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  • Fraser Ross - Gig Review: Fraser Ross w/ Hannah Everingham @ Wine Cellar, Auckland - 4/02/2023

Fraser Ross - Gig Review: Fraser Ross w/ Hannah Everingham @ Wine Cellar, Auckland - 4/02/2023

06 Feb 2023 // A review by Roger Bowie

It’s a balmy Auckland evening with no rain, yes, no rain, yes, no rain, yes, I really mean no rain and we’re at the Wine Cellar to see Christchurch/Lyttelton based musicians Fraser Ross, who is headlining, and Hannah Everingham, who is opening, except she’s not, because Babe Martin pops up ahead of her. Very cool singer songwriter who has another life as Zoe Larson Cumming who you will hear on 95bfm. She sings and plonks on her keyboard and it’s indie and folky and she has a great voice and the keyboards provide a church like backdrop to showcase her Gregorian chant. Five sweet songs. Mark my words, we should be hearing and seeing more of Babe Martin.

Hannah Everingham has just released her debut album, well, just last November. It’s called Between Bodies and it remains unexplained between which bodies but it was made last year with Thomas Isbister and she released it to the world a few pensive months later at the press of a button. If you want to place Hannah’s so many good voices somewhere you might think of an early Hannah (Aldous Harding) and even more so of an early Hollie (Tiny Ruins), dreamy folk nuance supporting lyrical enchantment. So Long Underground opens the set followed by The Moon Gardiner which is a song about the stars and not the moon and definitely The Plains because she tells us. A song about Judi Dench brings out a Randy Newman moment and my mate hears Courtney Barnett but I mean everyone sounds a bit like Courtney at some point in a song. A Spanish introduction about a Spanish man who I think is called Eduardo, but no El Dorado, and this is a new song because there is another album already recorded and now we can’t wait. And then this enchanting set ends with Hannah the storyteller moralising about washing your mouth out, if you want another heart, before you start. References to the man from France and another from America with two foul teeth and Don't Be Crass and we won't be because we are breathless from the performance of this confident singer-songwriter with a glorious voice.

Hannah Everingham Set List

1. So Long Underground

2. The Moon Gardener

3. The Plains

4. Judi Dench

5. Eduardo

6. Don't Be Crass

Fraser Ross builds stories and storeys. Songs and houses. Another of New Zealand’s vast talent pool of folksy troubadours who have been around unnoticed, until you do. But not many folksy troubadours build houses. Fraser does.  And he has been around for over 15 years plying his trade including time spent singing old folk songs to dementia patients in Scotland. Character building, and Fraser is a character. With a name like Fraser and Ross and there might just be a McKenzie in there somewhere there’s no doubt that the man has Scottish roots and can be like a Billy Connolly Humblebums version with his combination of wit and wisdom through the song. And of course, Gerry Rafferty was also in that band. But when he sings and soars there’s Father John Mistry emerging from the shadows and that was my first impression recently at Diamond Harbour. There’s more to this man than casual references to other talents but sometimes it helps to create a picture. He writes cool songs, sometimes serious, sometimes quirky, tongue in cheek, but just to discombobulate you he sings them beautifully. There’s folk and there’s reggae and there’s Jimmy Buffett Caribbean Mongrels which is an old song and features as the encore but I’m getting ahead of myself because it’s time to go home. The beer is too good.

There’s a new album due out later this year and the reason for tonight is to showcase the new single release Janice in The Dairy which he must have played and I’m going to speculate it was four tracks in. Check out the video, it’s a little gentle masterpiece with ever so fine playing, which is on show tonight in the form of an electric Hannah Everingham picking exquisite guitar runs and Thomas the ubiquitous Isbister doing equally so on bass. Thomas had his head shaved by Hannah in penance for some unrevealed infraction but possibly for being a Viking. But seriously, there is seriously good and compelling music on stage tonight, and it’s a shame the death metal creeps in from Whammy which is unsettling for the artists but we know it as a fact of Wine Cellar life and we know it means if we concentrate, we can safely ignore and bathe in the beauty before us.

There are other fine songs including I Believe which is about the poor old Queen buying a bikini and having to deal with Andrew and Epstein and Simon Cowell, whatever that means, but what it does mean is that even lizards are people. In the Rain is another song from his 2018 album and you can find the video which is a work of art. And the opening song is about working at The BBC, looking after old people and falling in love with weather girls.

And what is most important is that the band are dressed like 1990's chartered accountants even though Thomas looks like a chartered monk. So if you want to see what that looks like, go see the Janice in the Dairy tour which hits Wellington and Fielding towards the end of next week and then goes south to Christchurch and Dunedin and Ophir and Queenstown and maybe Oamaru but not Invercargill (it’s too hot there) and ends in early March. It’s very cool. So is Fraser Ross.

Fraser Ross Set List

1. The BBC

2. Stuck in My Living Room

3. Jubilation

4. Janice in the Dairy

5. In the Rain

6. I Believe

7. Sweet Kisses

8. Mongrels


About Fraser Ross

Fraser Ross is an eccentric Christchurch-based musician who has travelled the world playing and supporting bands including The Phoenix Foundation, French for Rabbits, The Nudge and Nadia Reid.

His first two EPs, And Birds Do Sing (2009) and To Places (2012) established him as a serious talent and a brilliant, loud-shirted presence within the New Zealand underground.

Subsequent live shows and his first two LPs, Mongrels (2015) and Life is Magic, Where is My Rabbit? (2018) have seen him progress as both a song-writer and performer. Dubbed a 'Kiwi Billy Connolly' for his lively banter, he blurs the comical & melancholic with aplomb.

Visit the muzic.net.nz Profile for Fraser Ross


Year: 2015
Type: Album
To Places
Year: 2012
Type: Album
And Birds Do Sing
Year: 2009
Type: Album

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