2 Oct 2023

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  • Adam Hattaway & The Haunters - Gig Review: Adam Hattaway and the Haunters @ Wine Cellar, Auckland - 04/11/2022

Adam Hattaway & The Haunters - Gig Review: Adam Hattaway and the Haunters @ Wine Cellar, Auckland - 04/11/2022

07 Nov 2022 // A review by Roger Bowie

Rick Topp opened for Adam Hattaway and the Haunters on Friday night three hours before pumpkin time. You know Rick Topp, you might not think so, but you do. By way of his famous daughter Hannah (go on, work it out). Rick hasn’t had a review since he opened for Tom Russell at the Gluepot 40 years ago. So this one had better be good, or it might discourage him for another 40 years.

And good he is. An old folk voice which has aged like a single malt, his is troubadour country, and he entrances us with six songs of various provenance. There are only three songs on Soundcloud that he has published, from about 30 or so he has written over the years. Possum is one of them. Then there is a song about Te Puke, and Punch and Judy, a break up song. But it is eminently listenable, classic folk, with a song written by the late Bob Frank in the late 60s called Judas Iscariot and to close the sort set a fabulous rendition of John Prine’s Christmas in Prison. Rick met John Prine while touring with Jimmy LaFave and so he deserves to sing that song. And Luke Hurley is here to reminisce about the old days because Rick has been around, mainly in folk circles but also in rock bands, and it’s just a nice surprise to see a resurrection of this kind and I just hope it happens again sometime soon. Less than 40 years please.

Finally, at last, eventually, I get to see Adam Hattaway and the Haunters as a full band live on stage and it’s the Wine Cellar and its Friday night and it’s almost full and so am I so what will I remember?

This is a double launch because Covid scuppered all the touring to promote the last album, the epic Rooster, and now the prolific Christchurch roosters have another album out, the incredible Bug Eyes. On this basis this gig should be about three hours long when you count contributions from Woolston, Texas (and maybe even further back)  and, to further befuddle this ancient brain they are playing new songs as well.  

Let me say simply that Adam Hattaway and the Haunters make great records (check out my 5 stars) but they are indeed a band best served live and loud. Crammed on to the small stage all six of them (getting bigger by the day) take me back to the late 70s and somewhere like the Nashville Rooms, a famous  West London venue which started as a country music pub and ended up with pub rock and punk. This is where the music of Adam Hattaway and the Haunters in a live context anchors me. Back in the days of Graham Parker, and Siouxee and the Banshees and Jerry Lee Lewis impersonator Colin Hindmarsh. Glorious London days lubricated by Fullers Extra Special Bitter. As good as Wine Cellar Pale Ale.

And what triggers this emotional journey are the Rooster classics Back in Jail and Atlanta and Crime of the Century before we hit Bug Eyes and Tess Liautaud introduces the Man of Action  and the many voices of Adam Hattaway pour Salt on the wound and another trilogy of Bug Eyes songs with the band tight as a gnats whatchamacallit playing rock and reggae (but no disco) before returning to full on country with Mama You Made a Drinker out of Me  and in a glorious finale with Tess singing her heart out we have certainly not being Wasting our Time.

Adam Hattaway and the Haunters comprise Adam Hattaway (who is a good boss), Elmore Jones on scintillating guitars, Sam white on bass, Holdyn Skinner on drums, Thomas Isbister on keys and things and the fabulous Tess Liautaud adding sweetness and soul to Adam’s distinctive falsetto.

Adam Hattaway and the Haunters embrace history and freshen it up for the 2020's.

Lots of local luminaries in the audience tonight showing respect, which is a thing about the Wine Cellar, and fabulous but loud sound keeping the Whammy Bar at bay and the finest of New Zealand’s rock n roll is ringing in my ears as I stumble off into the K Road night and can’t find any room in Luke’s car but happily there is an Ola a holler away.

Adam and the Haunters are on tour now way down south so go feast your eyes and ears before they head off to Oz and you will not be disinfected nor disappointed nor decontaminated from the allure of Bug Eyes and if you want to have bug eyes, be a dragonfly and not a grasshopper and if you don’t want to be a silly bugger be a Rooster.

Set List:

1. I’m Your Man
2. Waiting For the Chill
3. Baby It’s Cruel
4. Back in Jail
5. Atlanta
6. Crime of the Century
7. Ted Danson
8. Man of Action
9. Salt
10. To Leave
11. Haunted Man
12. King of Love
13. The Magician
14. You Made me a Drinking Man
15. Wasting Our Time

Photo Credit: Chris Zwaagdyk / ZED Pics
Adam Hattaway and the Haunters Photo Gallery
Rick Topp Photo Gallery


About Adam Hattaway & The Haunters

Adam Hattaway and the Haunters (A.H.) are initiating a new generation into the temple of alt rock’n’roll. As a seasoned touring band with three studio albums, A.H. explore personal themes while weaving in universal motifs - star crossed lovers, losers, and lonesome travelers.

Forever shaking hands with heartache, Adam Hattaway lives close to the bone. From his home in Otautahi/Christchurch, he has earned an international reputation for sweltering hooks, high kicks, and raw, emotional narrative. A born front man, he deftly marries 60’s swagger with 21st century sensitivity.

The Haunters are Adam Hattaway (The Eastern, Wurld Series), Elmore Jones (3000AD, Katie Thompson), Liam Quinn, Tess Liautaud, Thomas Isbister (Deep Water Creek, No Broadcast) and Holdyn Skinner.

Visit the muzic.net.nz Profile for Adam Hattaway & The Haunters


Bug Eyes
Year: 2022
Type: Album
Year: 2021
Type: Album
Woolston, Texas
Year: 2021
Type: Album
Crying Lessons
Year: 2019
Type: Album
All Dat Love
Year: 2018
Type: Album

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