By Lisa Diedricks
Date / Venue: Wednesday May 20th, The Tuning Fork, Auckland
Mick Harvey, Australia's most cherished alternative rock musician, founding member of ‘The Boys Next Door', ‘The Birthday Party' and ‘The Bad Seeds', and right hand man to music icon Nick Cave and PJ Harvey, has once again made his way onto New Zealand soil with a 4 part tour around Auckland, Christchurch, Wellington and Dunedin. Playing at the Tuning Fork last night, gracing us with his transcendent voice, Harvey, brings with him ‘The Intoxicated Men', who ironically enough, enjoyed some red wine and a few beersies on stage while entertaining the crowd.
Mick, who holds credentials from ARIA Awards for Best Album in 1994, and Best Original Soundtrack (To have and to hold) in 1997 and quite recently, UK's PJ Harvey's album, ‘Let England Shake' (who Harvey was an opening act for on her last tour), for Best Album in which Harvey co-produced, brought his instrumental genius to the stage. Joining him on stage are his leading band as mentioned before, who dominate the stage with their riffs, their wails and their complete and undeniable energy. The atmosphere in the crowd was amazing, as the room filled closer to Mick's performance, I stood in front, and all I could hear were the cheering and praising of the fans.
Fans, that ranged from a young kid, to a senior fella on a date with his wife, to the awesome guy in dreads swinging them back and forth as he rocked out to some sing -a -long cover classics.
The venue, Tuning Fork, is known for its spectacular dining, but has now grown in their own right to serve as their own venue, with lights and stage to mirror what I would call a mini ‘Battle of the Bands' feel, it brings a sense of clear acoustics and vocals, that helped extremely well with the enjoyment and appraisal of the show.
Harvey, conducts the performance in a very relaxed manner, with his trusted guitar, and even interacts and jokes with crowd as well as his band members. Toward the end of the show Harvey plays a song in which he forgets the lyrics, but comments that the audience doesn't even notice, which is true. The audience is so engrossed throughout the entire show, and fall absolutely silent to hear those guitar solos and intimate lyrics that you can indescribably feel the presence of true affection and respect in the room.
Harvey, who is also currently signed to Mute Records, channelled many of his solo songs recorded on his recent album ‘Four (Acts of Love)' which Harvey brings his creative and sensitive side in and writing more than half the songs on the album himself, ‘Summer Time in New York', ‘I Wish I Were That Stone' were big hits at the show. The performance also saw Harvey covering eclectic songs ‘The Story of Love‘ by ‘The Saints'.
There is no denying that Mick Harvey has a great following here in New Zealand, and with his growls and croons and his stripped back renditions of classic songs as well as the open and raw insight into his own songs, it's easy to see why.
Some people go to a concert to get drunk, jump around, sing their heart out, but sometimes, all you need is a simple band, a talented singer and a room of open ears to stir up something great in you. As I looked around at the many diverse faces in the crowd last night I remember thinking, what brought them here tonight? Was it the knowledge that they knew he was an award winning singer? Was it maybe a few free tickets? Was it merely and most likely the love and enjoyment of a great artist? Whatever the case may be, the crowd was definitely feeling the artistic and impromptu vibe that Harvey and The Intoxicated Men brought to their night.
That was my first time seeing Mick live, and to be quite honest I didn't know what to expect, Mick himself was a very confident and forward individual on stage, and that poured out during intervals in which he would speak to the audience or to the sound engineer, but truthfully, it was a lot better than I expected. With great musicians and an energetic crowd, it was the perfect place to enjoy a night out and listen to some good music.
If you find yourself in either Wellington, Dunedin, or Christchurch the next couple of days, and are into alternative punk rock, I recommend going to the show and enjoy the sounds of Mick Harvey and The Intoxicated Men.