Concert Review with PHOTOS: Intervals


By Mark Derricutt

Artist: Intervals

Date / Venue: Wednesday September 26th, 2018 - Whammy Bar, Auckland

Midweek shows, and those on colder wet nights are always a hit and miss affair, but last night was full on HIT. I was genuinely surprised with having a packed out Whammy Bar for Canadian instrumental guitar/prog/rock act Intervals - sporting a genre of music I would have expected to attract a smaller, but dedicated audience - always a pleasure to be surprised like this.

Up first tonight is Wellington based Plaines - I'd heard of these guys, but as yet hadn't heard them - moody, ethereal, vocally a bit iffy for my liking but tempered against the music, showing the potential a few more years will bring. I found subtle nuances in the drumming and the pattern choices/structure the musical highlight of the set for me - beyond that, the smoothness in which the band dealt with breaking a string in first song, down a guitarist they pick up and continue along whilst said string gets replaced, and the guitar sliding subtly back into the song whilst seated on the cramped Whammy floor before regrouping for the next song.

Not heavy, but solid and beefy when needed, well balanced and never overbearing. Will have to check out the recently released self-titled album (available on Bandcamp).

Next up is another Wellington outfit - Ovus - I've known of these guys for a while, but like a lot of Wellington acts I've not seen them live, but I'm digging what I'm hearing… starting off with an almost jazz vibe mixed with rock, weaving through sound scapes we leave jazz for a more progressive rock bent, bass leading the charge as the driving instrument, backed by drums with both guitarists flanking the edges of the sound scapes.

As the bass drives increasingly toward grooves, heavier thrash like moments break out only to be balanced by clean guitar tones and leads.

If I thought the Whammy Bar was already full for the opening acts, by the time Intervals hit the stage, then we somehow managed to squeeze even more people in, and sadly this meant I'd lost my coveted position right at the front with no hope of slipping back in - which is fine for listening, but when trying to capture images as well, a challenge.

Take equal measures of both opening acts and turning the dial all the way to 11 and you've got Intervals in a melodic, instrumental, fusion shred kinda way.

I've always had a love/hate relationship with instrumental music - I find it to be great coding music, the high energy and melodies keep the brain ticking whilst the lack of lyrics don't distract - but in a live setting, the lack of a driving rhythm section those lacking vocals/lyrics leave somehow leave me wanting more - the counter to that is this is what "guitar music" or "music for musicians" is often all about - I'm sitting here watching/hearing immaculately reproduced tracks performed by phenomenal musicians, but I'm stuck behind the crowd without being to really appreciate the performance, and I have this compelling feeling/desire to be doing something productive at the same time as listening - like write this review and tell you all about how you missed out on seeing some amazing, killer music.