By Scott Birnie
Artist: I Am Giant
Date / Venue: Thursday July 31st, Brewers Bar, Mt Maunganui
‘NZ rock music ain't dead' enigmatic frontman Joe Walsh screamed during Ekko Parks powerful opening set for I Am Giant. With a sound reminiscent of an early No Use For A Name and a live performance, set in the crowded Brewers Bar in Mount Maunganui, to match, one could be excused for feeling nostalgic for the golden era of mid 90's West Coast punk rock scene. Ekko Park are tight and potentially the most innovative punk band in NZ today, with one album already under their belt, expect big things from this quartet. Preceding them, the extremely impressive ‘Royal Jackets' kicked the evening off in style. After winning an online competition to open for I Am Giant, they proved their worth and showed why the people voted. Loud, heavy and in your face grimy rock'n'roll they produced and all in attendance soaked it in with almost bated disbelief. I am a fan, and from Royal Jackets I want a lot more. They have the ingredients to do something great and I recommend you GO AND SEE THEM LIVE.
I Am Giant hit late, but hit with their usual force, professionalism and brutality that we have come to expect from one of our most successful rock acts. Coming off playing alongside QOTSA and Prodigy at Orange Warsaw Festival in Poland to over 30,000 fans, you could almost presume a level of complacency 2/3rds through their tour of NZ. But there was none. From ‘Razor Wire Reality' and 'Death of You' from their latest critically acclaimed release Science and Survival to longstanding crowd favourites ‘Neon Sunrise' and ‘Purple Heart', I Am Giant delivered blow after blow of heavy hard rock hits. The flow of the set felt seamless aside from one technical failure, showing the level that these guys have risen to with their time spent in Europe and leads me to believe there is now no stopping this rock juggernaut. Frontman Ed Martin can foot it with the best, whipping the crowd into a frenzy numerous times, the slick guitar/Bass combination of Paul Matthews and Andrew Kerr perfectly aligned with each riff and Shelton Woolright, well what more can be said for one of our favourite music sons?
A brilliant performance from all 3 acts. Royal Jackets and Ekko Park are on the rise, I will be back for more from them and following with intended interest. As for I am Giant? Consummate professionals. Still one of our leading acts both locally and internationally and with only two shows left before they leave our shores, be sure to check them out.