Meow is almost at capacity tonight, it’s a young crowd and there are plenty of Dunedin students who are home for the holidays. Both bands have a decent following down South and it quickly becomes clear why they have such appeal. They combine catchy songs with an energetic stage show, alongside some tight playing that belies the short amount of time these bands have been together.
Shambles is a lively 5-piece. Their sound varies from new-wave pop, to jazz, funk and rock. On stage they all have plenty of energy, the lead singer (Max Gunn) manages to jump around and engage with crowd even though he is behind a synth and the bass player makes good use of the space he has behind the others, constantly moving back and forward across the stage. Their set builds from having a slightly laid back vibe to one of crazy energy to the point that by the last couple of songs the entire bar is jumping along with them. There were a couple of songs that I especially enjoyed, which had a rockier funk/pop sound combined with some excellent vocal harmonies. Included in this list was Far From The Tree which is one of those songs that is much, much better live.
There is crossover of two band members between Shambles and GROMz – but although Max Gunn may still be front and center on bass and keys, the smooth vocals of Semisi Maiai are the highlight of this band. By this stage you can barely move the bar is so packed. There is a subtle reggae vibe to some of their initial songs, but again the set picks up and we get some fantastic rocky numbers such as Glued to her Iphone and Running Around that have an almost Zeppelin vibe to some of the guitar riffs, these along with their (as yet unnamed) new song has the crowd absolutely heaving. If you haven’t yet heard their single Mixed Up & Confused go and check it out – it is hauntingly beautiful (and has a great video too).
It is always great to see new music, and these bands obviously have a lot of appeal to people in their 20’s. Overall I really enjoyed the evening (even though the crowd was full of millennials), and am continuing to listen to music from both bands. They have one more show left on the tour, in Auckland on January 25, would recommend getting along to it.