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  • Voodoo Bloo - Gig Review: Voodoo Bloo w/ Friends @ Ding Dong Lounge, Auckland - 14/05/2022

Voodoo Bloo - Gig Review: Voodoo Bloo w/ Friends @ Ding Dong Lounge, Auckland - 14/05/2022

16 May 2022 // A review by Gideon Voon

It’s mid-2022 and yet another gig is at the mercy of Covid. This time, Melanie was not spared. Seeking redemption however, they graced us with an acoustic set. Think I’m using biblical theme as words? Well that’s the last of that, as we dive in a musical night of chaos, anarchy, rebellion. The themes that allude to Punk and Alternative music. First we bring you a quick commercial break of acoustic music, sponsored by Omicron.

As mentioned, Melanie decided to fit in an acoustic set at the last minute. I was looking forward to this band. But even stripped of the power given to them by their electrical instruments, they managed to showcase their playful energy. Using interesting musical devices such, speeding up a section of the song gradually, playing another by gradually getting as quiet as possible. All the while with a cheeky grin on their faces, spreading infectious joy to the audience.

We wait for them to return at full strength.

Lorenzo Hazelwood came in as the official replacement act for Melanie. As he began by playing his Drop-D tuned guitar, you get a sense that this music is meant to be played with band. And this becomes clearer through the night, as well as being confirmed by Lorenzo himself, that he would have liked to have his band with him. Nevertheless, he delivers the songs in their primal essence. His voice (strong and present) and songs sparked many Hard Rock artists that I am reminded of: Creed, Alterbridge, Incubus, Three Days Grace, maybe a bit of Bullet for My Valentine, are just a few that came to mind.

As Lorenzo’s performance comes to a close, it made me want to listen to his music in its intended presentation. Which I did after the gig, and what I thought, that’s another review.

Now the real show begins, as we get delivered the chaos and anarchy we were promised by the band Adult Friends. As I came from an educated musical background. This band shows no remorse for the rules of music and what you’re ‘supposed’ to do. Ending songs with awkward resolutions, guitarist stealing the mic from the frontman, and making cables falling out of guitars look like it was all part of the act. Leading this as a standout from the band is guitarist, Daniel Maslen. A true descendant from the lineage of Alternative guitarists such as: Kurt Cobain, Johnny Greenwood and Johnny Marr. The tempos of the songs are not fast enough to catch up to the eclectic rhythms of Daniel’s dancing.

The sound of the band is an interesting one, as we have Jackson Kidd on Vocals/Guitar (whose singing I imagine is inspired by Radiohead’s Thom Yorke), Harrison Yates (Bass), and Duvan Coetzee (Drums). And in a battlefield scenario, we have these three as the ground troops, who have tones and sounds that are conventional to an Alternative Rock band, while we have Daniel, sitting up above from space with his spaceship of Guitar effects, raining down complete havoc and destruction. Sometimes this incurs a bit of friendly fire here and there, as it clashes with the song and/or other instruments, but as I said, these guys don’t follow the rulebook.

Duvan’s drumming is rather interesting, as he alludes to his Jazz background by using a lot of fills that feel really improvisational and playful. And depending on his mood, can switch between that and just being a supportive backbone.

Overall an entertaining band, great if you’re in the mood of 'Sticking it to the man', or want to be reminded of the great bands who have done so.

And now for the finale, Wellington's Voodoo Bloo. First thing you will see is that “wait a minute, that’s the same guitarist from the previous band, and their lead vocalist just switched to drums.” This will be interesting.

They begin with Pursuit, followed by We’re Here Love Is, songs from their upcoming album. It is as if, the previous band had just matured into a man, though a punk youth by heart, vows to change the world through less aggressive means.

Jackson Kidd, the ‘vocalist-turned-drummer’ demonstrated a more traditional approach of just being a strong backbone of the band and being supportive. And Daniel Maslen, has a much more controlled and focused approach to the songs, and at the right moments, adds some really beautiful layers of sound. Along with Ollie Cass, a bass player who adds more creative bass lines (whom I suspect is a ‘guitarist-turned-bassist’), and refuses to conform to the norm of playing 1 note-per-chord. All these ingredients, headed by the songwriting and melodies of Rory McDonald (who presents a unique voice, which has a characteristic that reminds me of Panic at the Disco’s Brendan Urie, with a lower vocal range), presents the band we have in front of us.

A lot of the set are also upcoming songs from the upcoming album, so that is something to look out for.

In the middle section, we have Rory switching to a 12 string guitar and playing a few songs that start off intimately, with just Rory singing while playing some delicious melancholy guitar parts. Being able to do this while connecting emotionally to the audience is a very good sign (which is an essential skill most frontman should possess, but many don’t).

The night however was plagued by numbers of technical issues, and this halted a lot of momentum. This is something that can be fixed with more experience. But any who, the band kept tugging along.

After a few more songs they launch into their latest single Small (a very well written and fun song), it is at this point the energy really picks up. This new-found energy continues to rise as they play their final songs. And while they do that, I can’t help but feel there should be more of these kind of songs, at least in their live performances, or even maybe just earlier. We get a different side of Rory’s voice (by having more aggressive tones and even shouting), which is refreshing. The crowd really takes off here as they absorbed the energy that the band puts out. The band even got an encore, as they then pulled out their heaviest song Continuous Stimulus, and for just one time, decided to put away their maturity, and let it all out. The inner punk youth is released as Jackson whacks his drum kit harder than ever, adding a continuous flurry of kick drum, and allows the tempo to freely modulate.

Overall, Voodoo Bloo is a band who has found steady ground, they know what they’re doing, they have their sounds and tones figured out. And they a lot more room to grow, which is a good thing, not to mention a lot more songs to write. Perhaps this is Laneway Festival’s next great New Zealand act in the making. It will be exciting to see where they go from here.

Photo Credit: Nikita Weir / Antonia Pearl Photography


About Voodoo Bloo

Voodoo Bloo are an energetic young alternative rock band influenced by artists such as My Bloody Valentine, Interpol, Radiohead and Arctic Monkeys.

Visit the muzic.net.nz Profile for Voodoo Bloo


The Blessed Ghost
Year: 2022
Type: Album
Year: 2020
Type: Album

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