Concert Review: Keeva at Wine Cellar, August 11, 2021

Keeva is a brand-new singer-songwriter from Auckland who delivers an impressive set of melodic and upbeat Pop sounds via a piercingly powerful voice.

KeevaThis is Caoimhe Lane and the pronunciation of that Irish origin name explains why she is Keeva, the artist. The band behind her are tight and on point and betray the fact that they are certainly from Auckland University Jazz School. As is the singer herself.

Michael Gianan guitar, Ben Gailer keyboards, Mitchell Nemeth bass and Ben Frater drums.

Do I Have To? is simple melodic Pop with a nice rhythmic swing and with I so need to catch up to my body… Keeva’s vocals are out front.

Meat is sung in a Donovan style similar to the Jump R’n’B of Hey Gyp (Dig the Slowness).

Postcard, and a quiet intro on the electric guitar prefaces a Country Folk uplifting melodic workout.

Catalyst is where some vocal flash is demonstrated. From quiet, to a leap into the high and intense. The singer can cut through like a stilletto. A trained voice which I am sure is also naturally gifted.

KeevaEnchanted Smile is presented as a duo with the keyboards supporting. Nice Pop vibes, some Folk and definitely Feelgood. All these songs show good craftsmanship.

Weak gets it down to just the singer. Would you love me better if I was weak. Because there are some Jazz flourishes with the Folk, it’s time to name-drop the dreaded Joni.

Of course, I don’t really mean dreaded. Mitchell seems to have a ubiquitous influence on musicians still, not dissimilar to Dylan.

This is emphasised on Thrive. A soulful vocal on the higher register. A busy bass line and a jazzy keyboard break. There is some Soul Funk in the mix. Complex and theatrical.

It does all come together on an unexpected encore of Earth Wind and Fire’s September. Keeva does this solo with acoustic guitar and she seems to channel Joni’s style whilst making the song sound like a great Soul Jazz workout. Party on, party on!

Elisa Beth
Elisa Beth
Elisa Beth

Also from Jazz school, an Aucklander and coming in as a bright new Pop artist. Elisa Beth shares Gianan on guitar and Frater on drums from Keeva’s band. And adds Nat Hathaway on drums.   

No one can help you but yourself. She is also a strong vocalist like Keeva but she adds a late Fifties to early Sixties female R’n’B style to her sound. A girl-group tone and the ability to hit straight up into a powerhouse higher register and sustain. A thrilling sound live and in a small venue.

Rosie and the Originals, Claudine Clark and maybe even Martha Reeves from the Vandellas.

Despondent has the lyric standing at the crossroads. There you go then although the sound here is closer to nineties Brit-Pop and a female-styled La’s vocal.

Brain is slower and peaceful Pop and the ensemble sound is like the Beths. All Jazz school alumni. Something is going on there, what it is ain’t exactly clear.

Blunder refers to chess. The game and not the legendary label. They put in some Rock God guitar strutting and some high vocal power punches.
Elisa Beth
Elisa Beth

The rhythm section drops out and two guitars carry the song, Julia. Brand-new and inspired directly from the recent Julia Jacklin shows here. Starry-eyed I’m alive/ Dance my nights away.

The engine room returns to Crash, but it’s a Folk Pop number. My Mind is perfect Indie Pop. Melodic music, powerful vocals and there is some guitar note-bending and Jazz fluidity.

They race off with Never. What will make you happy? I’ll be your darling. Some Joan Jett style Power Pop, with that trademark British sensibility of hers.

Both artists share something in common with their styles. They are coming from what appears to be a fertile breeding ground for great New Zealand musicians. We will be hearing more from them.

Rev Orange Peel

NB: Manuela also played a very early set on the same bill. I missed that but won’t miss her new single launch in a few days.