POUFFE, FILE FOLDER, CELEBRITY DEATH HOAX
Nivara Lounge 14-1-2017
By Gee Ttohcs
I guess evaluating this gig led me to ask more questions than I answer, which I ultimately take to be a good thing as the evening got me thinking. First thing I typically do when writing a review, (like my 2 or 3 attempts at reviewing for HUP constitutes any sort of experience), is to comment on how people “came out”, “made their way”, sometimes even “battled the elements”, as if it is necessary to point out that live music in Hamilton a) gets an audience and b) to acknowledge the vast amount of energy and effort exerted by those who attend to get there. So, initially my opening line of this review was also going to be: “A good crowd attended … blah, blah, blah.” (with more accurate details than blah, blah, blah). However, you can see that I went something different as an opener. Alerted to my own laziness, it did lead me to think: “What is a good crowd?” Is it number of people (what is a good number), their behavior, or whether they seemed pleased with what bands had to offer?
As you might already have guessed, the Pouffe gig was not sold out, but it never was going to be. It is January in Hamilton (people abandon their houses to go and pitch up some material next to the very people they are trying to escape from), the bands on the line up too, “ain’t born typical.” What we are talking about here I guess is an ‘underground’ gig. What the fuck does that mean? Another question. Well Nivara is literally located underground and this is Hamilton Underground Press, but I guess I am referring to a set of bands that do things a bit differently, don’t necessarily have wide appeal or seek it. Whether the bands in question hate the term ‘underground’ or not, doesn’t really matter, it serves to take me back to the question of what is a ‘good’ crowd. In this case people attended (it may have been a relatively event free journey, maybe they were even carried to the car, who knows?). Indeed there was a good enough number of people for the bands to feel relieved that they weren’t just going to be playing to each other. When things kicked off at 10pm, rather than the printed schedule there was an audience that were very much into what the bands had to offer. There was interaction, dancing, nodding, smiling, whooping and cheering. It was an intimate gig, people there ‘got it’ (apart from the typical randoms who roll in off the street, drunk hoping for an Aerosmith covers band). The reason why the audience appears to hold relevance is that both Pouffe and File Folder travelled from Auckland for this gig, and I for one, don’t like bands to leave our fair city thinking we prefer what is going on down the road (typically covers bands). We loved you Pouffe and File Folder, you were loud, interesting, had great sounds, humor, made us dance, made us laugh … come back, come back again … please?
Locals Celebrity Death Hoax opened the night. This bill was a good fit for one of Hamilton’s newest bands. In this gig, they appeared more relaxed - songs got longer intros, and generally got more time to breathe. They simply looked and felt more at home on the same stage they’ve played on numerous occasions already. They delivered the same set as the HUP/HUM Xmas gig, but never the same, as singer Pip Six improvised lyrics and where they are sung in the song guarantees it will vary each time. The electronic side of Celebrity Death Hoax was taken further by second band, the two-piece File Folder. Beth Ducklingmonster and Robert Pickle abandoned the stage and set up their gadgetry amongst the audience. With heavily manipulated vocals, the two vocalists pounded the audience with their words, ideas, utterances, howls. Forceful declarations sat on top of intense, infectious beats and synth lines. I know so many people that would have absolutely loved their sound. Bad luck, those us who were there loved it, and enjoyed that we got to hear it and maybe that others missed out – we got in on the secret. However, if you want to catch up, head to their bandcamp page. It won’t be the same, but it’s as close as you’ll get until you catch them live.
Finally, the Megazone tour arrived in Hamilton and Pat Kraus and Matt Plunkett aka Pouffe (I prefer to pronounce their name as Pouf-fey like buffet, but I am sure that is wrong) took up their position on the elevated drum riser - After all they were the headliners, so it felt apt. Guitar nerds would have had a field day figuring out the make of Pat’s guitar and working out how he achieves his tone. I just asked him outright, but I am not sharing the response here. Sounds reminiscent of the rawer side of guitar music came out of it and limited number of effects. The guitar lines were charming and enthralling. The lyrical content of the songs possessed a Moldy Peaches-esq humor and were delivered in a style evocative of the early UK punk-scene. Personal favorite of the evening was the song ‘Blu Tack’. Celebrity Death Hoax’s keyboard player and John Cooper Clarke lookalike’s least favorite song was the one about haircuts. It got emotional for him. So all in all, I guess Pouffe lived up to the description they give of their sound as comparable to a “cow making hip-hop but real catchy and emotional.” However, you’ll have to catch them live to see how a cow plays the keyboard. It is worth the entry fee alone.