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


Other Reviews By Nicholas Clark

Bevan Mical - Single Review: Cuts Through The Years
21 Nov 2022 // by Nicholas Clark
Cuts Through The Years is a jolly, breezy single by multi-instrumentalist, Bevan Mical. The song begins with a two-chord sequence on acoustic guitar, but there's something exotic about the chords are instruments that support the verse.
GiGi Genie - EP Review: Seasons of The Soul / Wa O Te Wairua
21 Nov 2022 // by Nicholas Clark
Seasons of The Soul or Wa O Te Wairua, is a collection of songs by multi-instrumentalist and self-described folk noir artist GiGi Genie. The group is led by songwriter GiGi Crayford and her support band which includes flautists, violinists, zither and percussion players.
Ben Horlock - Single Review: Don't Wait On Me
21 Nov 2022 // by Nicholas Clark
Ben Horlock (Ngati Porou/Te Arawa) is a pop artist from Dunedin who has an ear for a great pop melody, a knack for moody blues guitar lines, and the kind of voice talent scouts are always listening out for. His latest release Don’t Wait on Me features the prominent high hat of modern trap music coming out of Atlanta, an ambient synth lifted from a goth club track, with some deep bass chords to anchor it all together.
Hans Pucket - Album Review: No Drama
21 Nov 2022 // by Nicholas Clark
Wellington four-piece Hans Pucket is the kind of band you really should get into now (if you haven’t already) and see live before they become massive. That is, if the world is fair and allows these musicians to succeed at their art form because they really are incredibly good at what they do - and that’s writing beautiful, clever, unusual songs that seem to be for and inspired by uncertain times.
ABRZY - Album Review: 80 Different Ways II
18 Nov 2022 // by Nicholas Clark
ABRZY (sometimes referred to as Breezy) is a rapper who has quickly made a name for himself for not only his distinctive, rapid flowing delivery but his unique style that blends influences from Bengali culture. Above all, this release is genuine.
Gig Review: Dead Favours @ Valhalla, Wellington - 12/11/2022
14 Nov 2022 // by Nicholas Clark
There was a palpable energy in Valhalla on Saturday night; something akin to an orchestra warming up before an opera or athletes preparing for a big game. Before the first act, standing patrons were clamouring for the front line to enjoy three fantastic (and quite different) rock bands.
Curlys Jewels - Single Review: Criminal
06 Nov 2022 // by Nicholas Clark
Curlys Jewels' Criminal begins with one hell of a riff inspired by the glory days of 90’s grunge, but produced with a little more bite giving it a metallic vibe. I instantly thought of Alice in Chains, not only as an influence on the song but also as another band that drew heavily from both genres.
Desbot - Album Review: Pass of Change
02 Nov 2022 // by Nicholas Clark
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