Biig Piig – Auckland Town Hall: July 25, 2022

Biig Piig is itinerant gypsy wanderer Jessica Smyth, delivering a maiden performance of Indie pop mixed with liberal strokes of jazz and neo-soul in wintry Auckland tonight.

She was born in Ireland, moved to Spain with her family aged four, and became domiciled in West London where she resides currently. That’s the Gypsy. She may be closer to Spanish as a first language, which informs some of her songwriting.

The concert chamber is close to full, and Smyth is a little overwhelmed to see a warm appreciative audience, at the far ends of the planet for pretty much everyone from the northern hemisphere. You get off the plane after a few days, you get two new tattoos, which she is showing off on her arms. She explains how she finds it liberating to be able to work out emotional trauma on stage.

(I saw) Roses and Gold (when I looked at you). There is a drummer and a multi-instrumentalist who switches between guitar, bass and saxophone. It’s a louche groove beat they lay down, and the sax gives it a smoky jazz café overtone. She sings in a low understated pop rap, running smoothly into Spanish.

Talking to us between songs, she almost sounds Kiwi before you pick up the faintest of a London accent. Maybe she is chameleon of whatever place her music takes her.

With the second song Don’t Turn Around, the players establish a rhythmic groove that governs the night. Neo-soul and jazz accents. A seductive dance rather than frenetic. The light pop rap vocals blend in to the mix.

Liahr is addressing a liar. A minimal drone riff from the guitar captures the attention and starts the song. The sound is skeletal, so consequently there is plenty of space for the music to breathe.

Vete is a fuck off song addressed to pretty boy. But she presents it with a sensuous snake dance and the saxophone emphasises the cool nature of the kiss-off. Leave your keys next to the door/ ‘Cause you ain’t coming back.

Sunny. The drums get funky to drive the sensual summer groove along. I need the sunshine on me. Back home there’s a heat wave, but her Irish cream complexion has not seen any recently. This song stands in its place.

There are times when she lets the groove lead her into more a frenetic space and she can whip her body with cathartic abandon.

American Beauty. She lets it go in dance, underpinned by a great drum tattoo.

Switch is driven by bass line coming out of New Order, or even Joy Divisions Disorder. I had a dream/ Then your love took it from me/ Run down the rabbit hole. The rhythm is infectious and the singer is whipping it into an even higher state with her dancing.

Biig Piig brings it back for an encore, as she didn’t have another one prepared. The crowd love it and the floor does vibrate to the rhythm. Estupenda!

Rev Orange Peel

Click on any image to view a photo gallery by Leonie Moreland:

Click here to watch the 13th Floor MusicTalk interview with Biig Piig