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Dead Favours - Gig Review: Dead Favours @ Galatos, Auckland - 16/06/2023

18 Jun 2023 // A review by Gideon Voon

Tonight's line-up included some of NZ best upcoming rock acts to form in more recent years, so I had great expectations.

Animalhead signaled their start by having all members fist-bump at the start. Dan Rooke on drums began with a 4-on-the-floor beat before Josh O'Brien on bass and Campbell Mickell on guitar came in with a Blues-Rock vocal melody. Eventually going into a riff, the crowd was sent into a headbanging groove. Groove is a word I would not use lightly when describing this band, every one of their riffs has an aspect, no matter how chaotic some of their sections may appear. "Controlled Chaos" is how I would describe their music as it increases in intensity.

Rage Against The Machine is a band I would bet that Animalhead take great influence from, from the: groove aspect mentioned above to their drum beats, the note choices in their riffs, and of course their guitar, with wah-wah and octave effects. However, they are not a carbon copy; they have plenty of their own originality going on.

Starting Dan on drums: he is a musical ‘beast’, a compliment I would not use often. He plays with great ferocity, and no matter how hard he hits, he maintains great time and feel. Dan sets an incredibly high standard, so much so that it felt as though the drummers from the other two bands of the night were somewhat lacking in power and feel.

Frontman Campbell was a treat to watch, as he had great thick American High-Gain Tone, and had solid technique and feel. He also had great control over his vibrato and alternate picking, techniques that would normally cause a guitarist to ‘rush’. He only had one ‘traditional shred guitar solo’, which was a bummer to me, as I would have liked to have seen more, however, he showed great discipline and emphasis on other more important aspects of music.

They finished with We Will Rock You, which segwayed into another song, ending climatically, with a riff repeated and sped up.

The next band up was Ekko Park, and the energy was toned down a bit, or rather, focused on a different direction, as we entered the world of Pop-Punk.

The pentatonic and blues riffs are swapped for chord progressions, guitar tones moved from American to British. The vocal lines were also more melodic.

A good indicator of an incoming punk band can be seen by the lead singer and his guitar, in this case Joe Walsh; he had his guitar strapped very low, and with artistic designs of that were reminiscent of the 2000’s era.

Lead guitarist Jessie Booth is a standout of the band, aside from having a dramatically different look to the rest of the band; she had a great energetic stage presence, so much so that you could argue she stole the show despite not being the lead singer.

Jessie added a nice layer of colour and harmony to the sound of the band, having a ‘spankier’ guitar tone than those from Joe's lead vocals, while also adding a sense of funky-ness. Her guitar solos were also interesting to listen to, as they greatly structured and built upon melodic themes.

Ekko Park is an act with great potential. With some stronger anthems, I could see them being sung across stadiums.

And then we have the headliners Dead Favours themselves. Starting off with a rocky guitar riff, it was followed by the beat entering with rest of the band, and with a big boom from Alex Ferrier on bass. I found the bass guitar to be a little too overwhelming at times, as it was substantially louder than everything else. Because of this, the drums felt somewhat weak, and the guitars were pretty much inaudible (until about the third song when they came through the mix a bit more). All is not lost however, as we still had great vocals from Jared Wrennall to listen to.

Dead Favours have a strong British alternative-rock sound, with punk and blues elements which we also saw with the first two bands.

With of NZ rock royalty Jared (via Steriogram) as frontman, the difference of class is apparent. His voice is strong and clear with a very distinct character, using great variety of vocal characters. I really enjoyed Jared's use of Falsetto (reminiscent of Muse/Radiohead), which he employed to great use, especially in quieter sections, but he can also add aggression through his screams if he so chooses.

I can tell a lot of thought goes into the songwriting process; my guess is Dead Favours use the traditional songwriting method, in which the singer-songwriter presents the song (melody, lyrics and chords) to the band, and each member adds their part in order to best support each song.

A unique aspect I found with them was their chord progressions. I found they apply the universal music concept of ‘Tension and Release’ really well here. Because just as soon as you feel a familiarity with them, they will play an unexpected note, which really keeps the listener on their toes.

Being seasoned performers, the band members all had great stage presence, and in one of their final songs, Jared ran to the back of the venue and rocked out there for a bit.

As is rock tradition, the encore came through, and they sent us on our way with an energetic punk song, with every band member giving their all to finish what was a great rock show.

Photo Credit: Nikita Weir / Antonia Pearl Photography
Dead Favours Gallery
Ekko Park Gallery

Animalhead Gallery


About Dead Favours

Combining a mix of huge fuzzy and sometimes quirky riffs, groove-laden drums, beautiful falsetto vocals mixed with arena commanding screams and a level of songwriting that some say has been missing from rock for some time, Dead Favours have been quick to grab the attention of the New Zealand music scene and are going from strength to strength in a very short time.

Since their formation in early 2016, the band have released a string of singles, the most notable to date being Dig (produced by Shihad’s Tom Larkin), a riff-centric banger that quickly grabbed the attention of both audiences and radio programmers alike, spending an impressive 27 weeks in the charts. The success of this debut single lead to a nationwide tour alongside the already popular Skinny Hobos, Decades and Bakers Eddy which saw the band increase momentum and pick up an army of new fans all around the country.

The band quickly followed with the singles High Flying and Better The Weather (produced again by Tom Larkin) which has seen the band go on to be invited to perform at festivals such as Jim Beam Homegrown, Demon Energy Rock The Park and share the stage with international acts Royal Blood and Rise Against which was received with rave reviews;

Visit the muzic.net.nz Profile for Dead Favours


Riffing & Yelling Part 2
Year: 2023
Type: Album
Riffing & Yelling Part 1
Year: 2021
Type: Album
Year: 2019
Type: Album
The Dead EP
Year: 2018
Type: EP

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