Fantastic night with such a great turn out. I think there must’ve been about 80 to 100 people. All having a fun time generating a beautiful atmosphere. That, combined with the music, created a kind of magic in the evening air down at the incubator.
The venue was set up differently again. With cool multi-coloured ambient lighting, and the couches set up in two rows, with room to stand and dance in the middle. The stage set up on two wooden crates at the very back of the gallery space. Last music event I went to here was Make Like a Tree, where they had the stage area, facing the left-side couch area. I found this set up much more ideal, for the music, the dancing and the whole vibe of the acoustic showdown.
The music was consistently entertaining from start to finish. The opening act was Air’s & Disgrace’s, who are a duo consisting of Kim Cori Hill on vocals / guitar, and Jason Curtis on lead guitar / vocals. These 2 were just the right style to kick off the night, with their brand of acoustic / folk / kiwiana flavour. Kim’s voice soothed us with her melodies and Jason executed a fine performance on guitar including an impressive acoustic guitar solo. The last time I saw these two play was at Woodcock, so it was awesome to see them with some new tunes.
Jim Jones & the Peoples Temple was next up and they picked up the energy with their style of acoustic trance / folk rock. This gig featured only 3 of them (minus the violin & bass), but they had Glen on vocals / guitar, Red on bongo’s & Cajon (percussion box), and Michael on guitar. These guys played a cool mix of old and new songs including, ‘Only an Epiphone’, ‘Charlie don’t surf’, and ‘Insane Sleepwalker’. Red’s performance on his Cajon box was fantastic and added a unique percussion sound to the mix… at times impersonating the sound of a small drum kit. I was impressed at how the sound from the bottom of the box sounded like a kick drum (with that similar kind of bass response) and the top of the box sounded like a small snare drum. In one song they were laying down an intoxicating rhythm between the guitars and percussion. It was a repetitive synchopated groove, but very cleverly played.
Liberated Squid was next up, and they brought their iconic punk rock sound onto an acoustic setting, which worked really well. Even despite the ongoing guitar issues that Michael had, he soldiered on and gave no quarter in what was a very impressive performance from all of the guys. Michael put all his power into lead vocals and kicked some serious arse. John held down the guitars and worked overtime to combine his and Michaels guitar parts on the one guitar, incidently doing a top job of it. Jason and T-dog held down a solid rhythm section and it felt like it was a normal Squid show, as they had the same verocity as an electried / plugged in gig. They played all their hits including: I don’t like it, True religion, and Filthy rotten scoundrels. The crowd loved it and, by this time, had filled the dance floor. Such a cool vibe and a thrill to see them going hard at it, even with their acoustic set up.
Because of Lack of Better Footage:
Prophet Motive, was the perfect finale for the evening, another act which I last saw at Woodcock. With powerful vocals, self aware socio-politically themed lyrics, and enough groove in the gat, to keep people dancing till the very end…demanding two Encores, which was a wicked feat. They were still grooving, when I left.
Other than the music and the cool vibe of the venue, gotta give it up for the crowd of people that came along to this gig, and the conversations that were had, all a part of the experience of the Acoustic Showdown. I actually remember having a discussion with someone, about the artistic integrity of Kanye West. haha!
Big ups to Michael Baxter, for putting together this awesome night! Looking forward to the next one, rumour has it that the squids plan to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the the dawn of Punk Rock! Stay tuned homies…
Co Written by Kingsley Smith:
Kingsley Smith is a veteran musician who cut his teeth in the Hamilton music scene 25 years ago. He has been in dozens of original and cover bands. Has opened for Tania Donnelly, Anika Moa, Pluto, Renee Geyer, and The Black Seeds. Has 3 solo albums and recorded keyboards for other artists including Cassidy and Max Creepy. He is a multi-instrumentalist in his home recording studio and has been working hard this past year on new material for a new studio rock project known as Audio Storm. Kingsley also produce’s and DJ’s a music radio show called the NZ Hard Rock Show featuring the latest original hard rock from all around the country. It is played on 12 FM stations around NZ and also overseas on Rock Bandom Radio.
& Dhaivat Mehta