R E V I E W
Nadia Reid and her band
Hamilton Gardens Arts Festival
28th Feb 2020
By Arpie Shirehorse
We are no strangers to Dunedin’s Nadia Reid here at HUP HQ, having hosted her twice in Hamilton, at the Waldorf School Hall in 2018 and then again at The Meteor during Future City Festival 2019. We missed her show at Nivara Lounge last year so were keen to revisit those amazing songs and that incredible voice one more time.
The show was an early one, kicking off at 7pm on the dot, a time Nadia deemed ‘suitable’ later on in the set. The crowd was very polite and listened intently, and was of a certain age, with many silver barnets on display. Nothing wrong with that of course, just mildly surprising upon arrival. A friend later claimed that this is normal for a HGAF event but who knows.
The band walked on and started playing, followed a moment later by Nadia herself, claiming her spot centre stage to gentle applause. Well known songs - opener ‘Richard’ and ‘The Arrow and the Aim’ got the show off to a familiar start, with Anita Clark (aka Motte) the newest addition to the band, adding delicious violin to great effect.
We were treated to a selection of new songs from her forthcoming album ‘Out Of My Province’ followed, and felt immediately familiar. ‘Oh Canada’, ‘Best Thing’ and ‘I Don’t Wanna Take Anything From You’ are certainly from the same stable as previous offerings, although on initial listen seem a little darker, perhaps more introspective than material from the first two albums.
A cover of Mazzy Star’s ‘Fade Into You’ was treated just like the other songs, no introduction, and I wondered of any of the older crowd had ever heard of Hope Sandoval. Ultimately it didn’t matter and of course, they applauded politely. The set closed with my personal highlight ‘Right On Time’ from 2016’s Preservation LP. It seemed to get a fair amount of seat jiving happening too, reminding me of the opening credits of Fraggle Rock. In a good way.
A solo encore followed, ‘Get The Devil Out’, the closing track on the new album, with its twisted sadness a weird-in-a-good-way end to the set.
Overall a faultless performance from an established star and an excellent live band in a wonderful environment, but a weird perhaps too-gentle crowd making it a slightly awkward atmosphere at times. No one's fault of course, that’s just how it goes.
As I slunk into the hazy last light of the day to be bombarded with what people probably call ‘blues’ music on the other stage, I was reminded to always be grateful for what you have.