2 Dec 2022
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  • This Silent Divide - Gig Review: This Silent Divide @ Dead Witch, Auckland - 11/11/2022

This Silent Divide - Gig Review: This Silent Divide @ Dead Witch, Auckland - 11/11/2022

11 Nov 2022 // A review by Kev Rowland

Back down to Dead Witch for the first of two consecutive nights of gigs for me which were both originally planned for last year but postponed due to the pandemic. Wellington-based quartet This Silent Divide were finally up in Auckland to promote their excellent EP, Tall Stories, which I reviewed last October. This gig has been in my calendar virtually all of 2022.

First up was The Boondocks who I came across at a Battle of the Bands here last month. They are a two-piece featuring Branden Pritchard on drums and Scott Parker on bass and vocals and have quite a unique sound with the bass going through a pedalboard and making it sound as if it is a guitar. Scott was suffering a little with his voice in the soundcheck, but it sounded fine when they kicked off with Payday. There is something about their sound which is totally original, although in some ways they do have a similar approach to Earth Tongue but coming to it from the bass instead of the guitar and with a far less doom approach and more straight ahead alternative melodic rock. It was interesting to see a few other bands represented here, including Deathnir, Finger Tight and Channeled, and there was no doubt at all that everyone was enjoying themselves. It is strange to think that these guys have been together only for a short time as they are definitely kicking up a storm.

Most of the attention may be on Scott who is providing all the melody and vocals, but Branden is generating changes in the rhythm which gives Scott something to build on which is dynamic and shifting yet always powerful. Even though there is only two of them, and they are not using backing tracks but performing totally live, there is so much going on that there is just no room for any other instrumentation. The use of effects to have a bass sounding like a bass and distorted guitar tracking each other is incredibly effective. There was also a shoutout to their old music teacher, Ben Ruegg, who was in the audience, which was great to hear. The Other Side is yet another number which just pumps, designed to get the crowd moving and having fun, hopefully as much fun as the two guys on the stage who are obviously having a blast. Branden even gets the opportunity to show off in this, getting a section to try and hit everything that much harder and faster than he has previously. They ended the night with Black Taxi, and it was obvious they made a load of new friends tonight.

Next up were Living State, one of my favourite bands. Marissa (vocals), Peter (guitar), Cam (drums), and Lex (bass) may have only released one song and video so far, but it is a killer, and I have been reliably informed that there are going to be lots more coming out next year as well as plenty of gigs. Tonight, they kicked off with Alter Ego, which is tight, heavy, and melodic with great hooks and then over the top there is Marissa. The last time I saw them was the best I had heard her sing, and she was in the same mode tonight, hitting all the notes with ease. When the band hit the groove, such as they did on Vantage, it really is something very special indeed, taking everyone along with them. Their songs all contain multiple sections, with a melodic deep and heavy bass providing the link between the drums and guitar – this bass heavy sound is then offset by the sweet higher vocals of Marissa with the contrast between the two making for an incredible impact.

Stalker has quite a staccato arrangement, but it also allows Marissa to really show off her vocals, both gently and in a more aggressive manner. Cam is all over the kit, providing multiple fills and with a good use of cymbals, while Lex and Peter are locked in tight, almost as if it is two lead guitars. There is no doubt that Marissa is way more comfortable on songs like Pandering where she is not providing a second guitar and given the presence she provides one must wonder if they should rearrange the songs so it is not needed. Lex is obviously looking to compete with Ant with the rock god bass approach, and it would be great to see these guys playing on the same bill as Just One Fix so we could have a bass off! He even ended up in the audience at one point. Black White Man is going to be released with a video in February, and was the reason everyone was dressed in corporate attire the last time I saw them. This is slower and more reflective, until it isn’t and the tempo and ferocity lifts, as does Marissa’s voice. Now it was time for that song: One Sided has a sick introduction with a filthy riff, a bass slide up the neck and then we are off into a song which was in my Top Ten last year, and I still love it. The dramatic difference between the almost rap of the verse and the dynamic lift in the chorus works so very well indeed. They ended the set with Snake Pit, which is about right-wing trolls, and the groove was solidly in once again. These guys are such a great band, and I can’t wait to see them again soon.

Now it was time for This Silent Divide, Shaun Jones (vocals, guitar), Kieran Williams (guitar, backing vocals), Peter Stitt (bass, backing vocals), and Sunil Jolly (drums). I was looking forward to this as not only am I a fan of all the material I have heard, but they also use proper harmony vocals which is somewhat unusual in a rock band these days. A simple “good evening” from Kieran and then he started riffing and we were straight into Morning. This is a high energy number with Sunil keeping it tight at the back, Peter planting himself into the stage like a classic rock bassist with Shaun and Kieran riffing hard, providing melodic rock with a real groove. They were not messing about tonight and kicked straight into In My Life, the opening track from the EP, not letting the energy levels drop and show that while we may have not seen much of them in Auckland, they have the tightness which only comes from a set of guys who have spent countless hours playing next to each other.

Boneshaken has some similarities with both Dead Favours and Nickelback, containing infectious hooks, constantly riffing guitars, hooks, beck and call vocals and harmonies. They then slowed it down somewhat with the introduction to Lucinda, their first ever single (which I gave a 5* review to at the time), showing a very different side to the band as although it ramps up in the chorus the verse is way more delicate. After the constant riffing which had gone previously this allowed the band to change the dynamics and provide some nice contrast. From there they segued straight into Grief, showing a more up-tempo side to the band, keeping the riffs coming and allowing Sunil to really drive from the back.

A quick callout to MNZ from Shaun saying how much they appreciate how much we do for New Zealand music led into Sunil and Peter having a quick mess about before we went into It’s True, which was again a far slower number with plenty of space and much of it only having one guitar. I always like sets with contrast which have been well-planned as it highlights the different styles, the highs and lows, and we were certainly getting that tonight. Eyes even had a mostly acapella section with just one gently riffing guitar and then they thumped into Out of Control and really changed it up. Tear It Down is another high-octane number which allows them to harmonise over a heavy base, and then they went into new number Lost in the Ocean which has some nice stop/start features and plenty of harmonies. Their style of melodic rock is certainly effective and even though most of those in the audience had not previously come across them, there were plenty of people dancing. They ended the set with Don’t Give Up, which starts with just Shaun and Sunil, but soon ramps up with plenty of guitar and harmony vocals, before it drops back again somewhat for the next verse. Loads of cries of “one more song” had the guys easily convinced to provide one more belter and then the night was done.

This gig has been a long time coming, but I am so glad the guys finally made it as this was a great evening and I for one am certainly looking forward to hearing much more from them in the future.


Photo Credit: Gareth West / Focused West Photography
This Silent Divide Photo Gallery
The Boondocks Photo Gallery
Living State Photo Gallery

 

About This Silent Divide

Formed in 2018, This Silent Divide are regulars on the Wellington live music scene, bringing their style of driving melodic rock to crowds around the city. 2021 has seen the band play a range of shows, including the iconic CubaDupa festival, before heading into the studio in June to record the Tall Stories EP.

Tall Stories features the singles Lucinda (out 1 October) and Don’t Give Up and will be released on 1 November, and supported by a 5-date North Island Tour.


Visit the muzic.net.nz Profile for This Silent Divide

Releases

Tall Stories
Year: 2021
Type: EP

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