Sea Mouse certainly lived up their hype of being a rock band powerhouse – the heavy bass and drums create a wall of sound that you can feel thumping through your entire body.
Add to this the soaring, catchy, riffs laid down by Seamus Johnson along with some killer vocals and you have a sound which should have had everyone up on their feet and even though everyone stays in the back half of San Fran for the first half of the set and the band must feel like they are playing to an empty room, it doesn’t seem to bother them at all. Seamus plays with a passion and energy you don’t often see – this is someone who just loves to play. There is a heavy White Stripes influence in the music – but a fuller, heavier, rocked up sound. I hope I get to see them play to a better crowd at some point.
By the time Nation start there is a respectable sized crowd present for a Thursday night, and immediately at least a third of them are on the feet. Given that Nation has been in Wellington for less than a year they clearly have gathered a respectable sized fan base. It quickly becomes apparent why – even though they are described as a Soul Pop band their sound crosses multiple genres, creating something unique and appealing to a wide range of people. The first two songs, The Wild West and Empire, are a fantastic combination of rock and funk – some funk to get people moving and enough rock to keep me interested. Whereas others like Voodoo have a more Jamiroquai type vibe to them. Their fantastic, slightly rocked up, cover of Kora’s Carolina gets everyone in the bar up to the dance floor. Surprisingly when they follow it up with a slow song, Trouble, no one sits down.
What is striking about this band is not just their sound – there is something that is very aesthetically pleasing in the way they play. A perfect balance is struck between the way Nesh Parmar (bass) and Nag Reid (guitar) hold their positions and groove, slightly behind and on either side of Miharo Gregory, who manages to play the keyboard and sing whilst throwing his (amazing) hair around like a lead guitarist. They are so comfortable, professional, and engaging on stage that if they hadn’t mentioned it I would never have noticed the technical issues they were having.
Don’t make the mistake of thinking this is just another NZ soul/funk/pop band – these guys have a unique and diverse sound. And a shit ton of talent too. Miharo has a beautiful voice and an impressive range – if you don’t believe me have a listen to their song Air.