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  • The Bravo Uniform Mikes - Gig Review: The Bravo Uniform Mikes @ Valhalla, Wellington - 8/06/2023

The Bravo Uniform Mikes - Gig Review: The Bravo Uniform Mikes @ Valhalla, Wellington - 8/06/2023

11 Jun 2023 // A review by Nicholas Clark
The final night of the BUM Punch Lower North Island tour occurred at Wellington’s infamous Valhalla club. The tour was headed by the Wellington/Manawatu based blues-rock two piece The Bravo Uniform Mikes (or “The Bums” to their fans) and four piece riot grrrl punk band, Cherry Punch, also from Wellington.

The tour had included Napier, New Plymouth, Gisborne and Palmerston North, but this final date would prove to be a little different; a day before the final date an announcement on social media delivered the bad news that Cherry Punch’s frontwoman Cherry could not play the date due to health issues. The opening band, Adoneye would still play but glam rock inspired blues-rock band Leopard Print Aunt would fill the gap. The tour was now jokingly referred to on the various posts as the ‘Alien Bum Print Show’.

The night started off rather quietly with the Viking themed bar suspiciously empty at eight o’clock. I used the opportunity then to interview The Bravo Uniform Mikes in the bar with some soft music playing over the PA after soundchecks were done. They shared stories from the road including going to sleep at 8am one night, being their own sound guy and doorman at a bar and their various methods of not going crazy while driving long distances with gear laden vehicles. As if by magic, by the end of the interview the bar had filled with some familiar faces of Wellington’s alternative rock crowd and Adoneye had taken the stage.

Adoneye is occasionally a solo project, but tonight was a three-piece led by the vocally gifted Dean Juan Matus. Between giggling and joking with the growing crowd, the band played music that ranged from tender ballads to energetic anthems. The melodies and dynamics reminded me of Elliot Smith and Jeff Buckley songs, especially Dean’s soulful singing. Adoneye played a short set but their vibe was perfect for the increasing excitement for the night. The drum kit had been placed on the lower stage to bring the band closer to the crowd as all the bands performing that night were three or two pieces. The proximity of the kit to the crowd brought an immediacy and a personal element to the performances.

Next up, the heroes of the night arrived, Leopard Print Aunt. Frontwoman Ruby Fraser led her three-piece through glam rock inspired tunes complete with fast blues-based solos. Ruby plays lead guitar in the Wellington rock band, The After, but this act displays her frontwoman and vocal skills also. Not only did Ruby play impressive solos, she then changed to trumpet to play a cover of The Shangri-La’s Remember (most famously resampled in Capone’s Oh No in 2021, and since then most familiar as audio for various memes). Ruby then returned to guitar to finish off not only a sensational set of high octane rock songs but a set that truly saved the night from uncertain disaster.

Finally, the headlining road warriors took to the stage. The Bravo Uniform Mikes are made up of Nick Potts (vocals, guitar) and Joseph James (drums), and have barely been together a year as this line up. Not that you could tell by their near telepathic powers of tight musicianship. The band played loud and fast through the first few numbers reminding me of The Black Keys with tones of grungy noise pop. Joseph James played deftly through the bluesy numbers, playing quick fills that soon had the crowd and musicians in a sweat. Nick Potts crooned and screamed above the music, playing his iconic upside-down guitar (as a left hander, but not restrung differently) which created some interesting chord shapes and sounds.

Nick was a great frontman, interacting with the crowd between numbers and jumping into the moshpit to headbang along to a few of their heavier songs. Joseph took off his hat and shirt early into the set to reveal a multi-coloured singlet that looked straight out of an 80’s Jazzercise video – his manic drumming style suited the attire also. All too soon, Nick was announcing their final song and wishing the crowd a safe travel home. As with most gigs now at Valhalla, the stage doesn’t create as much volume as you might expect for the venue size and shape (not to mention the types of bands that play there) so I was pleased to find my ears not ringing when I stepped out into the chilling Wellington night.

Altogether, a night showcasing some very different bands but a successful final date for the Bum Punch tour. Entertaining, drama-filled (for a while there!) and diverse in genres. What more could you ask for at a homecoming gig?

Photo Credit: Nicholas E. Clark
The Bravo Uniform Mikes Photo Gallery
Adoneye Photo Gallery
Leopard Print Aunt Photo Gallery


About The Bravo Uniform Mikes

After forming late 2022, Manawatu/Wellington based band, The Bravo Uniform Mikes have been playing regularly across the country.

The band is fronted by Nick Potts (Guitar and Vocals).
Nick has extensive live performance experience playing with touring bands since 2011.

Visit the muzic.net.nz Profile for The Bravo Uniform Mikes


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