2 Dec 2022
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House of Bonnie Presents @ Valhalla, Wellington - 10/11/2022

12 Nov 2022 // A review by Nicholas Clark
While Wellington’s Valhalla can often seem the perfect venue for dark and brutal music with the Viking themed attire, steep black walls, not to mention imposing decals (including some surviving Halloween decorations), the bar was all colour and light on Thursday evening when Sodalight, REID, Happy Two and Burnt Out Graduate came to brighten the corners. The event had been organised by The House of Bonnie; an organiser who regularly puts on pop shows that are often related to Massey University creative art graduates.


First to take the stage was Sodalight (pictured), who played light, fresh and funky pop songs. Often, the guitar was not necessary
and slung at the side of the vocalist as he crooned through quiet passages and sung passionately through choruses. When the guitar did return it would punctuate rhythms with the keyboards, creating a nice interplay with the central bass that held the songs together.

Next up, REID took to the stage and immediately appeared more professional. Front man Reid Benseman sang with impressive control, holding notes to harmonise with the band behind. Again, keys and guitar, along with occasional acoustic guitar, interplayed with a heavy bass that kept things poppy and leaning toward funk. Reid established an immediate rapport with the audience, talking just a tiny bit between songs so the band and audience could prepare for a different vibe. The musicians subtly danced to the rhythms and the crowd followed likewise. REID played with influences ranging from pop, R&B, rock, worship music, even reggae. After a Bruno Mars cover the band had demonstrated their ability to deliver powerful pop tunes.

Next up was Happy Two, a foursome including Ben from Dave & The Dirty Humans. Front man Philip Kim got the crowd inspired early on with both his humorous patter and the band’s easy-going demeanor. Despite this, the band slipped into heavy punk rock at times, playing songs that sounded reminiscent of Anime series opening credits, a transformation of one of their songs into A-ha’s Take On Me and ending with a rousing version of Gangnam Style. Thoroughly entertaining.

The last band of the night was Burnt Out Graduate (pictured), oddly enough the only band who had since completed their degree. Immediately, the difference in the bands stage presence was obvious due to the lack of a vocalist, with their bassist taking the role of front man. The band played songs that had more in common with post-rock than pop, changing moods within songs from optimistically rising melodies to shimmering plaintive sections using heavy reverb to create crystalline ambience. Despite the lack of vocals, the music carried the band and entertained the audience until they covered their only pop song, a Gwen Stefani cover. By the end the band looked pumped and ready to play at least another half hour, but the night was late and as mentioned by the band at the beginning of their set, it was a Thursday after all.

Once the band had come off stage, I congratulated them on a powerful and inspiring set. They asked if I thought they needed a vocalist to compete their sound, to which I replied: ‘Don’t change a thing.’


Photo Credit: Nicholas E. Clark
Sodalight Photo Gallery
REID Photo Gallery
Happy Two Photo Gallery 
Burnt Out Graduate Photo Gallery

 

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