By Jake Ebdale
Artists: Fat Freddy's Drop, Anika Boh & Hollie, The Adults, Clara Van Wel
Date / Venue: Sunday March 3rd, Mystery Creek, Hamilton
Clara Van Wel, The Adults, Anika, Boh & Hollie and Fat Freddy's Drop finished off their nationwide vineyard tour with a show in the Waikato. Looking at the lineup, I thought this would be a mismatched bill. But together in the tranquil, low key setting of Hamilton's Mystery Creek, these four very different acts created a dazzling display of Aotearoa's finest that surprisingly worked to their favour.
The Adults went on as the sun was going down. It may have been oblivious to many in the crowd, but by Kiwi standards they're a bonafidesupergroup. The most gripping performer comes not in the form of Shihad's John Toogood or Fur Patrol's Julia Deans, but Shayne Carter,member of Straitjacket Fits and Dimmer - his proficiency on the guitar, creating chord after droning, grating chord, was absolutely inspiring. The Adults' songs themselves are unremarkable, hard to not stack up to their respective bands work (many seem like rewrites of the Fits ‘If I Were You' and cuts from Shihad's self titled), but on ‘Anniversary Day' and closer ‘Nothing to Lose' they were on point - more than the sum of their parts. Toogood's banter, including a rant about how crowds never shrug in unison, was hilarious too.
Anika, Boh & Hollie were great, a perfect fit for the crowd's perpetual fold up chair position. For the majority of their set, they were entertaining - mixing their own hits with cuts from their debut album, Peace of Mind. There were moments that dragged on (particularly the title track from that record) but the highlights of the night came with Runga's ‘Part of Me' and Smith's ‘Bathe in the River', a Don McGlashan penned gospel tearjerker, propelled to new heights by the backing vocals of Runga and Moa.
Before they started, I thought Fat Freddy's Drop were the odd ones out - their brand of soul, dub and electronic music surely not compatible with the much older crowd, (especially knowing their set was an opportunity to road test new songs). Their main strength is in the horn section, which prompts some of the loudest cheers I've ever heard at any show. It's a distinct, original sound, the reason they attract top billing around the world, and tonight was no exception - they are really that good. New songs ‘Blackbird', ‘Silver and Gold', ‘Bones' and ‘Mother Mother' were interesting, vibrant and most of all, full of funk. ‘Bones' was the winner of the pack - a muse on Bill Withers blues. ‘Boondigga' saw Shayne Carterreturn for more exciting six string violence. The fan favourite closer, ‘Shiverman' lasted for twenty minutes, which dragged on slightly, but buoyed by Joe Lindsay's effortless rump shaking. Once that horn drop kicks in, it's all over - you're skanking and jumping around on top of your crackers and cheese.
What a finale it was - four of New Zealand's top acts, all putting on top shows. That they had enough respect and affinity for one another to tour up and down the country says a lot about Kiwi music, a lot about the craft and the love. As a whole, it was a top night, an impressive showcase for Aotearoa's music as a whole. I'd like to think they saved their best show for last.