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  • Albi & The Wolves - Gig Review: Albi & The Wolves @ The Piano, Christchurch - 24/11/2023

Albi & The Wolves - Gig Review: Albi & The Wolves @ The Piano, Christchurch - 24/11/2023

26 Nov 2023 // A review by Peter K Malthus

This was my first time attending a show at The Piano, a beautifully appointed concert venue in Christchurch's CBD. It was also my first experience of Albi & The Wolves, so I had no real idea of what a treat of a night I was in for. Upon arriving, Chris 'Albi' Dent, standing in the lobby, clocked my 'Muzic.net.nz' t-shirt, called out "You must be Peter!" and warmly shook my hand, chatting with me for a while. That warmth and generosity of spirit pervaded the evening.

The evening began with a performance from the utterly magnificent Good Habits, a Folk Fusion duo from the UK. Bonnie Schwarz (vocals/cello) and Pete Shaw (vocals/accordion) are musical virtuosos and combined the storytelling of their journey as a duo with the songs written along the way, providing cherished milestone memories of their relationship. The first song Pete wrote, about hitch-hiking experiences. The Earth Has Movedinspired by experiences whilst here in New Zealand. The beautiful love song Fridge Photos. Sharing their love of their favourite Japanese restaurant at home, only to pull out chopsticks, and use them to play a duet on the cello...a cover of Fatboy Slim's Praise You Like I Should, no less. Superb.

They returned to the stage, after a brief intermission, as part of the 11-piece band Albi & The Wolves had brought with them, with Pete taking up station at the piano. Drums, cello, viola, violin, trumpet, trombone, and saxophone also joined the three core members of 'Albi' (vocals/guitar), Pascal Roggen (vocals/violin), and Micheal Young (vocals/double bass). I would like to make special mention of Pascal. I honestly don't think I've ever seen a performer quite like him. Extremely lively and animated, a phenomenal violinist, a stunning vocalist, and supremely confident. Just brilliant.

Albi created an atmosphere of intimacy and familiarity, a gifted raconteur who shared the wonderful tales behind the songs. This show was part of a promotional tour for their new album Light After The Darkand we were treated to many of its songs. Clear Blue Eyes celebrating sobriety, All I Am, a rollicking Pogues-like love song, featuring Pascal on lead vocals. Pitter Patter, in remembrance of Albi's late brother, was exceptionally moving, likewise My Old Friend, penned by Albi and Pascal for bandmate Micheal after a health scare. I'd have to say that the barnstorming Scoundrel Dog was my favourite of the evening, although it had tough competition. I bought a copy of Light After The Dark (and a rather nifty coffee mug), and we got to experience most of the track listing.

This was a stellar evening. World-class musicianship, gifted performers with stage presence for days, and glorious harmony vocals. A privilege and a pleasure to witness.

Photo Credit: Joe Photography
Photos from Auckland show - 11 November
View the full gallery here


About Albi & The Wolves

This is folk music, but not as you know it. Pulling inspiration from a wide spectrum of genres, from swing to bluegrass, soul, R&B, rock and world music, Albi and The Wolves offer a decadent serving of double bass, banjo, and fiddle accompanied by Albi's smooth vocal stylings. These elements come together to create both a potent foot stomping rhythm and a captivating music and stage presence never experienced before.

With this love and respect of music in all its forms, Albi and The Wolves not only offer vibrant and refreshing original songs which burst open the seams of traditional folk music, but they also inject their signature sound into modern classics from artists as diverse as Micheal Jackson, and Pink Floyd.

Since the band's formation in 2014, they have excelled in New Zealand's live music scene, pulling in large crowds with their unique performance style, making it irresistible to dance.

Visit the muzic.net.nz Profile for Albi & The Wolves


Light After The Dark
Year: 2023
Type: Album
This Is War
Year: 2019
Type: Album
One Eye Open
Year: 2016
Type: Album
I Will Not Be Broken
Year: 2015
Type: EP

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