Gig(s) Review: birds of passage, The Unseen Mechanised Eye (Clarence Street)Hide & Tallow, Rumpus Room, Inchworm (Nivara Lounge)
G I G ( S ) R E V I E W
birds of passage, The Unseen Mechanised Eye (Clarence Street)
Hide & Tallow, Rumpus Room, Inchworm (Nivara Lounge)
11 March 2016
March 11 was a big night for music in Hamilton, with a Fringe Festival gig at Clarence St Theatre followed by the Inchworm reunion at Nivara Lounge.
First up at Clarence Street were Birds of Passage. Over 60 were in attendance, ranging from the young to the old, and included a disproportionately high number of beards. With the audience sitting on the darkened Clarence St Theatre stage, rather than in the main theatre seating area, the two-piece performance featuring Alicia Merz (keyboards and occasional guitar) with Gareth Schott (guitar) played their ambient minimalist compositions with a backdrop of interesting visuals projected on a big screen. Overall, the seating placement, music and accompanying visuals made for an intimate experience, which the audience greatly appreciated. Next up were ‘The Unseen Mechanised Eye’, whose “minimal, droning avant-classical soundscapes” were based primarily around Rob Thorne’s traditional Māori instruments (taonga puoro). Their performance was both interesting and varied, although with the show unfortunately running later than expected, I needed to leave them early for my second port-of-call, Nivara Lounge.
There was quite a different audience attending the Inchworm gig, with most around the 40 years-of-age mark, and with most being distinctly less hirsute. Overall, the atmosphere of the gig was a bit like a school reunion – a nostalgic trip down memory lane, which included all the excitement and anxiety involved with seeing people again you haven’t seen for years. Support acts Hide & Tallow and Rumpus Room didn’t get the level of attention they deserved, unfortunately, although a surprise cover of Garageland’s ‘Nude Star’ by Rumpus Room certainly ripped many people’s attention away from whoever they were talking to a time. Ultimately, however, the night was all about Inchworm. Their performance began with the wonderful ‘You Get to Me’ off their final ‘You are Only Here’ album. Although this included a couple of false starts, the band soon hit its straps and provided a thoroughly entertaining show. Many of the full house who attended danced and sang away to all of the familiar songs that were still firmly burnt into their collective minds. The band avoided their set being a complete nostalgia-fest, however, by adding a couple of brand new songs, ‘Three Islands’ and ‘Strider Rider’, of which recordings should see the light of day (along with several others) sometime in the future. Overall, the songs from their final album best passed the test of time, and provided an indication of what might have been had they managed to stay together just a few more years. Following one of their strongest songs, ‘The End’, the show was over, and everyone seemed to go home happy.