2 Dec 2023

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Into Orbit - Gig Review: Into Orbit @ San Fran, Wellington - 14/10/2022

17 Oct 2022 // A review by Nicholas Clark
A mere two days before Spook the Horses were scheduled to play a much anticipated show at Wellington’s San Fran, it was announced they would not be playing at all. Due to some of the members contracting Covid, the band posted on social media that the gig would be going ahead with fellow Wellingtonians Into Orbit taking their place as the headliner.

Although the support acts of Gravel Pit and End Boss remained, and refunds were offered to those who wanted them, it felt like the gig would be very different without them there (especially considering there was only three acts). Personally, I had been expecting to interview the band also, so this wasn't great news. I contacted Into Orbit to see if they would like to be interviewed instead, but they were too busy for an interview. They explained they had not gigged since January of this year together, and had not performed at San Fran in four years. This was an emergency – the duo posted as much on social media, adding an aesthetic of emergency aid to their messages for extra excitement. The band was coming to save Friday night at San Fran.

I arrived well after eight, thinking I might have missed an act, but the bar was still quiet. It wasn’t until nearly a full hour later that the bar had filled and I heard the unmistakable drum beat of hardcore. Gravel Pit played some fast, gritty punk. Led by female vocalist Bailey Palmer, the band played furiously at full speed. I hadn’t heard of the band before and although their instruments were well mixed, I couldn’t really make out any lyrics – not that it was important for the genre. Despite some technicalities with the guitar rig, the band played a short but energetic set of intense numbers. Ears ringing a bit, I retreated to the balcony for some air.

I was called back to the stage when the next band, End Boss began playing. This band I had seen before and, as expected, the sound was very different. While Gravel Pit were fast and thrashy, End Boss grooved to a stoner, sludge tempo. Atop the crushing guitars (two guitars, no bass), another female vocalist, EJ Thorpe, sang long melodic notes above the avalanche of sound. Not that the band played without passion or speed; drummer Nathan Hickey fired through some intense fills, while guitarists Greg Broadmore and Christian Pierce filled the room with thick, sludgy tones. The band was inspiring to watch. They reminded me of Italian stoner doom band Haunted, (not to be confused with the Swedish heavy metal band, The Haunted) in both their dynamics and sonic textures. An impressive set.

Finally, Into Orbit took the stage. While the setup seemed simple, (no mics, no bass, just a duo) Paul Stewart’s pedal board was an impressive collection that took a considerable amount of stage space and Ian Moir’s drumkit seemed more expansive than the other bands (including at least two large rides and what sounded like a sizzle and a china). The band began slow but built intensity as they continued to play their complex pieces. Both musicians played extremely well, nodding to one another subtly as they travelled through the large open spaces of ambient drone, followed by brutal moments leaning toward polished, precise metal. Odd time signatures, accented phrase and unexpected dynamic changes kept the audience engaged. The music altogether seemed too convoluted for a lyricist anyway.

The guitar tone was thick enough to cover the frequencies of bass or other instrument parts, and the looping riffs allowed Paul to navigate onto parts that required two or more simultaneous guitar parts. Solos were usually slow and melodic, rather than the frenetic ones he performs in Dark Divinity along with Ian. With reverb and sustained notes, the sound built huge structures that were strengthened by Ian’s Byzantine drumming. Listening to them, I was reminded of Tool, Mogwai and, at times, Pelican. The last time I saw the band was when they supported Jakob on the same stage - a perfect fit.

With barely a noticeable pause between songs, and without a single word spoken, the band finished on a crescendo of feedback ushered by Paul’s looped samples, and the audience appreciatively applauded the duo. The night had been saved.

Photo Credit: Nicholas E. Clark
Gravel Pit Gallery
End Boss Gallery
Into Orbit Gallery


About Into Orbit

Into Orbit is a Wellington duo of guitar and drums whose immersive, genre-defying sound contains aspects of experimental rock, polished prog, ambience & drone.

In August 2014 Into Orbit released their full-length debut album Caverns.

Visit the muzic.net.nz Profile for Into Orbit


Year: 2019
Type: Album
Year: 2017
Type: Album
Year: 2014
Type: Album

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