19 May 2024

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Mister Unit - Gig Review: Mister Unit @ Valhalla, Wellington - 18/01/2024

21 Jan 2024 // A review 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. Gareth Smith, bassist for the band Mister Unit, had recorded his parts for There's Always Someone With a Bigger Schtick by October, but he would not live to see its release. His unexpected passing unsettled the band; however, they knew he would have wished the band to celebrate and release their loosely themed album in such a manner.

The two bands in support were a little different but showed the two sides of Mister Unit. The first, I'd seen play many times now while the other was as of arriving yet unheard to me, but with one familiar member. The Clangers, with such a name, were assumed by myself and my friend to be a punk band, but we were very wrong. Instead, their songs were pleasantly sophisticated with hints of Pink Floyd, Rush and other prog-rock bands flowing through their tunes. Their created quite a sound from just three members, albeit with a six-string bass. Nick Potts, guitarist and vocalist from local band The Bravo Uniform Mikes, filled in on drums  playing a type of music I wouldn't have usually associated with him.

Next up, Cherry Punch performed the usual raw and fast punk music they have become so well known for. They have continued to become more professional in their shows with almost no dead-air between songs, except for quick stories from front-woman Cherry who usually garners most of the attention with her wild movements, mic swinging, stomping and finally collapsing on the stage. With bassist Cody sitting down during their set on the drum riser, guitarist Emily was the only person on stage to compete with Cherry's actions and concentrating on the guitar solos (that I haven't really noticed before but was surprised and impressed by) all eyes were on their singer to ensure she didn't spill anybody's beer. The set ended with everyone a little bewildered, as per usual, but keen for the main act to begin.

Mister Unit started off strong with classic songs from their ten-track album Wake Me Up When We Get To Utopia but leaned heavily into the new album also. With a hypnotic display behind them, the band played and looked like absolute rock stars. The mix was superbly balanced; with bass, drums, all three guitars when vocalist Andrew picked up his Parker Fly or Gibson Firebird to join in, and vocals (including punky-anthemic vocal chants) were all nicely sitting next to each other and representing the parts of each song well. Lead guitarist Curtis absolutely wailed above the songs, cutting through the mix to play his melodic shred style solos. Rhythm and gang vocalist Simon began many songs with a trusty swagger, but it was obviously a night for lead vocalists to steal the show, because frontman Andrew not only belted out some impressively high notes, but he also entertained throughout with stories and humorous asides.

The night ended with Mister Unit fans baying for more, but the band was spent, and the hour was late. With friends both present and with those departed in their thoughts, the crowd surrounded the band and congratulated them on a fantastic night and album.

Photo Credit: Nicholas E. Clark


About Mister Unit

From the fiery depths of Sonic mayhem, the dirty old rock’n roll band Mister Unit present themselves for your entertainment with boundless energy and songs that drift across time, space and style. We are Andrew, Gaz, Mishy, Simon and Pete.

Visit the muzic.net.nz Profile for Mister Unit


Wake Me When We Get To Utopia
Year: 2022
Type: Album

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