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Villainy - Gig Review: Villainy @ Trust Stadium, Auckland - 18/04/2023

18 Apr 2023 // A review by Kev Rowland

So, a school night found me making my way out to Trusts for the first time in many years – in fact, I think the last time I was here was when Slipknot played, supported by Machine Head. Tonight, we were seeing Papa Roach and The Used, who originally were not supposed to be playing in NZ at all, but there was such a clamour from fans wanting to see the tour which was only organized for Aus that in the end the bands arranged their own one-night-only gig in Auckland. This meant people had come from all over the country for this, and the bands had made it an all-ages gig which meant it was going to kick off tonight with doors at 5:30pm and first band at 6:30pm, and what a first band it is.

Villainy were on fire at Homegrown last month, so to see them again so soon afterwards is a real treat, there was no way I was going to miss this one. Their backdrop was high and proud at the rear of the stage, and I knew we were soon going to be rocked into a party as Neill Fraser (vocals, guitar), Dave Johnston (drums, backing vocals), James Dylan (bass) and Thomas Watts (guitar) know no other way to play and always give fans what they want. A beat heralded their entrance, Neill told everyone who they were and then crunched the riff as we went into Raised In The Dark. We were then into this pop rock monster with a band who are incredibly confident in playing a stage this size, and looking at the crowd, there was no doubt they were making an impact right from the off (even if it is way too early to be watching a band of this quality). Then we were straight into the crunching staccato monster which is Safe Passage, with Neill switching between melodic vocals, screams and falsetto with ease, all the time with the beat being created by drums, guitars and bass in perfect harmony. Beggar is a song which tends to confuse people as do you dance to it or headbang? I think the answer is to do whatever you want as Villainy are in the house and having a blast, and that they are mixing so any styles in one song just shows what a great band they are and certainly all the crowd were paying close attention to what was taking place in front of them.

The filthiest bass imaginable could only mean one thing, we were heading into Alligator Skin, which got some cheers of recognition. How Dave can hit the high notes while punching the kit is quite remarkable, but he is the perfect foil to Neill, providing wonderful harmonies. From this they went into Tiny Little Island, a song I have been playing on repeat since Homegrown as it has just installed itself in my brain. I’m not the only one, as the crowd quite happily sang the chorus a few times with Neill conducting. Thomas gently started the next one, then we were into the slow groove which is Dreams, which soon had people swaying and dancing along. This is one of their slowest and heaviest songs, with more than a hint of doom alongside the melody, and those at the front had their arms in the air clapping along. Then they totally switched the tempo as we went into The Launch, one of their fastest, and it was great to see they were being given full use of the lighting rig so kudos to Papa Roach for letting that happen, as it isn’t always the case with support acts. They had also been given a fair time for their set, and even though it was a cutdown version of what they played at Homegrown, it still gave them plenty of time to get the crowd loosened up. They ended with IFXS, which of course had Neill running around the stage while he was screaming.

I am sure seeing Villainy was a new experience for some of the people in the crowd, yet by the end they would have been converts with the audience pressed up against the stage as Neill stood on the edge and then got everyone to get down on the floor, until the count of four when everyone started jumping up and down like mad. There may not have been any Villainy balloons or appearance of a dinghy, but yet again these guys played like headliners. What a start to the night.

Photo Credit: Chris Morgan / Morgan Creative
View the full gallery here


About Villainy

vill·uh·nee /?vil?nç/
Noun: 1. The actions or conduct of a villain; outrageous wickedness.
2. Maniacal rock band from Auckland, New Zealand.

Visit the muzic.net.nz Profile for Villainy


Dead Sides (The Lost EP)
Year: 2021
Type: EP
Year: 2020
Type: EP
Raised In The Dark
Year: 2019
Type: Album
Buy Online @ Mightyape
Dead Sight
Year: 2015
Type: Album
Mode. Set. Clear.
Year: 2012
Type: Album

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