Concert Review: Kate Owen – Frieda Margolis October 31, 2020

It’s been a week of thrilling musical events, Saturday night was here and it was Halloween. So, after dabbing on a bit of glitter, it was time to hit the town once more. After opening for Julia Deans as a solo act the previous night at Ponsonby Social Club,  Kate Owen and her band performed a set a Frieda’s that practically glowed (and Julia was there to support).

Kate recorded her album, Not A Proper Girl, at Ben Edwards Sitting Room Studio in Lyttleton and released it on March 13th. But as well all know now, that was probably not the best time to hit the road.

So, seven months later, Kate finally brings the tour to Auckland with band-members Moses Robbins on guitar, Kurt Preston on bass and drummer Thomas Isbister…all of whom played on the album.

I know that many music fans are bemoaning the fact that there are no international acts to enjoy here at the moment (except for the few stranded in NZ) but this show was a perfect example of what wonderful music is waiting for us in our own back yard.

I have a feeling, in a so-called “normal” world, Kate’s album and tour would have barely made a dent in anyone’s life with the usual distractions of mega-international tours stealing all the media attention.

I see now that there are many, many talented musicians, songwriters and artists making “world class” art right under our noses.

And Kate Owen is a perfect example.

Frieda’s was the perfect place to experience this beautifully- intense music…a venue with a vibe that supports the artist.

Kate’s set was basically the 12 songs from her album slightly re-arranged and in some cases re-imagined. The band was tastefully subdued with guitarist Robbins breaking out every so often to make a noise.

Opening tune Lover was by turns dramatic and urgent. “Touch me, hold me…I’ll bring you peace”, Kate sang. And we listened.

The dynamics got stronger on Trigger…”pull the trigger, watch me bleed…I’m tired of breathing for you…as the guitar chimed out and the rhythm section laid down a solid beat.

Those looking for a little Halloween content were treated to Hungry Ghost , plus the haunting guitar solo during Ask The Stars. Oh, and Kate revealed that Blew Away was about “ghosting”.

“Don’t crowd me, I’m still broken” Owen sang during Better Man. But what could be more healing than making this music. Okay, maybe a glass of wine and a piece of chocolate cake.

The set closed with a re-charged version of Red Rose, a tune Delaney Davidson had a hand in writing and which is a ballad on the album, but live more “drummy” as Kate explains. It was actually downright explosive as the band shook off the dust of 7 months of isolation and set everyone home feely warm and fuzzy.

For myself, I was off to catch the last bit of Punk-O-Ween.

There’s so much happening these days I can hardly contain myself. I know these are supposed to be the end times with what’s going on around the world, but I can help but feel absolutely chuffed to be here right now able to enjoy such wonderful music with such lovely people. Please remember how lucky we are to be in a place where we can enjoy live music…most others on this planet can’t.

Marty Duda

Click on any image to view a full size photo gallery by Amanda Billing:

Kate Owen setlist:

  1. Lover
  2. Trigger
  3. Dangerous Drums
  4. Hungry Ghost
  5. Ask The Stars
  6. Heathen’s Prayer
  7. Blew Away
  8. Better Man
  9. Lullaby
  10. Clean
  11. The Void
  12. Red Rose