Friday, December 5, 2008

REVIEW: Gin Wigmore

Gin Wigmore
Sale St
Thursday 4 December
Words and Photos by Charlette Hannah

Gin Wigmore

Niall Anderson

Wayne Bell

Gin Wigmore is a pretty awesome talent. If you haven't heard her yet, where have you been? You're missing out. On a rare occasion we are lucky to see not only a great songwriter and a fabulous singer, but also a great performer.

From the first notes tinkled out by Sydney pianist Niall Anderson, Gin was up on her toes, dancing and singing. She wasn't still for a moment. Taking the extremely enthusiastic crowd through a rollicking (and occasionally down-tempo) set, Gin was clearly a popular act. New bar Sale St was packed out, and it's not a small venue.

Gin has an unusual husky voice that is even richer live than on her EP. Playing acoustic guitar, she was backed up by Niall, and local percussionist Wayne Bell (who has played with almost everyone in New Zealand it seems: Bic Runga, the Finn brothers, The Bads, Carly Binding. Shona Laing, Barry Saunders, The Darlings, Splitter, When The Cats Away, Jenny Morris, Jordan Luck to name but a few) on the maracas and other assorted delicacies.

Gin's music is mostly upbeat and driven, with the occasional "singer-songwriter indulgence" (quote) in her more mellow downbeat songs. It seems this woman can do happy and sad with equally impressive results. No matter what she's doing, her voice is incredible. The audience sang along to all the songs from her EP and her single 'Under My Skin' got a rapturous reception.

The whole band was lovely to watch, with everyone grinning most of the time. Gin is an entertaining and lively performer, and I just can't think of a single thing to grizzle about.

Thursday, December 4, 2008


Sale St
Thursday 4 December
Words and Photos by Charlette Hannah

I admit, I know next to nothing about this Kayne fellow. I don't remember him even introducing himself, but according to the bill he was opening for Gin Wigmore at Sale St on Thursday night. No surname, no MySpace, but I heard a rumour he runs/owns a music magazine. Mysterious.

All that aside, Kayne is a confident and polished performer, with an excellent blues-rock voice. Playing a mix of originals and covers with his trusty sidekick Seamus (again, we got no surname), Kayne got the excited crowd nicely warmed up.

At times Kayne really let go with his voice, giving it a roaring huskiness which took the music out of the ordinary and gave it extra depth. The rhythmic acoustic guitar between the duo had folks dancing within a few songs, all ready for Gin to come on stage.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

REVIEW: Mercury Crowe

Dogs Bollix
Thursday 25 September
Words and Photos by Charlette Hannah

Allan Mansfield

Nick George

Hamish Mckoy

Rowan Clark

Mercury Crowe are hot hot hot. Did I say hot?

They are young, talented, their live show is on fire, and they are up-and-coming in the best sense of the phrase. Sadly so many local bands seem destined to struggle with the local gig circuits for a wee while before it all gets the better of them and they retreat back into bedroom jamming. Mercury Crowe appears to be one of the rare exceptions - these guys are Going Somewhere. Happening. It.

With enough pop catchiness for instant appeal and enough indie cred to back it up, Mercury Crowe's songs are a mix of California-esque surf rock, blues and pop rock. Strong harmonies dominate the arrangements - one of the stand-out elements of their live performance. With singer/guitarist Allan Mansfield sharing vocal duties with lead guitarist Hamish Mckoy and bassist Rowan Clark, backed up by drummer Nick George, Mercury Crowe's finely crafted arrangements are refreshing. All four are excellent musicians and display their talent without showing off.

I've seen Mercury Crowe a couple of times before, and they just keep getting better and better. And they were great to start with. Mostly upbeat songs, their enthusiasm is reflected in a tight and energetic show, and in the crowd at the Dogs Bollix all eyes were riveted to the stage. A couple of darker numbers kept the pop element under control and showcased the dynamic range Mercury Crowe are capable of.

Currently Wellington based, Mercury Crowe tour regularly, so make sure you catch them next time they're in Auckland.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

REVIEW: Crosstown Revue

Civic Theatre
Friday 5 September
Words and Photos by Charlette Hannah

(More photos at the end)

Supergroove rock. What else can you say? The electricity of their live performance proved once again why Supergroove are New Zealand music royalty, and judging by the two shiny new songs they played, they are back and better than ever. Friday's lineup featured Hollie Smith, Gin Wigmore and rapper Scribe, all backed by Supergroove, punctuating two sets and a long encore filled with hit after hit.

Newcomer Gin Wigmore opened the evening at the beautiful Civic Theatre, with support from Supergroove members. Gin's distinctively husky voice is even richer live than recorded, and she arrested the audience's attention for two songs including the powerful These Roses from her debut EP Extended Play. Her brief performance shows she has more than enough mojo to hold even bigger stages, and my only complaint for the whole evening would be that we didn't get to hear enough Gin!

Next it was soul songstress Hollie Smith's turn to share the stage with the boys from Supergroove. Her piano wheeled in, the current darling of New Zealand music took centre stage. Her deep voice took us through songs including the single Popularity, from her debut album Long Player. Hollie's charismatic performance combined with her powerful vocal stylings ensured a smooth and melodic show.

And then it was time for Supergroove to bust their famous moves. With singers Che Ness (solo artist Che Fu) and Karl Steven mixing vocal duties, and all members leaping round the stage at various moments, Supergroove showed us that older and wiser IS better, and that they can still light the stage on fire.

Mixing new songs with their classic hits, including You Gotta Know, Can't Get Enough and Sittin Inside My Head, Supergroove delivered an electric show to a packed out theatre. The audience was on their feet, dancing in the aisles, hands reaching out, singing along. The enthusiastic encore was rewarded with all the artists on the stage together for a few more songs, drawing out the fantastic evening.

Rapper Scribe strengthened the hip hop element to the music, performing his hit single 'Not Many'. Hooded and dark, with his vocals tight and smoothly delivered, Scribe also had the audience pumping on their feet.

Nick Atkinson, Ian Jones, Joe Lonie, Che Ness, Ben Sciascia, Karl Steven, Tim Stewart; Supergroove: Welcome back.