Concert Review: In The Shallows at San Fran, Wellington, 8 April 2021

Wellington duo In The Shallows (Danni Parsons and Lance Shepherd) wound up their nationwide album release tour with an intimate and varied evening at Wellington’s San Fran.

While the tour has seen them perform largely as a duo, for this gig they had a full four-piece band behind them for the first and last sections of the 18-song show (including Andy Bain from Fur Patrol, and Nick Brown from Vorn and Eb & Sparrow). They opted to set up a smaller stage in front of the main stage, which made for a more intimate club-like atmosphere for the small but appreciative audience.

After an acoustic support set from Tommy (of Tommy and the Fallen Horses), In The Shallows opened their show with Who Were You Before?, a mid-paced country-ish number that had a nice swing feel to it. This was followed by their single, the rockier Take It Easy, before moving down a gear with the slower Closed Door, showcasing the duo’s superb vocal harmonies. Never Enough upped the tempo again and was one of the stand-outs of the night. They were joined by violinist Shona for Lies, another highlight and a great tune with some nice changes in it.

In The Shallows
Photo by Bob Zuur

The band left the stage next, leaving Parsons and Shepherd to perform as a duo. One of the songs, Drowning, was prefaced by an amusing story of performing this song on one of the inter-island ferries during five-metre swells, which must have been quite an experience for both band and audience!

Shona was back on violin for another couple of numbers, When I’m With You, on which Shepherd shared the lead vocal, and Don’t Be Afraid, a plaintive tune with the voice and violin meshing together beautifully.

The band were back for the final section of the night, starting with a new song, only a few weeks old, called Let’s Not Start A War and a bit of a rocker, with a solid, chugging beat – one of the strongest songs of the night, in fact. The next two numbers, Stonewall and There You Are, had more of a downtempo feel, then came the reggae-ish Let It Go.

The violin was back on Walking Away, which had a swing feel and a very full sound, and this was followed by the band’s second single Hold On, partly sung in Te Reo. A countryish rocker, Really Something, followed, and the show was completed by the folky Don’t Go Messin’ Around and another reggae-like number, I Can’t Reach You, which had a great tune and was a perfect number to finish with, coming to a very abrupt end.

A good-vibe night then, just a pity there weren’t more people there to appreciate it.

David Maclennan