29 Feb 2024

Remember Me? | Join | Recover
Click here to sign in via social networking
  • Articles »
  • Reviews »
  • Princess Chelsea - Gig Review: Princess Chelsea @ Neck Of The Woods, Auckland - 19/10/2023

Princess Chelsea - Gig Review: Princess Chelsea @ Neck Of The Woods, Auckland - 19/10/2023

20 Oct 2023 // A review by Lou Clement

Princess Chelsea began her international Everything Is Going To Be Alright tour, at Neck of the Woods in Auckland with a full house on Thursday 19 October. Bringing her 2022 album of the same title in its entirety to the stage, with her band Jasmine Balmer, Joshua Worthington-Church, David Harris, Joe Kaptein, Kate Tindall, and Simeon Kavanagh-Vincent. Support came from Louisa Nicklin.

Louisa Nicklin shared new songs as she prepared for release of her second album. The sampling of organ like droning was dark and matched by her disconcerting lullaby-like lyrics. I found myself thinking where was the centre of gravity in her music. By this I mean it is unsettling in its composition. She created a cinematic-like uneasiness, albeit in a vulnerable and personal way. She expressed a complexity of difficult feelings with influences of dirge-like hymns.

Dressed, in black with a delicate sheer embroidered cape and slicked backed hair, Princess Chelsea emerged through a crowd of musicians, on a tightly packed stage. She was like something from a gothic fairytale. Princess Chelsea called Everything Is Going To Be Alright her ‘nervous breakdown album’, Imogen Heap sang ‘there’s beauty in the breakdown’, and tonight was an evening of award-winning music. There was boldness, catharsis and freedom in the story, of this, her fifth album.

Highlights for me were real life percussion, gargantuan guitar solos and at one point a trumpet holding centre stage. If it was a painting it’d be a Fiona Rae. Princess Chelsea had said that it took her years to translate her vision of complex arrangements into live collaborative content. She makes every instrument work for its place in the song. Delicate percussion was given its moment, alongside brass instruments, and invariably with a drumbeat so exceptionally played, it just made me, and the audience, dance and applaud wildly. There was also a shower of petals and banter with the audience. The appreciation could not be contained in applause.

The crescendos of her album were rollercoaster like. It was crowd-pleasing for sure but up close the music was tightly played and fiercely delivered. When you hear something really good, you can’t help but lose yourself in it. My favourite was the defiant The Forest. I would liken it to a musical version of a firework display. "I run through the forest, I run through the hills" repeats, the drum beats like an indie classic, then the guitar shreds through a solo, nodding towards post rock influences.

I also loved the clock chiming inspired Time. Hearing this song live helps you understand the art of Princess Chelsea. It has the simplicity of a 60’s pop song and storytelling that makes this album not just about the breakdown but surefootedly about the new creations built from the ruins. Princess Chelsea continues her tour in North America and is back on home soil in January 2024 with performances taking place around the country.

Photo Credit: Jack Mensah
Louisa Nicklin Gallery

Princess Chelsea Gallery


About Princess Chelsea

The name Princess Chelsea started off as loving teasing almost 15 years ago. Her bandmates from Auckland’s Teen Wolf “were being sarcastic, because when we were on tour I was often looking really dishevelled, and they would joke that I was a princess.” Chelsea took on the princess title, and complicated it playfully. Hers is a partial yet whole-hearted embrace of femininity which emphasises the aesthetic labour of beauty, and unsettles it. In Teen Wolf she began working her classical training as a pianist into New Zealand’s underground music scene. Subsequently she lent this talent to indie pop outfit The Brunettes.

In 2011 Princess Chelsea’s full-length bedroom recorded debut, Lil' Golden Book, was released by local label Lil' Chief. A “musical fairy tale,” its songs follow her youth and coming of age in Aotearoa New Zealand. Baroque arrangements of nostalgic synthesisers and chamber pop instruments sometimes explode into psychedelia, layered over with innocent vocal melodies and lyrics. Chelsea’s debut defined her knowing poise and ornate synth-pop atmospherics and with its original release, Chelsea made a series of DIY videos which became YouTube hits. The Cigarette Duet video featured Chelsea in a pink wig and heart shaped sunglasses beside Jonathan Bree (The Brunettes) in a hot tub. Its viral popularity cemented her cult status and garnered attention in mainstream press. The Guardian named her “The new band of the day.” The video has made a resurgence on TikTok, pushing views over 75 million. But Princess Chelsea is more than an internet sensation. She has a steadily growing, loyal fan base spread around the world, to which she connects through touring and social media.

Lil' Golden Book was reissued for its 10th anniversary as a limited edition package in 2021. A golden vinyl was accompanied by a collectible A1 poster, reversible cover art, gatefold artwork with lyrics and a foiled golden spine. It is a love-letter from Chelsea to her dedicated fans. For some this will be nostalgic, for others a new chance to own the album.

Visit the muzic.net.nz Profile for Princess Chelsea


Everything Is Going To Be Alright
Year: 2022
Type: Album
The Loneliest Girl
Year: 2018
Type: Album
Buy Online @ Mightyape
Year: 2016
Type: Album
Buy Online @ Mightyape
The Great Cybernetic Depression
Year: 2015
Type: Album
Buy Online @ Mightyape
No Church On Sunday
Year: 2014
Type: EP
We're So Lost
Year: 2013
Type: EP
Year: 2012
Type: EP
Too Fast To Live
Year: 2011
Type: EP
The Cigarette Duet
Year: 2011
Type: EP
Lil' Golden Book
Year: 2011
Type: Album

Other Reviews By Lou Clement

Festival Review: The Others Way @ Auckland - 01/12/2023
02 Dec 2023 // by Lou Clement
Music venue haven that Karangahape Road is, it’s the perfect location for a festival takeover. Stopping short of closing the main street The Others Way festival seeks to fill every venue, at times simultaneously, with music.
Gig Review: Ebony Lamb @ Whammy Bar, Auckland - 10/11/2023
12 Nov 2023 // by Lou Clement
Singer songwriter Ebony Lamb treated the tightly packed Auckland, Tamaki Makaurau crowd to a night of new music from her self-titled debut solo album. The gig was part of a seven-date Aotearoa tour which began October 27th, and finished in Paekakariki on Saturday, November 11th.
Gig Review: Clementine Valentine @ Whammy Bar, Auckland - 16/09/2023
16 Sep 2023 // 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.
Gig Review: Sofia Machray @ Whammy Bar, Auckland - 19/08/2023
21 Aug 2023 // 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.
Gig Review: Tom Lark @ Whammy Bar, Auckland - 5/08/2023
07 Aug 2023 // by Lou Clement
Tom Lark recently brought his Brave Star tour to Tamaki Makarau along with his band and support from K M T P. Lark has been absent from both touring and releasing music for a number of years.
Gig Review: SKRAM @ Big Fan, Auckland - 22/07/2023
26 Jul 2023 // by Lou Clement
SKRAM blew up Big Fan in Auckland on their Strawberry Dream Tour. Billed as "an explosive pop music spectacle", they didn’t disappoint, the energy was palpable.
Gig Review: SJD w/ Beachware @ Hollywood Avondale, Auckland - 30/06/2023
01 Jul 2023 // by Lou Clement
Sean James Donnelly (SJD) brought his Sweetheart tour to Tamaki Makaurau and presented his latest release, his ninth album, Sweetheart. SJD is low-key specialist artist: a musician, songwriter and producer who, through his compositions, seems to make music which takes life (gently) by the horns and wrestles with it.
Davidda - Single Review: Bear
25 May 2023 // by Lou Clement
Davidda’s latest single release is Bear, the third in a successful string of releases. In this track indie-artist Davidda brings together musicians Anna Coddington (guitar and production), Mike Hall (Bass), Caleb Nott (keyboard) and Lips (synth).
View All Articles By Lou Clement

NZ Top 10 Singles

    YG Marley
    Benson Boone
    Noah Kahan
    Teddy Swims
    Jack Harlow
    Taylor Swift
    Tate McRae
    Dua Lipa
View the Full NZ Top 40...
muzic.net.nz Logo
100% New Zealand Music
All content on this website is copyright to muzic.net.nz and other respective rights holders. Redistribution of any material presented here without permission is prohibited.
Report a ProblemReport A Problem