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Sofia Machray - Gig Review: Sofia Machray @ Whammy Bar, Auckland - 19/08/2023

21 Aug 2023 // A review by Lou Clement

Sofia Machray brought her Language of Flowers show, the last of a five-night nationwide tour, to Whammy Bar in Auckland. Machray has recently released her debut 6-track EP and tonight was the premier of her music for Tamaki Makarau. In support were Frank On Tap and CRYSTAL.

This was one of the most incredible evenings of live music I’ve been to in a long time. Some have said that live music audience etiquette has suffered due to lockdown and that might be true. I think when you go to see a band, it’s a respectful place where you pay attention. We’ve all been there when a delicate ballad or an intricately composed piece of music is being performed and someone is having a conversation about their life in the back. It’s not ok. However, Whammy was packed out for the evening and the cheering and applause put paid to any distractions, thank goodness. The enthusiasm was palpable.

Frank On Tap are usually a four-piece band, but tonight Zar and Max performed as a duo with heartbreak effortless vocals and a lot of charm. Their standout track for me was Fall Through Your Shadow. It had poetic, evocative lyrics, distinctive vocals and was delivered with passion. Frank On Tap are due to release an EP in the later part of the year.

CRYSTAL hadn’t performed in three years, but still managed to make the whole performance look easy. She brought an influence of Billie Eilish to her delivery, matched with her own personal lyrics. She said she was aware many people might not know her music very well and so delivered a fun cover of Circles by Post Malone. Her guitarist and drummer were great too.

CRYSTAL had invited her day-job customers in hospo to the event, and they all came it seemed. Creatives often have many strings to their bows when it comes to work, and it was really heartwarming to see the support and meaning that an evening of performance can bring to someone who is working hard to build a creative career and pay the rent. Song highlights for me were Skin and Crumbs.

Sofia Machray and her band took to the stage with the kind of energy that could power houses. It was infectious and the crowd brought the place down in response. Machray has command of her voice in a way which must draw comparisons with Beth Orton or PJ Harvey. I loved the title Language of Flowers and one after another each song was performed seamlessly and with gusto. Here are people who love what they do.

My personal standout track was Forget Me Not. Bathed in blue light, Sofia sang "maybe I’ll see him in another life, just let go it’ll be alright", it was jaw-droppingly beautiful. She managed to capture the sadness and indecision of loving someone or not. It was also great to hear her singles Petals In The Rain and Foundations. Her music has been described as ethereal and shoegaze and I would add that to see her live, really is the opportunity you need to understand the art of Sofia Machray. And it was really something to be part of.

Photo Credit: Taiga SemoriSofia Machray Photo Gallery
Frank On Tap Photo Gallery
CRYSTAL Photo Gallery


About Sofia Machray

Described by pop-culture magazine Sniffers as ‘captivating', Sofia Machray is an independent dream-rock singer-songwriter from the heart of the mountains in Arrowtown, New Zealand. Stretching out over moody rockers and soft-burning hooks Sofia delved into the realm of indie music from a young age as a self-taught guitarist from 6 years old. Drawing on timeless concepts and the vast landscapes that raised, she began to cultivate and express herself through the medium of songwriting. In 2018 she made the move to Wellington to study music at Massey University where she met her 4-piece support band.

Becoming a strong forerunner in New Zealand’s independent scene, Machray was quick to win the hearts of music lovers close to home and abroad. Touring Aotearoa off the back of her debut single Handstands in 2020, the song went on to chart number 1 on various independent radio stations and led to her sharing stages with indie icons such as Palace, Wax Mustang, Dolphin Friendly, Ha The Unclear, and Racing.

2023 saw the release of Machray's dreamy debut record Language Of Flowers which attracted solid attention and support from both international/local media earning its spot on the Student Radio Network chats with multiple tracks such as Petals In The Rain, Foundations, and Crumbs climbing to number 1.

Visit the muzic.net.nz Profile for Sofia Machray


Language of Flowers
Year: 2023
Type: EP

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