27 Feb 2024

Remember Me? | Join | Recover
Click here to sign in via social networking
  • Articles »
  • Reviews »
  • Dave and The Dirty Humans - Gig Review: Dave and the Dirty Humans @ The Welsh Dragon, Wellington - 27/10/2023

Dave and The Dirty Humans - Gig Review: Dave and the Dirty Humans @ The Welsh Dragon, Wellington - 27/10/2023

31 Oct 2023 // A review by Nicholas Clark
If you’ve attended even a handful of live music events in the capital these past two years, chances are you’ve seen or heard of the alternative heavy rock band, Dave and the Dirty Humans. They’re the kind of band you might rave about the next morning, groggily and inaccurately trying to describe their style as both heavy and funky, metallic but not really metal, direct and brutal at times but complex and harmonious the next second. Like a four headed beast, it's a hard group to describe and one song doesn’t do them justice as to the range of noises they can muster up from the classic line-up of two guitars, bass and drums, first popularized by none other than Buddy Holly.

But easy-going rock n’ roll they are not, and with all four members singing it’s hard to define who the front person might be, although vocalist/guitarist Hamish at centre-stage might most easily fit the role. During on-stage bantering with lead guitarist/vocalist Harrison, interjected by grunts from bassist/vocalist Kane, it is usually drummer/vocalist Ben who will announce the most professional utterances in a clear, jovial diction. That’s all before he starts pummeling his kit in a ferocious style that earned him joint best drummer in the recent nationwide Battle of the Bands, all whilst usually smiling. Indeed, the band recently won second place in the competition overall and gathered up a songwriting award along the way. And which song best presents this strange multifaceted band you ask? None other than their most recent single, FORA, an unconventional swaggering rock song that resembles an Oreo (structurally speaking at least), but more on that later...

Having won their various awards and no doubt collecting a gaggle of fans along the way, Dave and The Dirty Humans next mission after The Battle of The Bands was to release the long awaited FORA at the infamous Welsh Dragon Bar in Wellington’s downtown area (it used to be a public restroom, now its Wellington’s ‘Only Welsh Bar’. Insert appropriate joke here if you like.) Supporting the band, in keeping with an unpredictable flair, were two bands that might seem an odd fit, but which matched the vibe perfectly on the night. Firstly, Cherry Punch, a centaur-like group with the rhythm section of a hardcore band, a punk/noise guitarist and a front woman with enough attitude for a whole festival and the vocal delivery (if you believe me) of Pantera’s Phil Anselmo. Secondly, Budget Cucks, a cross between the New York Dolls and the Arctic Monkeys, with a flair for crowd participation.

The Welsh Dragon Bar was bedecked with Christmas lights for the occasion, the small venue absolutely packed, no doubt at its fifty-person capacity. The atmosphere was electric in such a small venue, friends and fans talking excitedly before Cherry Punch took the stage. The band began fast and furious, running through numbers that got the night started like Little Boys and Rot, encouraging the small but eager crowd of revellers to dance to the rapid beat. Front-person Cherry introduced a new song, Please, with the information that it was about being sexually abused by a partner. The crowd audibly gasped after an awkward pause before they launched into the song, but opportunities like these offer musicians a chance to speak up about issues, often broaching taboo subjects and then exorcising the emotion through music. Finally, they ended on new song They Know which is currently available on streaming services.

Budget Cucks played a short but intense set of punky upbeat ditties covering subjects as diverse as identity issues through how to become an expert kisser, although I may have misheard the lyrics. Against the twinkling backdrop, long hair flowing and metallic instruments glinting in the Christmas-like aesthetic, they made for an entertaining aperitif for the main act.

Finally, the four heads of the beast took the stage (well, not technically a stage at all) and began a set filled with crowd favourites like Left Shoe (complete with shoe donations from the crowd), Meat Swing and Rainforest. Most songs contained moments of soft balladry to contrast with crushing intensity, complete with harmonious singing and convoluted rhythms that would tease the crowd into moments of confusion before bringing them back to the safety of a steady beat. The band were unusually polite and appreciative of their audience, but just as candid as ever.

All the while, Jecht Taylor, Wellington’s most dependable live music photographer and occasional music video director, was filming the event on three separate cameras including a fisheye lens which offered an interesting view on the circular room where the band performed. At last, they came to play the song everyone had come to hear: FORA. As usual, the song began with a furious and infectious beat which reminds me of Queens of The Stone Age’s most recognized record, Songs For The Deaf. After a screamed accent, the riff continues but then shifts into funk mode before transforming once again into full ballad mode as Hamish coos a few clever lines like: “I love to hate, but I hate to fight” and “tell me I won’t get away with life” delivered in a Chino Moreno whisper. As for the title of the song itself? There are a few mentions of being taken ‘for a ride’ which is appealing in its ambiguousness. There’s a blistering solo and the song exits on the same introduction riff, thus creating an Oreo type of song; hard exterior, soft interior ... only the soft isn’t all that soft at all, only when compared to the raging riff that bookends the tune within.

The single itself offers the richness of multitrack recording. The vocals are clearer (except when put through a filter for the occasional yelp), the Josh Homme-style guitar solo really jumps above the mix, the drums are as clear as bells if they could withstand the punishment. Its interesting hearing the recorded version of the song I’ve heard live so many times, but it brings the true concept of the song into distinct focus. The production here is crisp and borderline poppy, contrasting with the rawness of the live act. A few smooth seconds could easily be sampled into a breezy jazz by a European DJ, while other sections could be interpreted as death metal. It's the range of emotions and transitions that make this song so appealing.

Here is a band that likes to play with the ingredients of rock but offer something new and distinct. Whether its song structure, truly experimenting with tone to achieve both blistering face-melting and tender heart-warming moments or playing with the sensation of control being utterly lost only to be rescued by a soft, dreamy chord, Dave and The Dirty Humans truly know how to take their audience for a ride.

Check the single out now on all streaming services and go see this band live before everyone discovers them!

Photo Credit: Jecht Taylor



There are no releases to display for Dave and The Dirty Humans.

Other Reviews By Nicholas Clark

Tower Of Flints - Album Review: Live at Paisley Stage
12 Feb 2024 // by Nicholas Clark
The true proof that any band is worthy of praise is the live act. Recalling my own introduction to certain musicians, the quality of a live album would often be the deciding factor of whether I would continue to follow a band.
Mister Unit - EP Review: There's Always Someone With A Bigger Schtick
30 Jan 2024 // by Nicholas Clark
Mister Unit’s third offering, after one EP and an album, is a six strong EP filled with inventive riffs, clever lyrics and catchy melodies. Oh yes, and lots of great guitar solos.
Mister Unit @ Valhalla, Wellington - 18/01/2024
21 Jan 2024 // by Nicholas Clark
An emotional night for many, Valhalla hosted Mister Unit's album release party on Thursday with a three-band line-up. Emotional because the conclusion of work on a recording always is, whether or not it is a celebration, especially so on the dense, powerful and ultimately nostalgic six track album by the headlining band; but more than usual perhaps, because one member who featured on the album was no longer with us.
Gig Review: Dave and the Dirty Humans @ Fringe Bar, Wellington - 13/01/2024
15 Jan 2024 // by Nicholas Clark
Dave and The Dirty Humans are not a band that fades in memory next to the many other current Wellington bands the capital scene appears to be teeming with. Not only is the name a mouthful, but their live shows are memorable, and their songs seem familiar by drawing heavily from the near past (read, the 90’s and 2000’s).
Lung - Album Review: Lung Cancer
07 Jan 2024 // by Nicholas Clark
The legendary 90’s grunge band Lung recently returned to playing live gigs after a hiatus from 1994 until the 2010’s. In 2022 they released Bad Acid Soundtracks II which offered newer versions from their earlier records (like 3 Heads on a Plate and Cactii) but featured the impressive drumming from frontman Dave White’s son, Zak.
Dan Sharp - Single Review: Interstellar Runaway
02 Jul 2023 // by Nicholas Clark
Interstellar Runaway, written with Sam Bartells, is Taupo-based songwriter Dan Sharp’s latest single. This song offers more of the soulful, blues inspired pop he has become known for.
Tomahawk Radio - Album Review: Dreaming With A View
20 Jun 2023 // by Nicholas Clark
Tomahawk Radio’s debut album, Dreaming With A View follows their recent single release of the pop tinged rock song Missiles. The band is effectively listenable, soft, alternative rock, but perhaps ‘soft’ is not a favourable way to describe them – ‘sensible’ might be better.
Gig Review: The Bravo Uniform Mikes @ Valhalla, Wellington - 8/06/2023
11 Jun 2023 // by Nicholas Clark
The final night of the BUM Punch Lower North Island tour occurred at Wellington’s infamous Valhalla club. The tour was headed by the Wellington/Manawatu based blues-rock two piece The Bravo Uniform Mikes (or “The Bums” to their fans) and four piece riot grrrl punk band, Cherry Punch, also from Wellington.
View All Articles By Nicholas Clark

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