By Stella Gardiner
Artist: Eden Mulholland
Date / Venue: Saturday November 7th, 2015 - Backbeat Bar, Auckland
A modest crowd took shelter from the fireworks in Auckland's Backbeat Bar on Saturday night. They gathered to join Eden Mulholland and his band celebrate the release of his highly anticipated sophomore album, Hunted Haunted. But this was not a night for Eden to party alone, two special guests would be playing as well.
First up special guest number one, singer-songwriter formerly of Watercolours fame, dream pop sirenChelsea Jade. As the lights dimmed and the crowd quietened Chelsea took the stage. For the briefest of moments I remember thinking gosh that car outside has a very loud stereo. Well silly me, what I was hearing was the intro to Chelsea's first track of the evening Kyoto Train from the 2012 EP Portals. This certainly got the crowd warmed up as the drinks were pouring, but no-one was dancing. Like a school social people hugged the walls of Backbeat waiting for someone to do something. That someone happened to be Chelsea. She took the floor after Visions and Night Swimmer from her EP Beacons to welcome her crowd by singing in their faces in an almost confrontational manner. In my opinion this daring gesture seemed add something special to the performance as opposed to being an act to provoke a negative response.
Not short of humour, Chelsea asked the crowd to clap for her during Last Night as she wasn't able to play and clap at the same time! She also gave the crowd three choices; stand up and come into the centre the bar, have all the lights turned off for the rest of the show or buy her a Tequila shot. So someone bought her a Tequila shot of course. Chelsea's set came to a powerful close as she took the floor once again dancing as she sang her last track Low Brow.
Next up the reason for the gig, Eden Mulholland, who quite literally leapt onto the stage. An enigmatic character with a wicked sense of humour and an suave Italian alter ego. Keeping the crowd amused wasn't hard either as Eden had a knack for channeling Barbara Streisand and Michael Jackson during his performance. Aside from a few issues with sound effects the set was trouble free. We heard Singularity and no sooner than he finished Fall To The Floor did brother Jol walk in! "No pressure" Eden exclaimed. A few more tracks which seemed now to be a mix of old and new tracks, (I couldn't keep up) followed by a short story about being punched in the face at a Shihad gig at the age of 14 then running crying to a police officer. This was a very amusing story indeed and raised a lot of laughs from the audience.
The popular single Utopia got the crowd going again, still no-one dared take the floor but if you looked around you could see heads were definitely bopping. Then it was time for the second special guest to take the stage, none other than the talented Paul McLaney. Eden spoke very highly of Paul's new albumThreshold and suggested we all support him when it is released.
The night ended with a new track called Leopard, a song so new "I don't even know it" said Eden. This dark and folky number was something different to the rest and I thoroughly enjoyed it. Even though it was sung in "the key of 'broken heart'".