Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Review of The Explorers Club: Antarctica in the Wellington Fringe

Well we've just played 16 shows over 15 days at some of our favourite venues in the country, 2000 people in the Christchurch Botanic Gardens, dogs dressed as other dogs in Okarito, late-night throwdowns in Milford Sound, transtasman rowers in Oamaru, Mt Cook Summiters in Te Anau, Pirate Queens in Waitati, and a sold-out show at the beautiful Moorings ballroom in the New Zealand Fringe Festival.  Here's a review of that Wellington show from Simon Sweetman in the Dominion Post.  Thanks Simon!

"Bond Street Bridge Presents Explorers Club: Antarctica

The Moorings, February 16

Auckland-based Sam Prebble has, through his Bond Street Bridge moniker, released two excellent albums and now this stunning song-cycle taking in, and drawn from, the diaries and letters left behind by Captain Robert Falcon Scott on his failed Antarctic exploration and Ernest Shackleton's Endurance expedition.

Prebble's latest version of Bond Street Bridge is a three-piece, upright electric bass, percussion and backing vocals.

All provide worthy assists but it is Prebble, now filling a role as guitar-slinging, violin-flailing hipster/jive-talking raconteur, who creates the journey for the audience.

There is a devotion to the performance that is remarkable - we're simply lucky to have someone like him; creating songs that mean something, that share interesting history, that interpret lost artefacts - and showing some sense of exploration himself, Prebble deftly demonstrates that he knows his way, time and again, to the heart of a jangly-pop song, to the soul and core of folk music.

Animations accompany the story-songs, spoken-word introductions were delivered with a near-shamanistic fervour, and it is not always the case - hardly ever in fact - that you leave a performance feeling privileged to have been there.

It felt like most of the audience had some version of this; such was the connection, to the stories, to the presentation and - of course - to the music.

The exploring theme was pursued also by local alt-folk duo Rosy Tin Teacaddy. Songs from the band's second full-length album, the somewhat underrated All Mountains Are Men, celebrated (and commiserated) experiences at Tarawera, and there was a new shimmer to the sound, too.

Where previously Rosy Tin had been so very strummy and chummy on stage now the banter is still there but loops and beats and soundscapes add an extra tension to the songs. Andy Hummel and Holly Ewens wind their voices around one another and Hummel's guitar now softly frames each song.

A perfect evening of music."

Wow.  Shamanic I can believe, but perfect? Only Led Zeppelin and mathematics are perfect.