G I G R E V I E W
THE HUM 106.7FM launch party
Ghosts of Electricity, Birds of Passage, Harry Parsons
23rd Jan 2016
On a hot, sticky Hamilton evening, Nivara Lounge hosted the launch party for The Hum 106.7FM, the brand new radio station specialising in playing Hamilton music. As I walked down the steps into the lounge I was greeted by swathes of mugginess and the husky tones of Harry Parsons, the opening act of the evening. Performing solo, Harry toiled manfully in the tropical conditions, banging out his wonderfully constructed songs with aplomb. At least one person who was witnessing Harry for the first time declared ‘Shit, he’s good isn’t he?’ Yes. Yes he is.
After Harry, came probably the most successful unknown ‘Hamilton band’ in existence, Birds of Passage. Alicia Merz has been constructing her wonderfully delicate songs for a number of years now, but gigs have been extremely infrequent, if not non-existent. Joined by Gareth Schott (sink\sink, Ancient Tapes) on guitar, Merz’s gentle vocals whispered over keys and swathes of gorgeously restrained guitars captivated the audience. Each song is the musical equivalent of a fairy tale, or perhaps a dark lullaby, brooding, beautiful, pleasing and occasionally harrowing. The audience lapped it up, listening intently to the veiled dramas unfolding before their ears. In May the band is jetting off to Las Vegas to play the Further Future festival and it was easy to imagine this set scaling up to a bigger stage in front of thousands of people. On a night when Nivara Lounge felt more like the Mojave desert that awaits them, Birds of Passage were extremely cool.
Ghosts of Electricity closed the evening off, playing their third Hamilton show in a few months. HUP has covered GoE in some detail in recent times, and this set, a mix of older and more recent material, proved beyond doubt that this is a really solid live band whose ‘white collar punk’ has a wide range of appeal. Tim’s gravelly voice is a constant surprise and provides the icing on this three-piece’s cake. If there is any justice in this world, the Ghosts will have their day in the spotlight.
A fine evening’s entertainment befitting of celebrating such a worthwhile venture…ka pai, The Hum! Arpie Shirehorse
R E V I E W
The Scones – Go Ahead, Bake My Day EP
This review is a couple of years late; my excuse being that I never knew this little gem existed! 'The Scones', which is correctly pronounced to rhyme with ‘cons’, rather than ‘cones’, are a band centred around the talents of Hamiltonian Julian White, while the remaining members are based in Auckland.
The sound of their EP, ‘Go Ahead, Bake my Day, is unashamedly influenced by Flying Nun bands from the ‘80s and ‘90s. For example, to cook up the first track, titled Blue and Green, you might take one part the Bats, add an equal portion of Sneaky Feelings, and then season it with some Goblin Mix or Exploding Budgies. The second track, Weeds, also sounds like it also could have come from The Bats ‘Daddy’s Highway’ or ‘The Law of Things’. However, that is not to say there isn’t great variety among its six tracks, or that the wearing of their influences on their sleeve is a bad thing. This is a totally enjoyable EP, from the beginning to the final (and if I am hearing the lyrics correctly, slightly comedic) eponymous track, ‘Scones’. The EP is well produced, the instruments sound great, and White I would argue has a more listenable voice than many of his influences. If you were a lover of Flying Nun at its best, you should give this EP a listen or ten (and then a few more after that for good measure).
All of the songs are free from their Soundcloud. Ian Duggan