By Wal Reid
Artist: I Am Giant
Date / Venue: Saturday February 28th, Kings Arms, Auckland
It was a homecoming of sorts for the internationally based Kiwi rock group as tattooed drum god Shelton Woolright, bassist Paul Matthews and ex IAG axe meister Aja Timu (standing in for new Londoner guitarist Max O'Donnell) took to the stage to unveil new wunderkind singer Ryan Redman to New Zealand audiences.
It was the first time since the Shihad gig in Matakana for Redman as he slotted effortlessly into the role as if he'd always been in the band. His presence solidified after Ed Martin announced his departure end of last year, a sudden blow to the melodic NZ rock group but a more than apt find in Redman.
As Timu hit the familiar guitar bars of Razor Wire Reality hit the now animated crowd as Redman took to the mic like a rabid circus ringmaster, his roguish demeanour striking a chord with punters as he surged around the stage before the band hit the crowd with Death Of You also from their latest offering Science & Survivalalbum, with bassist Paul Matthews adding vocal smooth while Woolright cool as a cucumber kept things ticking along nicely.
At this point I'm converted to the new look vibe Redman adds to the formidable IAG sound before they lunge into new single Russian Doll it's the first track Redman has recorded with the band and by the looks of things he seems to get the nod from the mostly decked out in black ‘I Am Giant army'.
Redman roused up the crowd by introducing himself buying the audience a chance to catch their breath, his wiry frame moving in sync with the band as the packed house started a The Horrifying Truth sing along to tracks Neon Sunrise, the catchy Let It Go, Living the Crash and the anthemic rock nugget We'll Defy.
Ending on Purple Heart was the bands coup de grâce signalling a perfect end to the night and Redman's initiation to Kiwi gig culture before taking on bigger crowds at this years Homegrown. I Am Giant's no-bullshit approach to rock n roll is unpretentious, it's engaging as it is uniting, and none more evident than on the wonderful tracks Standing On the Sun and Transmission cementing the Kiwi groups rep as one of the best live acts around.