5 Oct 2022
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Coridian - Gig Review: Coridian @ Ding Dong Lounge, Auckland - 03/09/2022

06 Sep 2022 // A review by Steve Shyu

Let’s not dwell on the obvious.

Lockdowns were not nice, we all missed live music, we’re all glad scanning QR codes in every doorway aren’t a thing anymore. Every writer of most articles and reviews will have expressed their relief at the current state of things by now, so I won’t go into that!

Auckland favourites Coridian, post-metal heavyweights Pull Down the Sun, a band I had yet to experience named East York, plus highly promising hard rock White Noise Mafia were all slated to perform on the second storey at one of Auckland’s most renowned rock venues. That line-up alone had me fizzing.

That’s about as much preamble as one needs in 2022!

White Noise Mafia sauntered on stage, appearing relaxed but ready. Frontman Chris Webb, strapped with a Flying V, declares “We haven't played in nearly a year, it feels great to be back!", then launches into their fiery tune The Divide. There’s plenty of headbanging from band members and audience alike, and interactions with the Dead Witch crowd was at maximum, so you know there was no better way to kick off a night of rock and heavy metal. Though Dead Witch is small, don’t be fooled into thinking the acoustics would be bad; I’m reminded time and time again how pleasant things sound on that second storey of Ding Dong Lounge. But I digress!

The lead vocalist made sure to make his presence known as often as possible, getting the crowd nice and warmed up for the acts ahead. “How are you all doing? Man, it feels so good to be back here”, he exclaimed in between just about every song. His longing in playing live again was evident - And quite frankly, same here, my friend. Lead guitarist Matt Holden also added oomph to the performances, providing backing vocals, whipping his hair about during frenzied and heavy riffs. At the end of Attack, frontman Chris demanded the audience part like the Red Sea. “You know what this means”, he exclaimed, as the drums bashed away and guitars hammered, and the two halves of a semi-warmed up audience stomped back into the vacant centre.

There’s oodles of big guitar energy, leaving one wanting more axe-wielding action. Luckily, White Noise Mafia had one last cannon at the ready. An impressively potent cover of Shihad’s My Mind’s Sedate, which has gone down famously well at past shows, and tonight was no exception.

The night has well and truly been set on the right track, to say the least.

Aside from YouTube videos and Spotify streams, there’s not much that could have prepared me for the power that was East York’s performance. The black-clad four piece began with Outsiders, an alternative rock tune that balanced melody with aggressive energy beautifully, segmented in parts with frenetic drum passages.

This is a band with presence and power that I’ve not witnessed in quite a long time - And that’s not because of lockdowns! The enigmatic frontman Tarquin Keys provided an air of mystery, vocalising in both clean and screamed styles throughout the set, with his wide-brimmed hat accentuating his mysteriousness. Eric Boucher on bass switched between stomping to his rhythms then headbanging in a stance as wide as the Harbour Bridge, while the guitarist seemed to genuinely enjoy every note he played, boasting a stage persona best described as 50% Dave Grohl and 50% James Hetfield. And the drummer Zane Rosanoski was easily the most focused and hard-hitting that I’ve ever witnessed. Special mention must go to Zane.

All of this combined made for a highly entertaining and engaging performance. And sonically, between melodies and grooves, the band straddled the line between metalcore and alternative metal perfectly.

Some sizzling highlights of the set were Devil You Know, which boasted beast-sized, booming basslines, following which was a quick, shredding bass solo during the breakdown. The new release Dead by Design was spectacular and lots of fun, set to an industrial-like four-four beat, as though it was written with headbanging and fist-pumping in mind. Saving the best for last, and arguably their most instantly likeable, To Kill the Sun rounded off the set. The punishing yet addicting vocal lines left one wanting to rock out to more. Guess I’ll just have to save East York to my watchlist for future gigs!

Whanganui three-piece Pull Down the Sun kicked off their set with the eerie, folk-inspired instrumental, Aka. Leading into the second track off their album Of Valleys and Mountains, Whare Ra sees the two guitarists closing their eyes, swaying in time with each other as they picked dextrously through their respective passages. Like a hybrid of Massachusetts post-metal icons Isis and Aotearoa’s own legends Jakob, blending in some of the titanic qualities of French group Gojira, the band powered through half a dozen tracks, serving up the most prog-metal out of the night’s four acts.

The group is extremely well-rehearsed, with Stefan Bourke on drums performing deftly as the rhythmic backbone, and the two guitarists, Koert Wegman and Jason Healey, complementing each other incredibly well. Though post-metal may not be every Aucklander’s cup of tea, the group dancing and grooving in time before the stage would beg to differ.

There’s the affectionate yet brutal Salt of the Earth, which frontman Koert announced as the first song they ever composed together; there’s the thrashier Weta, fleshed out with some tasty polyrhythms from the drummer. A brand new song was even unveiled to be titled Of Rivers and Glaciers, and the audience were treated to a gargantuan soundscape of down-tuned strings, occasionally marked with double-tapping of guitar strings, as the vocalist sung at the same time. How’s that for a display of technical ability.

Even as the band faced some technical problems of equipment toppling over and having to reset the backing track, the three-man act recovered quickly and wasted no time in re-presenting the piece at hand. “Once more, with feeling”, as they say, and boy, did they rock ten times as hard on the second attempt.

Needless to say, if you’re reading this and you’re into post-metal, or sludge that’s a touch Avant Garde, be sure to catch Pull Down the Sun live next time or stream online.

Here comes the headline act of the night, one of Ding Dong Lounge/Dead Witch’s favourite troupes, returning to the upstairs stage for what would undoubtedly be an impressive display of musical ability and crafted alt-rock entertainment.

Guitar notes swell. Basslines begin. Cymbals chime. Stage lights flash. The volume grows, and frontman Dity Maharaj emerges, and thus begins the opening song Endless War. Right off the bat, there were already devoted legions at the front of the audience, singing the lyrics with hands in the air. It’s evident people have missed seeing this band as much as I have!

All Coridian hallmarks were on display: Kris’s delicious drum fills, Nick’s compelling basslines, Mike’s ornate and deeply passionate guitar chromatics, all served with lead singer Dity’s larger-than-life stage persona.

It had never occurred to me before just how well the vocalist could command an audience; with every wave of his hand, every finger-point and gesticulation, people connected and responded, moving with Dity’s emotive singing and movements.

The band recently debuted their latest offering, the single Rakshasa (which, by the way, has a kick-ass, and curiously creative music video to match), and tonight was the to be first anyone has been treated to this tune in a live capacity. The song is dynamic, vibrant and fun, coated in all the Coridian signature style of 2000’s rock rhythms and densely layered guitars. Written by Wolves’s lead singer Michael Murphy has a guest appearance on the recording, and in lieu of said vocalist’s attendance, Coridian’s very own drummer Kris filled in on the backing scream vocals, and did a marvellous job of it! I used to think I could pull off such a vocal sound, but Kris not only proved he has more to offer than sticks-and-skins, he also showed me a thing or two!

Coridian pulled out many stops for the evening, serving up their heavy-hitting single Seed II, and it’s not hard to hear why - That mechanical-sounding bass guitar pulse grabs your attention from the start, and the rest of the song doesn’t let go until the end. As does Reflections, arguably their best-known release - That vocal hook in the chorus grabs the attention of all, even those who have never heard the song before.

If it hasn’t already, Coridian’s cover of Wicked Game by Chris Isaak should go on to become a regular live staple; that’s not just my opinion, the number of voices singing back the chorus is evidence enough. And mark my words, if my eyebrows never raise when Dity reaches those high notes at the second chorus, send me home as I'm clearly not the same person!

With no planned encore in the set, and after pleading and cheering from the Dead Witch crowd, the band couldn’t help but relent and unleash their old fan-favourite Blind Faith, which was, to no surprise, met with visible jubilation and hearty voices singing that stadium-sized chorus. The band seemed rejuvenated, were visibly having a great time on stage, and the crowd interactions were at a new high.

Coridian has never sounded so good.

As the venue Dead Witch started to clear, there were hugs, handshakes, plenty of fans introducing themselves to newfound local heroes, and definitely no shortage of spirited individuals. The air of camaraderie was amazing to see. I’m reminded yet again just how much a venue like Ding Dong Lounge/Dead Witch serves the rock and heavy metal scenes in Aotearoa and, no less, in Tamaki Makaurau, and it's moments like these one experiences the intangible worth of live music outlets such as this.

As I marched up the stairwell out of Ding Dong Lounge, I said hi and nodded in appreciation to a band member that had played tonight, and at that moment I realised that my neck muscles had already started to feel sore. I thought to myself, “Just means that I had a really good time”.


Photo Credit: Tadashi Jokagi / Joe Photography
Coridian Photos
Pull Down The Sun Photos
East York Photos
White Noise Mafia Photos

 

About Coridian

Take fireball vocal powerhouse Dity and the hard hitting, harder grooving Raven brothers, bind them together and you get Coridian. It's the four-piece Auckland based who are fast becoming one of the best new names in Kiwi rock.

They've worked with some of the best names in NZ and Australian music including Zorran Mendonsa (Blacklistt/City Of Souls), Paul Lawrence (His Master’s Voice), Forrester Savell (Karnivool, Shihad) and Ermin Hamidovic (Architects/Intervals).

They've toured extensively around NZ, including their own headlining tours and performing with high profile NZ acts such as Devilskin, City of Souls, I Am Giant, Skinny Hobos and Written by Wolves, as well as international acts such as P.O.D (USA), Fuel (USA), Fozzy (USA), Sumo Cyco (CAN) & Red Sea (AUS).

Visit the muzic.net.nz Profile for Coridian

Releases

Eldur
Year: 2020
Type: EP
Caldera
Year: 2017
Type: EP
Oceanic
Year: 2015
Type: EP

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