Date / Venue: Thursday April 9th, ASB Theatre, Auckland
I certainly felt slightly out of place, being one of the few under 40, even under 30 year olds who turned up to see David Gray perform at Auckland's ASB Theatreon Thursday night. "His hits are older than you!" I got in response as I subtly let out that I wasn't exactly what you'd call familiar with Gray's music, or him for that fact.
But nonetheless, it proved an enjoyable night out and one that was seemingly enjoyed by many long time David Gray fans, who left the show at the end of the night, anything but disappointed.
The show started off with what remained an all time highlight for me, as Gray began the evening with the enchanting and striking emotional ballad ‘Birds Of The High Arctic' from his most recent album ‘Mutineers.'The sweetly soft intro and first few minutes of the tune saw Gray play the piano, beautifully accompanied by cellist Caroline Dale. While Dale produced a range of exquisite bird like sounds from her instrument, which continued to echo throughout the remainder of the song, the song building in momentum soon saw Gray leave the piano to belt out the two final verses of the tune, before once again making his way back to the keyboard to conclude the song with the same soft and harmonious melody it had begun with.
Slowly picking up the pace with his latest single ‘Back In The World,' Gray's band of seven, consisting of bassistRob Malone, drummer Keith Prior, keyboard player Tim Bradshaw, backing vocalist Niamh Farrell and two guitarists, David Kitt and John Smith, made their way to the stage to join in with the dancing, clapping and singing that was coming from both the audience and Gray himself.
While I soon figured out a common theme with Gray's songs, that being the majority of them begin delicate, sweet and melodic, before slowly building up to a climax, which see's Gray and band let their energy levels soar, ahead of bringing the tune back down to its melodious beginnings, there were certainly a number of stand out songs and performances throughout the night, not only musically but also visually.
One of these being the emotionally remarkable ‘Beautiful Agony,' another track off Gray's latest album. The lighting was stunning and simply perfect, as the dimly lit stage soon sparkled with the whirling of fluro, glow in the dark ‘whirly tubes,' those of which Gray's band swung around above their heads throughout what was a great performance.
Album title track Mutineers was slightly less spectacular in the lighting department, or more-so, over-spectacular, as numerous intensely bright spotlights whizzed around the room, in a furring speed which I think was possibly slightly too chaotic for the rocky track. However, the excitement levels hit new heights when Gray pulled out a harmonica for an impressive solo, backed by his band who also let rip on their specific instruments.
Continuing to showcase his musical skills, ‘Last Summer' saw Gray displaying his ukulele playing talents, before bringing his run of new songs to an end with the soothing echo, of ‘Gulls.'
Attempting to take us back to the late 90s with the energetic and uplifting ‘My Oh My' from his 1998 album‘White Ladder,' Gray had well and truly warmed up to the stage and audience by now, setting aside his guitar halfway throughout the performance to show off his somewhat amusing and impressive dance moves.
The touch of slide guitar throughout ‘Sail Away,' another ‘White Ladder' track made the entirety of the song, as Gray continued on to play ‘Kathleen' and ‘Fugitive,' two slightly newer songs from his 2009 album ‘Draw The Line.' Both of which the drums and dancing audience were the highlight throughout.
‘The Other Side' however, was undoubtedly a crowd favourite that saw not only the volume levels of Gray and band increase, but the energy and enthusiasm levels of both Gray, the band members and those in the audience sky rocket through the roof as the venue soon echoed with the voices and claps of the surrounding David Gray admirers. That of which there was a few, backed up by the odd woman excitedly screeching, "You're hot David!" to which he cleverly replied, "Yeah, it is pretty hot up here."
"This song just popped into my head so I have to sing it," Gray announced, as his band departed the stage, diverting from his set list to perform an excellent rendition of Bruce Springsteen's ‘Mansion On The Hill,'accompanying himself on the acoustic guitar.
"Jesus Christ!" Gray beckoned after attempting to play ‘You're The World To Me.' "Enter at your own peril, this song says," Gray announced, laughing off the mistake. Followed by a quick re-start, he was underway once more, becoming lost in the music as he happily informed everyone, "I made it!" followed by a sigh of relief as the song came to an end.
With the band now returning on stage, they wasted no time launching into ‘Snow Leopard,' one of the favourites of the night, that I admittedly enjoyed thoroughly.
‘The One I Love,' was undeniably a favourite amongst the crowd also, as its beginning heard a shriek from numerous fans, followed by a rush of those excited, to the front of the stage with their dancing shoes on and rearing to go. With those who didn't join in with the dancing, remaining at their seats and adding to the atmosphere and rhythm with their cheerful clapping along.
The last two songs of the night (pre encore) ‘Silver Lining' and ‘Please Forgive Me' continued and built on the audience's energetic enthusiasm, as Gray urged even more of the crowd to get involved, enticing them with a great big, cheerful, "Come on Auckland!"
Of course the chance of an encore proved fairly obvious, as Gray departed from the stage for a mere few minutes, before the entire audience were on their feet, stomping, clapping, whistling, shouting and demanding an encore.
With a stunning solo performance of ‘Babylon,' Gray's band returned on stage to finish things off with what must have been at least a ten minute version of ‘Nemesis.'
All in all, despite David Gray personally not being my absolute ‘cup of tea,' as you could say. It's clear he's a talented performer, who loves doing just that and he has a great deal of adoring fans, he most certainly does deserve - those in Auckland atthe show, being more than thrilled with the performance they received from the man himself, I'm sure.
In the mid to late 90's, when grunge began to wither away and MTV strived to find the next easy to access label to attach to new batch of up and coming rock bands, global attention started to shine on the Alt Rock scene.
The I Love The 90s Tour returns to Auckland next year March 23rd at Auckland’s Spark Arena, with a completely off the chain lineup featuring classic Hip Hop crew Naughty by Nature. Vin Rock from the Grammy Award winning rap group speaks fondly of this country and love of our people.
The Soundsplash Festival is returning to Raglan in January 2018. Local reggae favourites Katchafire are returning to feature on the bill. We sent a few questions over to lead vocalist Logan Bell ahead of the festival.
Following 2015’s Kitty, Daisy & Lewis'The Third', the sibling trio are back stronger than ever, harnessing their ability to create pop-infused soul, blues, rock n roll and a large mix of genres to perfection, in the shape of their fourth studio album, Superscope.
Kylie Price has just released her new album Bones. Last week she appeared on theNZ Entertainment Podcast, where she sang a new song I Dont Want To Go off the album while talking shop about her dream gig to play with Ed Sheeran and her Philipino roots.
Last week I caught up withPeter Hook ahead of returning down under for Australasian leg of the Joy Division and New Order Substance tour. We had a great chat about the spirit of punk, what it takes to write a book and why shows like the X-factor are so unhealthy…
Long established as one of New Zealand’s finest acts, South Pacific reggae-soul legends, The Black Seeds are set to tour the country in September, following the release of their long awaited 6th studio album Fabric, (out today - Friday September 8th).
Jacqueline Nalpant is a Booking Agent for the Paradigm Talent Agency, and is heading to New Zealand early next month where she'll be one of the speakers for the Going Global Music Summit (Friday 1st & Saturday 2nd September at Roundhead Studios, Auckland).
Since making her musical debut with her song Drift early last year, fast attracting a solid fan base and over 1 million plays across Spotify and Soundcloud in just a few months, Madeline North, better known by her musical moniker So Below, has once again blessed us with a moodier, masterful electro-pop banger, titled Ruin.
Since forming in 1998, the Antwerp, Belgium based trio Triggerfinger have long become a mainstay on the rock scene, building a solid reputation across Europe, the US, Canada and beyond, as one of the hardest-driving and sharpest dressing bands around.
Popular metalcore group Northlane are on their way to New Zealand. The Sydney band are touring North America taking in countries like Chile and Mexico as they head our way down-under next month to play Wellington’s San Fran then Auckland at the iconic Kings Arms.
Returning to New Zealand for the first time in three years, Australian metalcore band In Hearts Wake are on their way to our shores next month for a quick run of shows supporting their label cohorts Northlane.
Courtney Marie Andrews has landed in New Zealand, and set to play two concerts this week with Joe Pug - tonight at San Fran in Wellington (Wed July 19) and tomorrow night at The Tuning Fork in Auckland (Thu July 20).
Auckland two-piece Skinny Hobos, Alex Elvis and Texas Holdom, are heading on a 5 date New Zealand tour with headliners Decades, Bakers Eddy and Dead Favours. Kicking off tonight in Hamilton (July 14), the tour will also take them to Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch and finishes up in Dunedin.
Have you ever considered sharing your most personal experiences with the entire world? Well come this Friday 14th July, that’s what Emma Cameron, the rocking front-woman of kiwi band Decades is about to do, when they release their long-awaited full length debut album, The Truth And Other People, so we sat down with the cheerful front woman to discover just what truth this album reveals..
Whilst Sonny Landreth is a well known slide-guitar master, zydeco enthusiast and phenomenal blues legend, what you may not know about him, is that he is one of the nicest gentlemen in the entire universe.
He was always the boy next door type energy, that type of person you just always wanted to be around. From day one, Shay Taylor has always been one to break the mold and live life in such a vibrant and contagious manner, that no matter who he spoke to, they walked away feeling great!
Anthonie Tonnon is taking his new Extended Player and single to Australia, and to New Zealand towns that missed the first run of dates, or sold out too quickly. He’ll also be appearing at three summer festivals this February.
After a stand of three Auckland concerts that sold out in minutes in January, Connan Mockasin is hitting the road across Aotearoa for the first time in eight years this summer for a select run of headline shows.