13 Jul 2024

Remember Me? | Join | Recover
Click here to sign in via social networking

Stretch - Gig Review: Stretch @ Common Room, Hastings - 27/04/2022

28 Apr 2023 // A review by Rob Harbers

In honour of his turangawaewae, Stretch is playing 3 nights running across the battered, but resolute, province of Hawkes Bay, from Napier in the north to the very southern tip, his original hometown of Dannevirke. This set of shows carries the moniker of 'My Heart, My Home' - a reflection of their ethos, which is to seek to bring a small degree of healing to this traumatised area. The opening night of the series took place at what is, in many ways, his second home - Hastings’ iconic Common Room, and promises much for the remainder of the trio!

In the selection of his opening act, the hugely promising Molly Pawson, Stretch has continued a tradition of supporting those on their way up. This young singer/songwriter has a very bright future to look forward to, if this appearance is anything to go by (that, and the fickle nature of audiences and algorithms). During her short set of six songs, of which 4 were originals, she played and sang with a skill and delicacy belying her tender years, all 17 of them. Her original material carried echoes, in the best way, of others who have gone before, with melodies sparking memories of some of the classics of the genre, many of which would be at least 2 or 3 times older than her! This ability to tap into, and build on, such a legacy is perhaps best illustrated and illuminated by her choice of cover material -The Smiths’ Please Please Please Let Me Get What I Want, and John Lennon’s Ballad of John and Yoko - neither of them exactly what one might expect a 17-year old to even know, let alone sing! All of which goes together to show her to be definitely one to watch!

After such a set-up, it fell to Stretch and his band (Andrew Gladstone-drums, Campbell Burns-guitar, and Paula Sugden-Cyril the 300-odd year old cello) to continue the momentum, and this they did in fine style with the dramatic and dynamic I Know You’ve Been Bad. The raw emotional content and complex instrumental interplay of this, one of the centrepieces of the second album Our Dreams Are Changing, set the tone for what followed-a night of both celebration and commiseration, a tribute to the resilience of the human spirit, rising from the silt and the stench and the shit of Gabrielle (the house guest no-one wanted!).

Less Rock, More Roll continued the tempo, before Here Come The Starlings signalled a shift in to more reflective territory, its subtle tonings giving Paula a chance to shine. This mood continued through to Not Saying Goodbye, delivered with an emotional punch displaying the depth and weight of the lived experience conveyed in the lyrics.

An up-tempo feel was restored with Hold Fast, Hold True, with added bounce and joie de vivre courtesy of Andrew. In the same vein was Shoal Bay Song, written in a coastal setting in a spirit of celebration of turangawaewae (that word again!) in its broadest sense-that of feeling grounded in one’s place. Following such enthusiastic celebration of place, it was back to the more subtle expressions, Lonely Star featuring Campbell’s subtle shadings, and a soulful outburst of (controlled and crafted) noise, expressive of the emotions behind it. A languid run-through of Sorrow (the one made famous by Bowie) lead in to main set closer Six Tears, featuring an extended solo by Paula that was jaw-dropping in its intensity and expression.

The encore commenced with The Turning, this slightly idiosyncratic, and finely nuanced number displaying further development as it ages (it’s nearly 3 years old by now!), leading in to a powerful performance of Walk On Water, before bringing it all back around to the sense of place and community, with a rendition of Tutere Mai Nga Iwi - the singalong opportunity we didn’t know we were missing!

And then, having blazed in to the gathered souls, it was all over, but ready for more on the next two nights. A powerful return to the performance arena for this local hero, and definitely worthy of catching if you can. Playing in Napier at F.G. Smith on the 28th, and Dannevirke in the Founders Theatre on the 29th - get in there!

Photo Credit: Chris Kiely Photography
View the full gallery here


About Stretch

"Stretch totally captivated, the voice beautiful and soulful. Immediately the place lit up, we finished on our feet, a crowd desperate for more" - BayBuzz

Stretch has a passion in his performance that sets shows alight. From dark-hearted ballads to roof-raising choruses, his songs are a bittersweet blend of Folk, Soul and Rock ’n’ Roll.

Visit the muzic.net.nz Profile for Stretch


Our Dreams Are Changing
Year: 2020
Type: Album
Bury All Horses
Year: 2017
Type: Album
Buy Online @ Mightyape
Depot Demos
Year: 2015
Type: EP

Other Reviews By Rob Harbers

Gig Review: Devilskin @ ToiToi Opera House, Hastings - 15/06/2024
18 Jun 2024 // by Rob Harbers
On a chilly Te-Matau-A-Maui evening, Devilskin brought the warmth to a capacity crowd at Hastings’ ToiToi, with the help of a few friends. Probably the loudest the old girl’s been for some time, as they celebrated the 10th anniversary of the release of debut album We Rise.
Gig Review: Bitta Batta @ Paisley Stage, Napier - 14/06/2024
16 Jun 2024 // by Rob Harbers
The weather outside was frightful, but inside the coolest little venue in Ahuriri, things were anything but, as the soulful Bitta Batta were making their debut on the Te-Matau-A-Maui stage! Such ventures require a supportive hand in their genesis, and tonight that fell to the amorphous collective that is Willsy and Friends.
Gig Review: Tower of Flints @ Paisley Stage, Napier - 4/05/2024
08 May 2024 // by Rob Harbers
On a Saturday night with many entertainment options for the people of Te-Matau-A-Maui, a select audience was treated to a triple bill of quality artists at the sweet little spot that is the Paisley Stage.First up was Te Whanganui-a-Tara’s Spinning Lights, making their East Coast debut.
Sam Higham - Album Review: Jam Fish
20 Nov 2023 // by Rob Harbers
Poneke’s Sam Higham has just released his debut solo album Jam Fish. With an audacious precocity belying his mere 26 years, this one-man production threatens to smash many preconceptions, and burrow its way into your head with its multi-faceted attack, one that would fall, for want of a better position, into the arena of ‘progressive’.
Ryan Fisherman - Album Review: Country EMO
13 Oct 2023 // by Rob Harbers
When initially asked if I could do a review of this album, to be perfectly honest I’d never heard of Ryan Fisherman. But having had its silky charms beguiling my ears for the past few weeks, his is definitely a name I want to hear more from!
Album Review: Mana Mushroom
30 Aug 2023 // by Rob Harbers
Poneke’s Mana Mushroom’s eponymous self-titled debut EP has emerged into the world, and it’s a banger! Showing the benefit of a long period of gestation in the live arena, this impressive instrumental collection has its aim stated as “to stimulate listeners' senses in a way which evokes a sense of wonder about the world and our place in it", and it achieves this aim.
Bazurka - Album Review: Novi Grad All Stars
06 Jul 2023 // by Rob Harbers
Te-Whanganui-a-Tara’s Bazurka back up their cool-as-fuck name with a refreshingly distinct sound, one that brings the spirit of the Balkans alive in contemporary Aotearoa.Their new album, Novi Grad All Stars, opens with a flourish of brass, leading in to a delicate violin threnody, which then segues into a syncopated groove, in which all the players are given their opportunity to shine.
Guardian Singles - Album Review: Feed Me To The Doves
03 Jul 2023 // by Rob Harbers
Tamaki Makaurau’s Guardian Singles are keeping the spirit of punk alive and kicking with their sophomore album, Feed Me To The Doves.From the first minute of opener Chad and Stacey, with its references to the peculiar blend of bitterness and displaced envy that is the incel hallmark, it’s clear that here is a band with much to say, and they’re going to make damn sure you can’t ignore them!
View All Articles By Rob Harbers

NZ Top 10 Singles

    Kendrick Lamar
    Tommy Richman
    Sabrina Carpenter
    Billie Eilish
    Sabrina Carpenter
    Teddy Swims
    Tommy Richman
    Chappell Roan
View the Full NZ Top 40...
muzic.net.nz Logo
100% New Zealand Music
All content on this website is copyright to muzic.net.nz and other respective rights holders. Redistribution of any material presented here without permission is prohibited.
Report a ProblemReport A Problem