Wednesday, 18 December 2013

Wilder Wellington ~ A December Concert

These days I find myself lucky enough to be graced with a multitude of clever friends. And clever friends tend to have other clever friends, in an X begat Y, who begat Z, kind of fashion. The circle just grows and grows, until you end up surrounded by creative awesomeness. Add to that a husband who owns a record store, and all of a sudden these people who I used to listen to on the radio and read about in magazines, are now people who I count as friends. It still baffles me at times that half of them even know my name, let alone want to talk to me and exchange parenting stories over coffee.

I feel so blessed by the turn of events that has put me in this privileged position. I can honestly say that my life is pretty good right now.

It is via these wonderful friends that I heard about an intimate end of year performance by some lovely Wellington musicians last Sunday evening. After parenting solo for most of the week it was an absolute delight to leave Kowhai at home with her Papa and head out for some child free awesomeness.

The venue itself was a studio space in the back streets of Mount Cook. An unassuming industrial (yet pleasingly azure) frontage hid a warm, welcoming space. We sat on a rag tag collection of chairs, homemade pillows and quilts, surrounded by abstract wooden art, fairy lights, vintage landscapes, and a musty, earthy, wooden smell. Oh, that aroma! I'm going to go all weird on you now, because the smell, one of sawdust and dampness, was such a part of the space, in the best possible way.

Holly Beals & Adam Ladley were first up to the mics. They sang beautifully, harmonising and looping vocals. Their banter was endearing in its awkwardness. They did a Neil Young cover and forgot the lyrics to songs and were generally just all around lovable.

Amiria Grenell followed Holly and Adam. Amiria is a new friend of mine who I have enjoyed getting to know over the course of the year. She is talented and hard working and soulful and hard case. She plays regularly at Plum and The Library, but I never seem to make it to her regular gigs. When she gave me the flyer for this performance I knew I had to make the effort to get there. I'm so glad I did. Thanks for the invite Amiria! Amiria's performance was so confident and polished. She is a musical story teller, and I cannot recommend her highly enough.

I almost left after Amiria's performance, but luckily on my way out I ran into a friend who was just arriving, so I decided to turn around and head back in. I say luckily because otherwise I would have missed out on hearing Eva Prowse, and that would have been a loss. I don't know how I'd never heard Eva before, but she has a new fan in me now. Anyone who gets literary is always going to win me over, and Eva sang two songs about books. The first, Sophocles' Sarcophagus, told the story of the Tintin tale Cigars of the Pharaoh. The second was a song about how The Outsiders' Ponyboy would deal with life as a Gen-Y facebooker. Genius! Absolute genius! Okay, so I am an unashamed HUGE FAN of The Outsiders, but I'm pretty sure this song stands up on its own merits, whether you've read the book or not.

Joe Blossom finished the evening off beautifully. I was thrilled to see him sit at the piano that had up to that point been ignored, before he switched to guitar. He was easily convinced to add a track or two to his set. It seemed nobody was really ready for the magic to end.

I'd love for these Sunday night gigs to become a regular happening. They had a casual, welcoming mood that can be hard to achieve in a more formal setting. There was an intimacy to the shared experience that encouraged the audience to chat amongst themselves, which in turn can lead to more awesome begatting of clever friends. Win Win!

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