By Poppy Tohill
Artist: Anika Moa
Date / Venue: Thursday May 28th, The Powerstation, Auckland
All of the promotion leading up to this show did clearly state it would be intimate, but as I wandered into Auckland's Powerstation on Thursday night, it was like a venue I had never seen before. With the main stage being concealed by curtains and a newer platform situated in front, couches were scattered around the remainder of the room creating what felt and looked more like an over-sized intimate lounge room, than anything else.
This intimate and relaxed atmosphere continued for the entirety of the night as Tali kicked things off perfectly with a short and sweet set consisting of songs from her most recent album, ‘Wolves.'
Next to take the stage, introducing themselves and thanking the audience by jokingly stating, "We're Anika Moa, thanks for coming guys!" She's So Rad, performing songs from their most recently released record, ‘Tango,' were beyond magnificent.
The enthusiastic crowd applauded Anika Moa as she took to the stage for her first show in support of her latest album, ‘Queen At The Table.' Followed by her brand-spanking new band which includes multi-talented instrumentalist Jol Mulholland who plays everything from bass guitar to keyboards and drummer Alistair Deverick, they performed the entire new album, throwing in a few golden oldie favourites for good measure.
Now, if you've ever seen Anika Moa perform live before, you will know that you always get more than you initially bargained for, which is why we all love her so much. It's like a two for one deal. You go to hear her perform her exceptional array of tunes and you're also lucky enough to get one of the best comedy acts in between. I mean, it's no secret that Moa knows how to please a crowd, not only with her beautiful music, but also her quick-witted humour which again she perfected at this intimate show, dishing out dirt to her band mates, friends in the audience and of course her own self, leaving the entire audience in fits of laughter.
Despite this fact, it was still the music that ran true as the overall monumental highlight of the night however. From her opening track ‘If You See Her,' to one of my personal favourites ‘Our Love Will Die' and‘Closer,' Moa took the time to explain the love, heartbreak, significance and meaning of each song before performing it, adding to the intimate connection that remained between Moa and the audience.
Prior to beginning her set, Anika announced this is her and the new band's first ever show together, which followed by applause she responded saying, "don't clap yet because we may be bad, you don't know yet." Also informing the crowd that she doesn't normally play electric guitar, something, however, she did do much of throughout her set, showcasing her new sound which places a greater influence on electronics than the majority of her music has in the past, Moa did an impeccable job on the electric guitar, mastering the odd instrumental on her own throughout songs such as ‘The Only Thing That Matters.'
When announcing ‘Running,' the first single off the record, the majority of the audience leapt to their feet in excitement, considerably filling the dance floor space at the front. Following with ‘Fly,' "My personal favourite song from the album," Anika announced, the dance floor filled up even more, with a few fans taking to the tambourines Moa had passed out before performing the song.
Now it was time for the band to take a break and Anika to pull out some old favourites from her third album‘In Swings The Tide.' Putting aside the electric guitar for a moment, she went acoustic for ‘Dreams In My Head,' a song, that Anika, ever so earnestly admit, "made me a lot of money."
Followed by an enchanting performance of ‘My Old Man,' another from her ‘In Swings The Tide,' record, Moa finished off her acoustic set, sharing with the audience, "I wish I wrote this song, but I didn't," as she went on to perform the most stunning version of Kate Bush's ‘Running Up That Hill,' I have ever heard. With the words on a piece of paper in front of her, Anika jokingly added, "this is the first time I've ever performed this," laughing with what was probably relief as she concluded the beautiful tune with no apparently obvious mistakes whatsoever.
Reaching the end of her set with an energetic performance of the electronically-fused ‘Jealous,' which saw everyone rush to the dance floor one last time. Alistair let rip on the drums bringing things to an end with an epic solo, which then saw Anika give Jol a chance to show off more of his
musical talents, extending the instrumental to allow him to shine with an equally as impressive solo.
Announcing, "We probably won't do an encore unless you give me a standing ovation for ten minutes," the audience obliged, clapping, screaming and yelling, in request for an encore before Anika, ever so graciously accepted the request and treated the audience to just one more tune, ‘These Lonely Tears I Cry,' "A Song I unfortunately wrote with Jol Mulholland" she laughed, while introducing the song, as She's So Rad's Jeremy Toy took to the stage to join in and play bass guitar on the track.
Showing off her musical talents one last time, both instrumentally and vocally throughout the song, it proved very obvious that playing music on stage, in front of an audience is what Anika loves most. With ‘Queen At The Table' being Moa's sixth studio album, she's certainly as far away as
she's ever been from over-doing or slowing down on the music front, proving even more comfortable in her own shoes with her newer more electronically based sound, which although vastly different from the previous Anika Moa, many may be used to, is still nonetheless, the same
Anika Moa we will forever love listening to and enjoy seeing perform live. Anika Moa