Concert Review: Andrew Fagan & The People – The Wine Cellar April 9, 2021

This New Zealand Pop King appears on stage with a theatrical presence. A glitter costume with a silver crown and cloth face mask. Then Andrew Fagan and the People proceed to let go and rage from the starters gun with Now You Know. Great Power Pop, inventive and hook-laden.

The mask is for dramatic effect only. No one in the boisterous room full of fans is making the gesture tonight. It takes energy to power through the set and at one stage he refers to needing some oxygen, like Jagger and Jackson.

Andrew FaganThe music is not over-complicated but it helps to have a killer band deliver it. This is Darryn Harkness guitar, Kurt Shanks bass, Joe Dekkers-Reihana guitar and John Murray drums.

Joe is also playing in the support act Cheap Sav for Dead Friends, making their debut performance tonight. They are a melodic Power Pop outfit and they race through a set with practiced precision which seems to belie their newbie tag.

Pinot Gris and Take a Look are good riff-laden suburban bedroom pop tunes echoing the mid Seventies to Eighties.

Why Am I So Sad? is a slower song about being depressed and sad in this situation. Come home to an unmade bed. But ironic and caustic at the same time, like the Members who had huge popularity in Australasia surfing in on the wave of Punk.

Slow Horse sounds like a Buffalo Springfield Folk to Pop tune. Earnest with lyrics similar to what Neil Young was coming out with at that time.

Silly Little Idiot is infectious fun and I think they are singing silly little idiot with the size nine boobs.

Last couple of songs and this is a guitar band so there are elements of Surf, Sixties US Garage Rock and what sounds like a riff borrowed from I Spy for the FBI on Emotional.

Andrew FaganVery impressive, guys and I suspect they have been playing awhile. Jack Buchanan guitar, Sam Clavis bass and Taylor Hall drums along with Dekkers-Reihana.

For Andrew Fagan this is a belated tour to promote Act Normal, the album released in February last year.

They play the title track twice tonight. It has a certain English sensibility about it and lyrically not too far from the Sleaford Mods. A stinging bee guitar tone. Scull your beer, act normal/ Take one more drag and hide the bag/ Having a real big feed/ Pumping out the faeces. I think.

You’ll Be Fine is a great hook-laden Power Pop anthem off the new album. To drive it home they immediately follow it with Mockers classic Forever Tuesday Morning. They are powerful songs in tandem and the high-spirited crowd tonight generate some steam heat to this blitzkreig bop.

Andrew FaganA fair number of Boomers are here tonight, like myself, and The Mockers are remembered as a quintessential Kiwi Power Pop band of that time. Good times, funny and always out front was Fagan. After well over twenty years, I saw him again last year when he opened the Midge Ure show at the Powerstation. The only change is that he is  a year older. Otherwise, undiminished.

On Channel Me rips into social media. Tonight, it sounds like brutal tribal R’n’B riffing that the Stooges did in their heyday.

Night Island has atmospheric keyboards and a mood shifting Doors feel as Fagan half recites this as a poem.

Scene of Fun is quite Punk and he sings the lyrics to sound like Xenophobe. Fagan still has the power to put out with a great voice from start to finish.

Messiah and the band get a bit heavy with some Metal guitar note-bending and heavy bass riffs. As on set closer We Fell Out. A funky bass leads, the guitars chime and wail throughout.

A great Power Pop show tonight and Andrew Fagan the artist is undiminished.

Rev Orange Peel


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