30 Sep 2023

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  • Clementine Valentine - Gig Review: Clementine Valentine @ Whammy Bar, Auckland - 16/09/2023

Clementine Valentine - Gig Review: Clementine Valentine @ Whammy Bar, Auckland - 16/09/2023

16 Sep 2023 // A review by Lou Clement

Clementine Valentine took to the Whammy stage in Auckland on the fourth and final date of their nationwide album release tour. Their new album entitled The Coin That Broke The Fountain Floor, was released through Flying Nun Records in August 2023. Rolling Stone have called it "a thing of quiet majesty". Whilst RNZ described the art-pop duo as having "a palette that’s hard to pin down".

In support, was interdisciplinary artist i.e. crazy (Frances Lebeau), a tour-de-force presenting the political fiercely and with an ability to capture the zeitgeist. It made me both want to laugh and cry at the same time. I was totally caught off guard with "Have you seen (REDACTED)?. Have you seen Jane?" A lyric that stays with you. See them live if you can.

From a family of musicians Clementine and Valentine Nixon's press highlighted a slew of high-profile performances; a familial lineage in musicianship in a traditional type of travelling musician. There is a place for myth making for musicians in this case, I am led to think of medieval traditions, not lost, just rarely highlighted.

All of this deepened the mystery of what to expect from Clementine Valentine live. Whammy was packed to the brim and a quiet crowd listened and praised attentively as the music seemed to pour from every molecule of air. When I think about the set as a whole, I want to say it felt new and it did, but it also felt like powerful singers who I knew well. I wouldn’t group them together but personally, or maybe anecdotally, they ticked the same boxes for me as Maria Callas or Eliza Carthy.

It was their feminine voices that provoked. It was ethereal and fearless. Understudy felt like a trickle of warm water, its music full of emotional impact. It wasn’t lacking in performance either. Valentine reached her outstretched arm into the crowd as she sang, inches from the edge of the stage, she drew us into the spell of the dream-like, percussion-fringed, layered harmonies of their vision in sound.

All Yesterdays Flowers, the final track on their album, seemed to embody the sound of the evening, on the edge of discernible lyrically, spacious, a rising bloom of a song.

Photo Credit: Katie-Lee Webster
i.e. Crazy Photo Gallery

Clementine Valentine Photo Gallery


About Clementine Valentine

Sisters Clementine and Valentine Nixon draw inspiration from their nomadic family heritage, creating music that evokes contrasting moods: ancient and modern, paradise and isolation, beauty and brokenness, ritual and the present moment.

Having grown up between New Zealand and Hong Kong, the sisters gained experience by performing in unconventional spaces and rogue music venues throughout Hong Kong's abandoned industrial estates, captivating audiences with their blend of experimental noise and futuristic dream-pop as Purple Pilgrims.

The duo have since toured the world extensively alongside the likes of Ariel Pink, Aldous Harding, John Maus, and Weyes Blood. It’s a lifestyle embedded in their lineage; travelling musicians and performers go back hundreds of years on their maternal side (as documented on recordings such as The Travelling Stewarts, from 1968). As children, the sisters were taught to sing traditional balladry by their grandmother, daughter of revered Traveller musician Davie Stewart (later recorded by Alan Lomax).

Visit the muzic.net.nz Profile for Clementine Valentine


Perfumed Earth
Year: 2019
Type: Album
Buy Online @ Mightyape
Eternal Delight
Year: 2016
Type: Album
Buy Online @ Mightyape

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Talking about her career in an interview, Mel Parsons had said she was "grateful for the slow burn." Five albums in, tonight was a chance to hear that hard work distilled, as she moved between the decades of her life through music and shared her experiences of motherhood in her latest single release, Tiny Days.
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Neive Strang Music - Gig Review: Neive Strang @ Whammy Backroom, Auckland - 29/04/2023
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