By Jake Ebdale
Artist: Mahoney Harris
Date / Venue: Thursday September 18th, The Wine Cellar, Auckland
The Wine Cellar is an intimate venue - the sights, the scene, the smells - the musical senses are firing off. It was the perfect place for Mahoney Harris, local singer-songwriter, to release her excellent debut album, We Didn't Feel Alone. With an opening set by Hopetoun Brown, this was a showcase of exceptional homegrown talent, something many of us take for granted.
For her show, Harris was surrounded by great talent - including drummer/producer Wayne Bell, as well as an emergent Andrew Keoghan who performed double duty on the piano and violin for ‘The Real Me'. This was a tight, unassuming band that complimented the arrangements and personal nature of the record - before Harris kicked in the beautiful ‘That Day', she confessed that the song was "part truth, part fantasy" (with her proud partner sitting in front of her). A show which blessed us with a rejigged album tracklist, ‘Give Me', ‘Come Home' and ‘Real Me' were highlights, the crowd falling silent at times, Harris' lovely timbre nourishing the venue and outer bar.
Leaning against the wall, taking it all in, the songs jump out in a live setting, more weighty, at times unnerving - which is a good thing. That's the measure of a great artist - someone invested in the tunes, melodies, conveying the emotion and channelling it through the intimacy of their surroundings.
We Didn't Feel Alone is a personal, liberating record - live, the material was vibrant and confident. These days, the musical climate is so hung up on begging for your attention, on the novel, the cheese. Every now and then, albums like this put your faith back in natural, real, human sound. That's what this album, and this performance, has very pleasantly revealed. The real deal.