10 Jun 2023
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Coridian - Coridian @ Tuning Fork, Auckland - 01/04/2023

05 Apr 2023 // A review by Steve Shyu

How could I miss this? Some of my personal favourite alt-rock acts in Tamaki Makaurau, at one of the best live venues in town. Admittedly, The Sun Gods are new to me, but with Coridian, Finger Tight AND Animalhead all on one bill, you know a good night of rock is guaranteed. I'd be kicking myself if I let this pass by!

Not long after doors opened, the Tuning Fork had already seen a few attendees in Coridian tees milling about; no doubt there’ll be loads more dedicated fans as the event progresses.

It's time. As dusk falls, The Sun Gods emerged on stage. Consisting of singer and guitarist Konrad Kurta, plus drummer James Porteous, both clad in pure white tees and trousers, with the frontman bearing a black bar painted across his eyes.

What a way to get things revving, with pounding drums and fuzzy, meaty guitar sweeps, topped with swagger-filled vocals.

As a recreation of their music video to Oh Mary Mary, the featured girl emerges, prancing sultrily across the stage from left to right throughout the song. Something a little different, I suppose. As she disappeared behind James - still playing - what resembled fake blood oozed from the chap’s shoulders. Interesting, a bit of theatrics.

Being a two-man hard rock act, one would expect a degree or two of guitar wizardry. Across songs like Fall in Line and Don't Pretend, Konrad effortlessly switches between guitar pedals and playing techniques.

James also happens to be one of the most passionate drummers I've seen in a while, literally putting his back into every other beat.

The tune Stress is an easy highlight, with solid guitar chord punches, tinged with blues-rock sensibilities, along with highly melodic vocal lines. And that one-two breakdown bounce is just irresistible!

In a very similar vein to fellow Kiwi rockers Skinny Hobos, this is another power-packed duo who are evidently well-rehearsed and know what rocks.

If you've been out of the loop on the Auckland rock scene, then allow me to run Animalhead past you. An iconic local staple known for their high-energy sets, they're made up of Campbell Mickell as frontman, guitarist and vocalist, Danny Rooke on drums and backing vocals, and Josh O'Brien on bass guitar.

Dinner is served, and the first course is blues-heavy, bravado-filled riffs, and shout-along choruses. And the chef is none other than Animalhead.

Sink or Swim boasts some of the deepest grooves, and while the song progresses through grunge verses and choruses, they divert course into a thrashy as heck breakdown which had every cranium down at the front slamming away.

An impromptu drum solo was required as gat-player Campbell had issues with his guitar tunings, and someone from the audience jumped up to tie up drummer Danny's hair to stop it from getting in his eyes. All in a day’s work for this trio, I imagine!

Among the many things Animalhead are known for is skipping from style to style, as it happened on Lizard Eyes; rap rock, grunge, heavy metal, then it’s off on a beast-sized breakdown.

A quick tribute to Queen by way of We Will Rock You morphed into the band's roof-ripper hit, The Devil Told Me So. The real star of the show, however, was a relation of drummer Danny, Mason (I’m gonna guess his nephew?), a blond primary-schooler who jumped on stage. The wee lad skipped about, arms pumping in the air, and metal horns raised proudly. That's our next generation of rock n' rollers right there, ladies and gents!

It's been an age since I last saw Animalhead perform live, and this is another one for the books. Aside from Mason the little show-stealer, the set was tight, well-oiled and one hell of a spectacle.

Rapidly rising through Aotearoa's ranks of pop-rock and punk is Finger Tight. They're renowned throughout Tamaki Makaurau for their all-in, balls-out metal-tinged punk rock tunes, and there's not a doubt in my mind the quintet would deliver the same this evening.

Backed by the rhythm powerhouse that is Matt, frontman and lead vocalist Red Rogers provides the bulk of the on-stage energy. From asking audiences to participate in singing, to rarking up the crowd into a heaving moshpit.

The crowds were treated to some of their slightly older hits like Another Addiction and Dodge Duck Dip Dive and Dodge, both of which made for a pleasant surprise.

I must admit my personal admiration for Red's singing voice; having a baritone vocal range in the genre of pop punk is somewhat rare, but the man pulls it off with style and power, especially on numbers like Why Should You Care? (Oh, and he’s a fantastic barber too, by the way).

As with just about all live shows post release of Finger Tight’s record Messages From the End of the World, there was again a guest appearance from Crooked Royals vocalist Lee Mackey for the ripping and screaming According to Socrates, I'm a Philosopher. Both frontmen hunched over, growling, headbanging and giving the song their all for the super-crunchy breakdowns was a sight to behold.

Speaking of giving their all, one couldn’t help but notice Red panting for air as he summoned every kilojoule of energy for each song, looking like he had just finished a beep-test. Now that’s dedication. Moments later, the frontman admitted he had had a carb-heavy dinner over at KFC and felt tremendously weighed down. Yeah, that’ll do that to ya!

The latest full-length release from Auckland rock royalties Coridian has been a long time coming, and certainly worthy of celebration and recognition. Too much well-deserved acclaim, including a raving review from fellow writer Mr Dries here on Muzic.net.nz!

Though I've seen this four-piece play countless times, tonight won't be just any gig. Hava is here. And Coridian will undoubtedly be firing on all cylinders, parading forth some of their fresh new masterpieces, as well as their timeless staples.

Attendees had packed into the Tuning Fork up past the sound desk by the time the quartet took over the stage. House lights dimmed, a mesmerising and delicate electronic tune began over the speakers, acting as a summoning call. The three Raven siblings, Nick, Mike and Kris, bassist, guitarist and drummer, respectively, dutifully take up their stations and begin with Algorithm, the opening instrumental from Hava. Vocalist Dity Maharaj then joins in on stage, and dive right on to their smash hit State of Mind. Released in late 2022, and I had the honour of reviewing; the write-up can be read here. It felt like no time had passed at all since the song was released, and once again I’m immersed in the vast sounds of Coridian again.

All of the band's key moves and signature sounds were here. From Mike skillfully switching between picked notes then wide chord strums on Reflections, Dity providing a masterclass on microphone and voice control, and driving audiences to sing along to Rite of Passage.

Throughout every song, Nick’s bass playing serves as the resolute anchor, and organic heartbeat, bolstered by Kris’s equally unyielding and groove-laden drumbeats.

Everything you can hear on the album was on full display, like the majestic post-rock sounds of Dunes, with guitar delicateness in full swing.

A fantastic highlight came as Jessie Booth, guitarist of She Loves You and Ekko Park was brought on stage to perform Redefine. Dity admitted they had not rehearsed for this number, and I doubt anyone will have known that judging by the performance! The two vocals harmonised and weaved together beautifully and perfectly. Her lead vocal capabilities had been kept a smart little secret all this time! Jessie had everyone mesmerised with both her vocal efforts as well as her presence on stage, as though she had always been a frontwoman.

"To continue with the love themes of Reflections and Redefine, let's do another one", suggested Dity, as the group jumped into their critically acclaimed cover of Wicked Game. Numerous reviews will likely have expanded on this particular song, which exhibits Dity’s breadth of vocal range. Forget the original song or the cover song's studio recording; this one must be seen and heard live to be believed. Absolutely extraordinary.

Another personal highlight of the set was Naya Din, part of the newly-released Hava. Dity once again displayed fantastic vocal control throughout, while the song is restrained at all the right moments, and Mike’s atmospheric guitar effects and capabilities were again, in full swing.

The crowd erupted with cries of joy as soon as the first notes of Blind Faith were played, and in maintaining the set’s high energy, Dity hopped about the stage as he always does, providing a spectacle while also making folks wonder how he isn’t out of breath by this stage of the evening!

To say that Coridian delivers high-calibre alternative rock is a vast understatement. Judging by this evening’s show, with their current trajectory, I personally can guarantee they’ll only draw more crowds over the coming months as they embark on their Hava country-wide tour.

Oh, and Finger Tight will be joining them too! If they’re stopping by your neck of the woods, make sure you grab a ticket HERE.

A personal shoutout to every band that performed this evening - A salute to The Sun Gods, horns up for Animalhead, a beer raised for Finger Tight, and fist bumps all round to “Dity and the Ravens”.

A superb event to celebrate a landmark record - This was a night to remember.


Photo Credit: Joe Photography
Coridian Gallery
The Sun Gods Gallery
Animalhead Gallery
Finger Tight Gallery

 

About Coridian

Coridian is an alternative/progressive rock group from Auckland, New Zealand.

Formed in 2015, the band consists of brothers Mike Raven (Guitars/Keys), Kris Raven (Drums/Percussion), Nick Raven (Bass) and Dity Maharaj (Vocals/Lyrics/Art).

They’ve been described, "Raven brothers (Mike, Kris and Nick respectively) work as a well-oiled machine; the gear box of which is Maharaj, his vocals taking the band from a hum to a scream within seconds" (Ambient Light).

Visit the muzic.net.nz Profile for Coridian

Releases

Hava
Year: 2023
Type: Album
Eldur
Year: 2020
Type: Album
Caldera
Year: 2017
Type: EP
Oceanic
Year: 2015
Type: EP

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