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Melanie - Gig Review: Melanie @ Snails, Palmerston North - 04/03/2023

07 Mar 2023 // A review by River Tucker

What else was there to do last Saturday night except get out and support some live bands at a local music venue, in this case an all ages gig with Feildings Best Dancers, Crying Club and Melanie at the legendary Snails in Palmerston North.

Snails also doubles as an artist space and there’s a considerable amount of well-lit artwork on display for people to appreciate. This includes some innovative sound dampening in the vaulted ceiling to help reduce sound waves bouncing off of the stone walls and rimu floors, which along with subdued lighting and friendly staff creates a warm ambient vibe for people to relax in.

First up were Feildings Best Dancers who set about disarming an enthusiastic crowd with their infectious energy and friendly banter. This two-piece punched well above their weight to fill Snails with usually pleasant but sometimes-discordant and edgy reverberations.

There was a kind of homogeneous effect to Daniel Brown (Churlington, Polaroids of Polarbears, Jumping The Fucking Shark) and Brodie Jenkins’ amorphous set of songs. However a certain amount of musical free styling didn’t detract from their lively performance that got nearly everyone up and on their feet for a boogie.

Jokes about sweating highlighted just how hard Feildings Best Dancers were working and by the time their set was over the audience was fully warmed up and ready for more.

After a quick changeover Crying Club gave us some tasty Indie-Emo Rock nuanced with Post-Punk goodness. It’s an eclectic mix of genres that work exceptionally well because of the bands tight compositions and considerable musical ability.

The differing but complimentary guitar techniques of Isaac Lundy (Imperial Slave) and lead singer Datu Beech were nicely glued together by Chrissy Pantelakis’ energetic and precise bass, while Sean Beales’ solid drumming kept everything perfectly locked together. Between songs the Wellington based band also developed a good rapport with the audience so there was never a dull moment ensuring the crowd was fully engaged with events happening on stage throughout their short but sweet set.

Perhaps a bit nervous following such a sterling performance by Crying Club, Melanie took a while to warm up after a false start for Delivery Boy, which probably wasn’t meant to be their first number. But the West Auckland-based band soon had the audience dancing again and by their fourth song there was even a mosh developing front of stage.

Melanie has obviously dedicated a lot of time and effort to perfecting their craft. They’ve got a natural synergy that only happens with musicians who know each other really well, cohesiveness largely a result of the bands family connections and excellent rhythm section. Bass player William Dentice and hardworking drummer Joe Gasparich were consistently tight; with the latter’s tom tom-work being particularly effective. What also works exceptionally well for this type of Pop-Punk is the slight huskiness to guitarist and lead singer Jamie Dentice’s voice.

A rendition of Mi-Sex’s Computer Games, a musically difficult cover to play convincingly, was a big crowd-pleaser. Melanie managed to interpret this legend of a song to great effect, which is no mean feat considering Computer Games came out in 1979, well before these guys were born. This pays testament to the longevity of good music and its ability to reach across decades to positively influence up and coming artists.

Guitarist Robin Davey Lusk unfortunately broke some strings towards the end of Melanie’s set but soldiered on anyway to play through an extended ending for their last song, Bill’s Riff, which helped to draw out applause from an appreciative and satisfied audience.

Melanie are doing everything right to get themselves noticed. They have a great set of well-crafted songs you definitely want to experience live and are currently promoting them on their nationwide Accident, Emergency tour. Melanie will also be supporting the Bleeders in Auckland on 12th May.

Make sure you catch these bands at a good music venue near you.


About Melanie

James and Robin, along with De Stevens and Jordan Whiu, initially came together to play pop punk covers at Robin’s 19th birthday party. They originally met at SAE (School of Audio Engineering) where they studied how to record and produce music. One of the songs they played that night was Fountain of Youth’s Stacey’s Mom, with the twist that it was instead about their friend Max’s mum whose name is Melanie. Muriwai hardcore band Lookin’ Up then asked Robin if he had a band that could open on their tour, and so Melanie was formed, losing Jordan for James’s brother William. After procrastinating for a month, they realised they only had two weeks to come up with some originals for the shows, and so they set to and wrote what would turn out to be the Melon EP (2018).

De Stevens later left the band due to not being the biggest fan of pop punk, who was then temporarily replaced by Joe, drummer of sister band Snitch Jimmy. After three years it's safe to say that he’s no longer a temporary drummer. During 2019 they worked on more originals, recording all the instruments for their debut album 42 Losers before the first big lockdown hit, with James then recording the vocals separately before the band mixed it together over voice chat. The album was released to great acclaim in April 2020, along with a music video for No Shoes. It was later followed up with a physical release on vinyl through Holiday Records.

“Emo/punk isn’t usually my go to when I’m picking something to listen to, but I can see myself going back to '42 Losers' again and again. Melanie could be considered one of the bright new bands in the emo scene. If they were based in the northern hemisphere, I could see them on the same line ups as bands such as The Menzingers, Spanish Love Songs and Joyce Manor and other top bands.” - Colin’s Punk Rock World

Visit the muzic.net.nz Profile for Melanie


Year: 2022
Type: EP
42 Losers
Year: 2020
Type: Album
Year: 2018
Type: EP

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