a full band line up - creating a hybrid human-electronic form that combines the control and connection of technology with the physicality of a live rhythm section.

Visit the muzic.net.nz Profile for Anthonie Tonnon


Leave Love Out Of This
Year: 2021
Type: Album
Two Free Hands
Year: 2017
Type: EP
Buy Online @ Mightyape
Year: 2015
Type: Album

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