5 September 2019 / Haumoana Hall / By Ian Thomas
Jen Cloher accompanies herself on acoustic guitar for a short opening set. What a treat! Music, lyrics, voice, and storytelling prowess to savour. Tonight isn’t the first time she’s held a room full of people captive. Look her up!
The sound and energy of Tiny Ruins radiate to a full house. Tiny Ruins is now more band than accompanied soloist. Holly Fullbrook’s long-time project has matured into an impressive line-up.
The sound is an evolution too. Less melancholic? Less delicate than the last time at the hall but just as complex. It’s fatter, fuller, intricately orchestrated, anchored by Holly’s euphonious voice. Expertly engineered and delivered via some expensive equipment, the powerful waves of music fill the room with much more than many of us expected. The stage is dressed. There are orbs in various sizes and pastel shades. This is a show, rather than just another gig in an old country hall. The band is dressed for it, and they look very cool.
Musical genres seem so impossibly fluid and temporary as to be more like moods. This original work crosses many boundaries and blends evocative sounds. I can hear lilting cadences of ‘70s folk, intricate psychedelic pop stylings, gentle Kiwi rock. The fabric of woven influences is a completely new and original artwork. The common thread is beauty. Ataahua shines through.
The band – Tom Healy, electric guitar, Cass Basil, bass and backing vocals, Joe McCallum on drums (Alex Freer usually holds the sticks), and Hollie Fullbrook, song-writing heart, on acoustic guitar and lead vocals – are clearly delighted and energised to be together playing this sublime album. They’re a who’s who collection in this musical space. All prolific leaders in their fields.
Tonight is the first night of the Olympic Girls release tour. The opening-night excitement is within everyone, on and in front of the stage. Of course more! Encore! Then lights up, album sales, appreciative chit-chat. A beautiful night of world-class music.
Hey, listen to Olympic Girls and revel in the splendour of homegrown musical talent. I wasn’t a Tiny Ruins fan when I arrived but I was when I left and I’ve played the album half a dozen times since.
“Ma te rongo, ka mohio, Ma te mohio, ka marama,
Ma te marama, ka matau, Ma te matau, ka ora.”
Through listening comes awareness / Through awareness comes understanding / Through understanding comes knowledge / Through knowledge comes life and wellbeing.
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