Anika Moa – The Powerstation

03Sure, Anika Moa has performed at The Powerstation before, but on this, her first show in support of her latest album, Queen At The Table, we heard an Anika we never heard before in a Powerstation that looked vastly different that it has in the past.

I arrived at the venerable venue just as She’s So Rad were finishing their set. Instead of playing on the main stage, the band was set up on a newly-fashioned stage set up on the floor in front of the regular stage, with white curtains hung behind. The remaining floor area was peppered with couches to make for an intimate, living room vibe. The unique layout somehow made the Powerstation feel smaller and look larger.

Anika and her band took to the stage shortly after 10pm.

“Hi everyone, I’m Anika Moa and this is my new band and this is the first gig we’ve ever done together as a new band…we might be real bad”.

Sufficiently warned, Anika and her band mates promptly laid any fears to rest with the first song of the night, If You See Her.

Her band is drummer Alistair Deverick and Jol Molholland who plays various keyboards and bass guitar, or, as Anika put it, “playing all of those things, I don’t really know what they are”.

Anyone who has seen Anika Moa perform knows she possess one of the sharpest and quickest wits around and no one was spared from her pointed comments, not band mates, not audience members and certainly not herself.

But there was a serious side to the evening, namely the music itself. As Anika said from the stage, “I want to talk about these songs, about love and heartbreak.”

Finding the right balance between the sombre nature of tunes like Our Love Will Die and These Lonely Tears I Cry and her witty stage banter is a tricky proposition and Anika knows how to walk that fine line without minimizing the power of her songs or letting them become too much of a downer.

Musically, Anika and co-producer Jol Mulholland have fashioned a new sound for her, placing emphasis on electronics instead of guitars. Although, having said that, Anika’s electric guitar playing tonight was quite impressive during Our Love Will Die.

The band took ma break while Anika played a short acoustic solo set which featured a couple of older tunes…Dreams In My Head and My Old Man…and a truly stunning version of Kate Bush’s Running Up That Hill, which was the first time she performed the tune.

Along the way she told a humorous and poignant story about meeting her father for the first time at age 13 and warned Jol not to drink too much while he was watching from the audience.

The emphasis was on new music, every song from Queen At The Table was played finishing with a groove-infused version of Jealous that had everyone up and dancing.

She’s So Rad’s Jeremy Toy joined in on bass for the encore, These Lonely Tears I Cry For You and Anika again showed off her chops on electric guitar.

Anika Moa has been making music for well over a decade and she seems to be at a place where she feels comfortable in doing what inspires her rather than trying to appease her fans. The result is an artist who is obviously enjoying herself on stage and an audience that is treated with unexpected and special musical treats.

Marty Duda

Click here to view a gallery of concert photos by David Watson:

Anika Moa set list:

  1. If You See Her
  2. Our Love Will Die
  3. Closer
  4. Running
  5. Fly
  6. Dreams In My Head
  7. My Old Man
  8. Running Up That Hill
  9. The Only Thing That Matters
  10. Lover
  11. Queen At The Table
  12. Jealous
  13. These Lonely Tears I Cry