By Emi Pogoni
Artist: Eden Mulholland
Date / Venue: Thursday May 16th, Puppies, Wellington
I went to this gig blind of his aesthetic. I knew he was well known in the wider dance community with many of this crowd touting his prowess as a composer for dance. I knew he was somewhat well known in Auckland. And, I knew he was in Motocade, and now as a solo artist he is soon to release a new album. This last point, and it being New Zealand Music Month, the reasons for the gig.
The atmosphere was supportive with the mostly sober sitting of his "small but perfectly formed audience", who, I deduced from Mulholland's comfortable banter and my conversations with individuals during smokos, were made up of his peers. They were attentive, friendly, and a good bunch. The venue Puppies, the relatively newly refurbished Happy now under the prolific Blink's management, provided a quirky intimacy reinforcing the general pleasant vibes. In addition, the sound was great thanks to the talented soundieJames Goldsmith, who never ceases to put in the effort required of the weird acoustics of small Wellingtonvenues.
Mulholland seemed versed in dealing with audiences, playing up the awkward New Zealand thing to advantage: ahems went to and fro. Himself and the two others in his band performed aptly and sounded well rehearsed. To be fair, the music was not anything exciting or complex: a somewhat dated (mid-2000s-ish, possibly earlier) brand of pop/rock. Throughout the set, he humorously broke it up by introducing the next one as a reggae or jazz tune.
I think the point for Mulholland is to simply continue creating band music, perhaps to break up the more stringent demands of scoring underneath choreographers and rather than be behind the scenes perform occasionally. I speculate though. Anyway, as an aside, it seems there are huge expectations for live gigs to encourage quasi-religious experiences, which is probably selfish of audiences. On the other hand, there's probably nothing more debasing than being wallpaper music. Mulholland's music was neither.
There could have been more effort put into promo, which I think there was none. His name is not widespread in Wellington, exemplified by one of my peers asking, "What's this Matador gig you're going to?"
So, musically it wasn't awe-inspiring, but the show wasn't awful. In the future, I may be interested in whether he brings in his dance scoring aesthetics into his live set. And, while I wouldn't listen to his current music from the confines of a music playing device and headphones, I had an agreeable time.