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  • You, Me, Everybody - Gig Review: You Me Everybody @ Tuning Fork, Auckland - 23/07/2023

You, Me, Everybody - Gig Review: You Me Everybody @ Tuning Fork, Auckland - 23/07/2023

25 Jul 2023 // A review by Roger Bowie

A nice cosy seating arrangement greeted us on Sunday night to contrast the winter gloom as the Tuning Fork opened its doors nice and early for a night of music from old friends. You, Me, Everybody are on tour to celebrate the fame and attention they have been receiving since having a song chosen for the Netflix series Sweet Tooth, and so now we are paying attention to them and they to us!!!

Looking For Alaska are looking electric tonight with Amy on drums and son Theo on bass and Aaron alternating between electric and acoustic and exquisite harmony but something is amiss. There is a poignancy in the air and in the voice and in the beat, and if you have seen the Facebook page you will see that this is the opening gig of an extensive tour which, wait for it, may well be their last, or at least in this form.

We do not know what that means but there’s an extra layer of emotional power in Amy’s voice as she leans into All The Broken People and then evokes the funky, jazzy soul of Glasgow’s Sharleen Spiteri with Where Have You Gone. Looking for Texas, maybe? There are some new songs tonight to give us hope, but the first one is about anxiety and written when Aaron was away and might be called Freak and is typically gorgeous but hardly comforting. And then the song they hadn’t really figured out how to play live before tonight and it’s Let You Go and we hope it’s not true, but it just might be. 

Kyle’s Song from the first album, a song about Amy’s cousin Kyle, taken too soon and as the song ascends the voice is one of anguish. There is always an emotional component to the power of Amy’s voice but tonight is front and centre. Hine Atarau. 

A song to her Nana lost in dementia brings Sharleen Spiteri back in gut wrenching cameo and a song called Shane’s Song about the loss of her step-dad, an irreplaceable substitute for her real one and Hannah Morrell plays fiddle before Christopher Dent (Albi) is summoned to the stage for another new song, but one we have heard at the last gig, the sweet little Otherside with its faint evocation of The Boxer. And it’s over as they play the song they have called their favourite song to play live, You Only See Me When You’re Sleeping and we are left spellbound and somewhat distraught. Surely not. Surely not.

Surely, we’ll go looking and find Alaska again, surely……surely?

Looking For Alaska Setlist

1.  All The Broken People
Where Have You Gone
Let You Go
Kyle’s Song
Hine Atarau
Song to her Nana
Song to her stepdad (Shane’s Song)
You Only See Me When You’re Sleeping

There is nothing like bluegrass, and in stark contrast to the Alaskan mood, we are immediately uplifted by the multiple acoustic, drumless, genius of You, Me, Everybody and the light that burns in our eyes and the stars that shine so bright underneath the Southern Sky.

It’s been a while since we’ve heard from our bluegrass supergroup, and the happy occasion tonight has been prompted by the Netflix triumph and it’s at once clear that they are back, stronger than ever before, brimming with confidence and joie-de-vivre. Laurence in fine voice and fine banter and fine picking; Sam is just surreal on mandolin and Nat Torkington typically sublime on the most exquisite of instruments, the banjo. Oh, just Watch ‘em Go. New member Rob Henderson is resplendently retro in suit and seventies woollen tie which is just begging to be snipped but I don’t have my scissors. He also plays great bass and duels exceptionally with Nat later in the set. And not to forget Kim Bonnington, bringing contrasting beauty to the vocal range so don’t hide her away!! Songs from their two albums and the first of two covers, Destination, originally recorded by Nickel Creek, adds to the mix.

Gold Guitar winner this year in Gore, Zac Griffith is only 18 but is already proposing to a bottle of whiskey, so Laurence offers him words of wisdom and caution from the old age vantage point of his early twenties with Devil in a Bottle of Whiskey. The advice I would give is to drink single malt!

Sam and Nat duel playfully as they try and count How Many Squirrels before Sam evokes history with that ale about Richard Burgess, a notorious 19th century criminal and murderer, in Wrong Side of the Law. Another cover, this time a Joy Kills Sorrow song about dreams which haunt before the song that is making them famous is no longer a Stranger. That seems to be it, but you can’t stop on 9 songs, you’re headliners, so back they come from nowhere (there’s nowhere to go at the Tuning Fork except outside in the cold) for what I’m picking is a trad medley led by Kim, certainly Lonesome Road Blues with maybe just a touch of sun shining in my back door. More southern skies!

You, Me, Everybody are not a full time working band…yet… they should be. They just need a yacht to take them to America. In the meantime, we see them off to the Australian leg of their mini -tour and wait in eager expectation of more to come. Fabulous Sunday evening and home by 10. Magic. 

You, Me, Everybody Setlist

1.  Southern Sky
Watch ‘em Go
Don’t Hide Me Away
Destination (Nickel Creek)
Devil in a Bottle of Whiskey
How Many Squirrels?
Wrong Side of the Law
Joy Kills Sorrow song
Lonesome Road Blues / Sun is Going to Shine in my Back Door (medley)

Photo Credit: Taiga Semori
You Me Everybody Gallery
Looking For Alaska Gallery


About You, Me, Everybody

Originally formed by brothers Laurence and Sam Frangos-Rhodes, You, Me, Everybody pushes the boundaries of what New Zealand knows of a genre that was formed on tradition and rules to create progressive bluegrass. While upbeat bangers are part of their repertoire, this is no pub band, but rather a collection of the best of New Zealand’s acoustic instrumentalists that are searching for a new, dynamic sound that showcases the best of Americana in Aotearoa.

Referred to as New Zealand’s first Bluegrass Supergroup, the excitement around their inception saw them play their first live gig as openers for The Felice Brothers as part of the Americana fest at Auckland’s Tuning Fork. They recorded their EP a week later and in February 2020, You, Me, Everybody released their self-titled debut EP, which reached number 13 in the New Zealand album charts. This debut also saw them named as finalist for the Best NZ Folk Artist, 2021 in the Aotearoa Music Awards. They were chosen as one of four international Bluegrass bands to be featured in the International Bluegrass Music Association’s Leadership Bluegrass forum, showcasing a performance by the band directly after a presentation by Grammy award winning, Sarah Jarosz. Their first full length album, Southern Sky, was released in January 2021, which again debuted in the top 20 of the NZ album charts.

Now in 2023 they feature in Netflix’s Sweet Tooth, opening Episode 4 performing their song Stranger as the inhabitants of Factory Town celebrate the discovery of the cure of ‘the sick’.

Visit the muzic.net.nz Profile for You, Me, Everybody


Southern Sky
Year: 2021
Type: Album
You, Me, Everybody
Year: 2020
Type: EP

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