By Leah Victoria
Artist: JD McPherson
Date / Venue: Saturday February 27th, 2016 - The Tuning Fork, Auckland
It’s a humid and steamy summer night in Auckland as the crowd pile into The Tuning Fork wet from the rain. Queues at the bar forming for much needed pre show refreshments. I must admit, I hadn’t had chance to research anything about tonight’s band and really had no idea what to expect.
Country music played softly in the background as the tables filled and people gathered around the small but perfectly formed stage.
Multi talented Will Wood opened the evening with his cheerful banter and comical folk style music, which told us story’s about New Zealand’s transport systems or lack thereof, and four story whore houses he stumbled across while on tour. By the time he had finished his set, the crowd were dry, happy and ready for JD McPherson.
And then it happened! Ex school teacher JD McPherson and his band stepped out onto the stage and in the blink of an eye, The Tuning Fork was a 1950’s dance hall! The ladies dressed in Rockabilly style dresses with 50’s fashion hair and makeup gathered to dance at the foot of the stage were the perfect touch to really make you feel like you had just stepped back in time.
McPherson was labelled as a “rock n roll revivalist” after the release of his debut Signs & Signifiers which could end up confining an artist to a very particular genre. But tonight with his live performance of Let The Good Times Roll, he proved he is not about to be put in a metaphorical box and gave real new life to an almost forgotten era of music.
It’s been a long time since I have experienced a concert where every single band member is so animated and full of energy.
Jimmy Sutton was amazing to watch on his beautiful and elegant Doghouse Bass. Jason Smay brought the backbone of the sound on drums. Ray Jacildo smashed it on keys and Doug Corcoran played an admirable double duty with Sax and Guitar. All the while the guys bounced about on stage while maintaining perfect timing and producing beautiful backing melodies.
The first half of the set was nonstop upbeat tracks such as Bossy, Crazy Horse and I Can’t Complain, and the whole venue were up on their feet singing clapping and dancing.
A short dip of tempo came in perfect time for a drinks refill while we were serenaded by his soft but so powerful voice with a beautiful cover of Nick Lowe's Rome Wasn’t Built In A Day and Bridgebuilder. Then it was straight back in to the party with title track Let The Good Times Roll.
JD McPherson has without a doubt revived an old style of music while simultaneously combining it with ass shaking modern beats and unique lyrics.
His talent for commanding the stage and entertaining a crowd is undeniable, and I see big things and even bigger shows in this bands future. JD McPherson was wasted sat behind a desk marking school papers, this guy belongs on the stage.
Go buy the album, or better still see him live. You will without a doubt leave overflowing with electricity.