Blam Blam Blam – Tuning Fork: March 9, 2023

Blam Blam Blam

Blam Blam Blam’s performance with The Hoodoo Gurus on the previous Tuesday night, had set up some very expectations for tonight’s show. Given that on Tuesday, they were restricted to a shorter set of nine songs, it was expected they would be not just playing the hits for tonight’s headline show.

Bub

With a hard job in front of them, Tamaki Makaurau all-stars ensemble BUB started the evening off. BUB is Priya Sami (The Sami Sisters, Trip Pony, Dateline) – vocals and guitar; BubDaniel Barrett (Racing, Sherpa) – Bass; Alex Freer (A.C. Freazy, Tiny Ruins, Ladyhawke) – backing vocals and synthesizers; and Jana Te Nahu-Owen (Nothing but Hole) – drums.

They have release three songs to date; ‘Dreams’, ‘Jeez Louise’ and King of Wand, with Jeez Louise being a popular tune on 95bFM. Priya certainly developed a repertoire with audience, taking them in hand as the group went through a set characterised by The Cars (as in Ric Ocasik) style keyboards and a powerful singing voice from Priya.

Not all the songs were on point, but the band oozed an American New wave sound, embodied by bands like The Cars, Romeo Void and perhaps even Hall & Oates, that promises much.

Blam Blam Blam

The origins of the Blams involve Tim Mahon (bass, vocals) and Mark Bell (guitar, vocals) they were members of the infamous agit-pop group The Plague. When mentor and artistic genius Richard Von Sturmer left, Don McGlashan, a multi-instrumentalist (euphonium, percussion) and vocalist was asked to join, but just as he did two other Plague’ers jumped ship, and out of the ashes a new band was born.

BlamBlam Blam Blam reunions aren’t new, there was the 2019 reunion and sporadic shows before that, what increased appeal was seeing them tonight at a great venue, with a reputation for excellent sound.

Like three (rather than two) gentlemen from Verona, the band, engage in comfortable, familiar and friendly banter, not just amongst themselves, but also with the audience, an enthusiastic audience that are taken on a journey of eighteen songs; hits, favourites and even an unknown quantity.

The three gentlemen, 40 years on, are now musical aficionados, and their performance on stage is an exhibition in near perfection performance and enhancement of the original songs. All three affect in a symbiotic unison, on their instruments, cueing each other and throwing in the odd play full challenge.

Starting the set with Dr Who, which sounds far better than the mediocre recording on the b-side of the 7” single Don’t Fight It Marsha, It’s Bigger Than Both of Us, the set playfully tosses between songs clearly having a post-Plague flavour like Businessmen, to the quirky post-punk favourites such as Got to Be Guilty and then tangents to almost alt rock songs like Time Enough.

In an almost two hour set, Blam Blam Blam certainly have many spectacular highs. The introduction to Maids To Order sees Don McGlashan hat tipping Richard Von Sturmer who is their audience, describing him as their mentor.

The rendition of Respect, the only song to see Tim Mahon take the vocal reins, is a wonderous sight, as Mark Bell, takes over on bass, while Don McGlashan brings his infamous euphonium to the front and acclaims they had made the very cool! Don’t Fight It Marsha, It’s Bigger Than Both of Us and There is No Depression in New Zealand are crowd pleasers and involve much singing a long, as is to be expected.

In encore, Mark Bell slings on a beautiful electric 12string, he’s had teasing on his rack all night, as Don McGlashan introduces a song that they played at a benefit concert for their bankrupt record company (Propeller) which was never recorded Beach on 42nd which swirl in an almost pysch aura. Rumour has it that it might appear on the unreleased second Blam Blam Blam album, that a bankrupt Propeller didn’t release? The night ends with Call for Help as many in the crowd were anticipating, and calling out for. What a reunion show!

Simon Coffey

Click on any image to view a photo gallery:

Blam Blam Blam Setlist
Dr Who
Battleship Grey

Got to Be Guilty

Maids To Order
Businessmen
Like My Job
Learning To like Ourselves

Luxury Length
Blue Belmonts

Respect

Last Post

The Bystanders

Time Enough

Don’t Fight It Marsha, It’s Bigger Than Both of Us

Talkback King

There is No Depression in New Zealand

Encore
Beach on 42nd Street
Call for Help

Simon Coffey