29 Mar 2023

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Lazy Fifty - Gig Review: Lazy Fifty @ Paraoa Brewing, Whangaparaoa - 24/11/2022

24 Nov 2022 // A review by Kev Rowland

For my only gig this week, not only am I out on a school night, but I have struggled all the way from South Auckland up to Whangaparaoa, and I must admit it has been years since I have been here. Tonight, Australian trio 19-Twenty are in town, but to be honest I am here for the support band, Lazy Fifty whose last album, 2021: A Lazy Odyssey, I reviewed a year ago. Tomorrow these two bands are playing in Auckland at Anthology, which would have been much easier for me to get to, but I will be on South Island by the time they make it to the stage and I promised them ages ago that I would make the effort, so here I am. Mind you, the venue itself looked great with a very modern feel, huge range of drinks, and a nice permanent stage (which I was informed had very good sound), so it all boded well for the evening.                                            

I thought Lazy Fifty were a trio, comprising Adrian Athy (guitar, vocals), Toko Mantis (bass, vocals), and Aidan Walters (drums), so it was a bit of surprise to see the line-up as a quartet. Apparently, when they recorded their last album with Greg Haver, they asked him to recreate their big live sound in the studio, which he did by layering guitars on guitars so the only way to reproduce this was by bringing in an additional guitarist in the shape of Joseph Carroll. They kicked off with the intro from the album and its Space 2001 theme, and then we were into blistering blues rock as they ripped into Poor Boy Blues, and I was immediately taken back into the early Seventies when dirty blues rock was king. There is something special about the blues being played at volume in a hard rock arrangement, and Adrian was shredding like a madman in this number. The second half of this is Lament, much slower and trad blues, but they soon went back to form with Joseph taking the lead.

While they can play the trad blues when they wish to, they seem happiest when they are blasting it out in a style which is a frenetic take on early Foghat, yet no matter what they are doing, at the heart is the rhythm section who keep it locked in tight (with Toko also providing harmony vocals when the time is right). They are also more than happy to mix different tempos and styles within the same song and then blasting out, and when Adrian scat sings alongside his guitar he definitely channels the much-missed Lonesome Dave. There was not much talking with the audience, just four guys ripping out hard rock blues in a very enjoyable fashion indeed. This is a style of music which always feels honest and packed full of emotion, and even though they were loud and proud they never lost sight of the blues being at the heart of everything they were doing.

I could certainly see why they have been so popular on the festival circuit and also why Australian band 19-Twenty sked them to support them on a few dates, if only they weren’t all the way down in Gisborne, I am sure more people would be aware of them as this was a very polished performance indeed. Although most songs saw the guys take it in turns to blast, there were sometimes when the rhythm section were left to get on with it while they took a break, before coming back in with some nice dual harmonies. Although the stage looked a nice size from my viewpoint, apparently there was not much room with everyone’s gear on it, which is probably why the guys stayed mostly rooted to the spot, but although there may not been much movement from the lower halves of their bodies, they were letting their hands and the music do all the talking. We would go from belters into more traditional numbers like Polly’s Lament, and one could hear the emotion just pouring out from the guitar in a way that only ever really happens with the blues.   

Catch The Train even had a bass and drum battle in the middle with Adrian and Joseph just standing to one side seeing which one would come out victor, but Toko and Aidan ended this together so both guitarists joined in to finish the song. It was a long way into the set before we finally saw the appearance of a slide, but it was used to great effect on Perdition Dance, taking us back even further into the blues, yet combining it with an up tempo beat. Pretty As A Flower allowed Joseph to take the lead again, and I was surprised to note that the band had now been playing for an hour, a lengthy set for the band who was not the headline. No No No has a far more commercial feel with some nice harmony vocals and these guys are incredibly tight in all they do, at home in so many styles, but always rooted in the blues. They finished with Adrian yet again displaying he is a wonderful guitarist and while he shreds, he somehow keeps it grounded and never speed for technique’s sake.               

This is one heck of a live band, and one could see why they were allowed 80 minutes as this never felt like a support but much more like a co-headline, and 19-Twenty were going to have to be pretty special to be able to put on a better show, but sadly I have an early start tomorrow and need to get back to South Auckland so I was going to have to miss them. One thing I am sure of is that when Lazy Fifty are back up here again I will be the first at the door, and if you love hard rock blues then this is a band you simply cannot afford to miss.


Photo Credit: Kev Rowland


About Lazy Fifty

Lazy Fifty are a tight three piece band with two male vocalists and an extensive set of original songs.

Their music harks back to 70's classic rock and British blues enhanced with a healthy dose of funk, rocking rhythms and impressive guitar.

They have played Bay of Island Jazz and Blues Festival, the Big Blues Up, Rotorua Blues Festival, Gisborne Wine and Food Festival and Blues and Roots on 35, as well as supporting Renee Geyer.

Visit the muzic.net.nz Profile for Lazy Fifty


2021: A Lazy Odyssey
Year: 2021
Type: Album
Fifty Shades Of Lazy
Year: 2018
Type: Album
Petra Et Volvo
Year: 2017
Type: Album

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