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Mermaidens - Gig Review: Mermaidens @ Space Academy, Christchurch - 26/11/2023

27 Nov 2023 // A review by Peter K Malthus

Space Academy is one of my favourite places and it was the perfect venue for this sold-out show. I was fortunate to arrive early enough to get one of a few seats, as it was quickly full to 120-head capacity.

Before Mermaidens hit the stage, however, we were treated to a performance from local Christchurch artist T.G. Shand. Formerly of Melbourne-based band Miniatures, T.G. Shand (aka Annemarie Duff) has recently released Cinnamona follow-up EP to 2020's Golden Hour. The first thing that struck me was the excellence of the rhythm section, a masterful drummer playing with power and precision, yet at a volume low enough to perfectly suit the small venue. Coupled with a beautifully solid bass player, with fat tone for days. Over the top of that were glistening layers of shimmering, chimey guitars, artful and delicious. The vocals were sweet and dreamy, with an ethereal melodic sense. Their floaty, softly-delivered set was well received by the capacity crowd.

Mermaidens (Gussie Larkin, guitar/vocals, Lily West, bass/vocals, Abe Hollingsworth, drums) are touring in support of their latest, self-titled album, released worldwide on November 3rd. You can go support them but checking it out and buying it on Bandcamp here. A gloriously thick fuzzy bass tone set things charging off, and what emerged was a gigantic sound for a three-piece band, not overly loud per se, just HUGE.

A massive tidal wave of post-punk beauty, power and darkness balanced with light=heartedness and joy. They enjoyed some good banter with the adoring crowd, and related a tale of inviting a 5-year-old fan to a soundcheck for a special performance of her favourite song, I Like To Be Alone (which also ended up being my favourite number of the night, coincidentally).. what a bloody nice thing to do, it shows what quality folk they are.

The set included a good selection from the new album, including Sister, Dress For Success, Comet, and Greedy Mouth. At times "sultry" (self-described), at others borderline scary, Mermaidens delivered a highly polished, high-energy set that saw the crowd beg them back for an encore, which they delivered with obvious pleasure. A class act all round, who ably demonstrated why the show was sold out. Thanks for having me.

Photos are from the Mermaidens Dunedin show on 25 November
Photo Credit: Rosa Nevison
Mermaidens Dunedin Photo Gallery


About Mermaidens

The earliest sketches of Wellington trio Mermaidens follows the story arc of how most bands start; through long-term friendship and bonding over music that shaped their salad days. For Mermaidens, it was an eclectic melting pot of PJ Harvey, Warpaint and Fugazi to name a few.

Together, childhood friends Gussie Larkin (guitar/co-lead vocals), Lily West (bass/co-lead vocals) and Abe Hollingsworth (drums) form a powerful trinity of unwavering creativity and relentless work ethic. Their time together as Mermaidens has been a fruitful one; a timeline consisting of three critically acclaimed albums, releasing music on the iconic indie label Flying Nun Records, and a wide range of live supports that include Sleater Kinney, Death Cab for Cutie, Lorde, Mac DeMarco and The Veils.

The band kicked 2021 off with a bang, announcing a nationwide tour and releasing the slow-burning anthem Soft Energy – the video for which was exclusively premiered by Ensemble magazine. The single and tour come off the back of a 12-month period that saw the band host their first ever Mermgrown festival (to a sold out crowd, no less) and gain a nomination for Best Alternative Artist at the Aotearoa Music Awards. In addition to this, West took home the Aotearoa Music Award for Best Album Art (Look Me In The Eyes).

Visit the muzic.net.nz Profile for Mermaidens


Year: 2023
Type: Album
Look Me In The Eye
Year: 2019
Type: Album
Buy Online @ Mightyape
Perfect Body
Year: 2017
Type: Album
Year: 2014
Type: EP
Year: 2014
Type: EP
Year: 2012
Type: EP

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