2 Dec 2022
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Finger Tight - Gig Review: Finger Tight @ Zeal, Auckland - 05/11/2022

05 Nov 2022 // A review by Kev Rowland

This Saturday found me over in West Auckland for my first ever event at Zeal, which I have on good authority used to be the hub for punk/metalcore/hardcore shows back in the day. This was an all-ages show, so was starting at the ungodly hour of 7:30, but at least I had a great place to sit and write, on the desk next to the lighting and sound, with a proper chair with a back! It felt like I was in the office – if only I could do this at all venues! Mind you, my office does not have a mirrored wall down one side.

First up tonight was a band which was new to me, Yum Cha who feature Jimmy Acne (vocals, guitar), Drumlord (bass) and The Animal (drums), who have an average age of just 17, yet they have already been playing together for five years! They kicked off with Wynono, and I was impressed to see their setlist was virtually all originals. Drumlord may not move much, but looked incredibly relaxed as they moved through a song which is old school punk, with multiple sections which shows a high level of confidence. Before the gig I had been chatting with Aidan Ripley and Jerrick Wilcox from Capricore who told me they had come along to provide support as they are such good mates, and I could see why they made the trip. Heatstroke was much quieter, showing a very different side to the band, especially with the vocals, which were far sweeter and melodic, something which changed in Parasocial where there were definite elements of Siouxsie Sioux and Robert Smith. Jimmy also seems very relaxed, and it was easy to see that even though they are crazy young, all three have been playing together for some time and being onstage does not hold any fears for them and by now the crowd were dancing. They did alternate between slow and quick numbers through the set, which did show different sides of the band, but did also seem somewhat strange, but the crowd didn’t seem to mind and there were lots of lit phones held in the air for Daydreaming. They ended the show with a cover of a song which is more than 40 years old, The Cure’s Boys Don’t Cry, which was perfectly suited to their style. I am sure we will be hearing more from these guys in the future

I had not previously come across Kindred Vice before this week, so it was something of a shock to discover that I knew some of the guys from other bands! When singer Christian Carstensen walked in with Lee Mackley we had a chat and I said I had no idea he was in a different band to (Crooked Royals} and that they had been going for so long. Lee them told me they first met when their respective bands were at a Battle of the Bands (which they lost to Animalhead) and decided they ought to join forces which is how Crooked Royals first came about. The other members of Kindred Vice are Ben Shivas (bass) and Keane Gilles (drums, Crooked Royals), along with none other than guitarist Gideon Voon (Shepherd’s Reign). Apparently, he joined them in 2015/16 and this is their first gig since 2019 (there has been a pandemic after all).

They kicked off with Inquisition, and even though there are two guitarists, the band was mostly based around the rhythm section (some fantastic double kick drum sections on this one) and Christian’s vocals, but as the song developed the guitars came more to the fore. They definitely have emo tendencies, but with the drums having a far more prominent role. The Calling soon had everyone in the front clapping along, and although they may not have gigged together for three years, there are members of the band who have been very active indeed (I’ve seen Gideon twice in the last month or so), and they are all so very comfortable on stage, as that is where they belong. They also have the camaraderie which only comes from countless hours practicing and playing, which is how Keane somehow got Christian to perform a rap before they went into The Kill (30 seconds to Mars), which I saw Christian sing solo with an acoustic a few weeks back, but this was way more powerful with electric guitars and a full band, so he showed off his vocal chops that much more. Gideon was looking so incredibly relaxed, as this style of music is far less intense than what we normally see him play, Ben was locked in tight with the guitars and drums, while at the back, Keane was hitting really hard and providing loads of fills. Add a frontman with wonderful vocals who can get an audience energised and there are all the ingredients for a great rock band delivering what everyone wants to hear, and certainly not showing any rust from being away so long. Christian soon got the audience singing along so he could harmonise, and Gideon then took centre stage with a dramatic solo showing much more of his metal roots. When they launched into Decode the crowd soon recognised the Paramore number and reacted in kind. They ended with Vacant Faces, and another ripping solo with Gideon having his foot up on a foldback, and from the audience reaction I am sure it will not be three more years until we see them again. 

I last saw Late To Chelsea at The Tuning Fork when they supported Daniel Armstrong & The Monsoons and last time they got everyone to pay attention as they started by shouting “We are the worse band in the world” but tonight they started with “We are the worse band in Auckland” so they obviously feel they have improved somewhat. Here we have a punk band who refuse to take themselves seriously, yet are incredibly tight and have a load of fun. The all-ages crowd loved that the first song was Fuck Wasps, and happily joined in on the chorus. Bassist Sam Ashton, along with Jack Horsnell (guitar, vocals), Dave Hulbert (guitar, vocals) and drummer Jack McKenzie are out to enjoy themselves, and everyone down the front was dancing, while everyone was happy to clap along with their arms in the air for Money and Me with Jack providing lead vocals on the first few songs. I have been fortunate enough to have seen Bowling For Soup a few times in the past, and I am sure that Sam has been influenced by Chris Burney as it is so rare to see anyone having quite so much fun onstage. The next single, Permanent Stankface Disorder, saw Dave hang up his guitar and take over on vocals, a role he also took for Limp Bizkit’s Break Stuff. By now Sam had to sit down as something happened to his knee, but there was no way he was going to stop the gig with both band and crowd having so much fun. Centipede saw Jack and Dave share vocals on the first verse before Dave taking over, with Sam valiantly trying to move as much as possible on his chair – he did attempt to stand up at one point, but that was obviously too painful so he sat back and decided not to do that again. He started the next number with the chords to Smoke on the Water, but soon changed into Black Flag’s Six Pack where Dave again dumped the guitar as they went into the highly charged number. This was followed by the high energy emotion of Hey Hey Hey where the crowd happily responded to Jack before they finished with the somewhat mellower Millionaire Mime March. Sam was still pushing through the pain, rocking from his chair, as Jack provided the gravel to take it to the end. Another great gig from these guys, even though it did not go exactly as they had planned. 

The band came onto the stage in darkness as a voice said “Welcome to the Finger Tight Experience…. Now bang your fucking heads”. Then the lights kicked in and the band were displayed all wearing matching baseball tops with Finger Tight across the front and their names on the back, so very cool. For those who have not seen these guys, they comprise Red Rogers (vocals), Glenn Mullins (guitar, backing vocals), Jesse De Silva (guitar), Jasher Simmons (bass, backing vocals) and Matt Townshend (drums). Tonight, was the album launch, and this was the band everyone was here to see. Red was saying to me earlier how bad his voice was as he was not very well, but he is a frontman who puts everything into the performance and there was no way he was not going to give his all. Kicking off with I Hear It Rains in Seattle the band were incredibly tight: everyone here knew the words and were singing along, crowding Red when he held out the microphone, and when they went straight into Incomplete Sentences Are So, the crowd were with them all the way, with Red joining in the mosh. He asked for help on the next one, as his voice was already gone, and on the album it featured Josh Pinho of Stray Dogs, but tonight he was singing Uncertain Times Call for Uncertain Measures on his own, although the crowd were certainly there to help him out. 

The last time I saw these guys was at Wine Cellar, but this is a band who need to be on a bigger stage as they spread themselves from side to side, with room for Red to run around, providing a solid backline of sound which only comes from a band confident in their ability and having played together for years. It was getting quite violent down the front during My Inner Child is in Amityville as here is a band who really get the audience going with a groove that combines punk and emo with pop sensibilities then creates infectious bangers. Another song on the album which had a guest was the one they said was their favourite, According to Socrates, I'm a Philosopher, and after the first verse that guest, Lee Mackley, took his rightful place on the stage and he and Red bounced off each other, taking the intensity to new levels. Even though the band were creating a heck of a racket, the audience were determined to be heard on this one, pushing the band even harder. 

The album has only been out a short while, but it was obvious that many of those in the audience have been played it on repeat as Difficult Difficult Lemon Difficult was another when Red could stop singing at any point and the crowd would keep it going for him. Somehow the band kept responding, with No PP Left For This Move letting them pick up the tempo even more. The Inner Machinations Of My Mind Are An Enigma is another banger throughout. They then went back in time, all of about eighteen months, to a song which is not on the album, Dodge Duck Dip Dive and Dodge, and the crowd were certainly up for it, as they had been all night. They finished with Another Addiction, which was kindly dedicated to me, and the crowd reacted, jumped and moshed for one last time, and when Red stopped singing the audience just kept it going. 

We then went through the “one more song” chant, and the guys came back for Why Should You Care? with a driving drum beat and bassline setting it up and the crowd reacting for one very last time, singing the chorus at the top of their lungs. Red got the crowd to split in two as the band stopped, then when they started again the mosh was on.

Tonight was a heck of a show, well worth the trip out west, and I look forward to catching all these guys again soon.


Photo Credit: Ginny C Photography
Finger Tight Gallery
Kindred Vice Gallery
Yum Cha Gallery
Late To Chelsea Gallery

 

About Finger Tight

With a sound that ranges from skate park pop punk, to some good ol' fashioned metalcore, the Finger Tight boys have always struggled to categorize themselves. "Kiwi A Day To Remember" is usually the response, but their unique and broad sound is what ticks so many listener's boxes.

Since the start of their gigging days in 2021, Finger Tight have made waves in the local scene, always selling out gigs and bringing the energy to kickstart those packed out rooms. Kev Rowland (Muzic.net.nz) described them as "pop punk with real balls" and their live shows are known to relentlessly follow through.


Visit the muzic.net.nz Profile for Finger Tight

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