Late Model European celebrated the launch of their album, It’s Time, at Anthology Lounge last night, delivering a powerfully diverse set strengthened by marvelous support acts.
Anthology Lounge – the Karangahape Road basement bar-venue rapidly becoming my favourite performance space – was almost empty when I arrived last night, contrasting the tightly packed collection of instruments squeezed on stage. If there was any concern within the audience that a smaller crowd may reflect the quality of music on display, it was immediately dismantled by the extraordinary solo opening act by Jacob O’Callaghan.
Taking a seat at the pink-neon illuminated piano to the side of the stage, O’Callaghan flooded the room with his instantly captivating vocals and talent as a pianist. Displaying a level of charisma and intensity in his performance that had my mouth agape from the opening notes of Home, O’Callaghan effortlessly held this standard through Everything About Her and Birds, before mentioning to the audience that these numbers were all his own, original work.
Even before O’Callaghan performed a penultimate cover of Tiny Dancer, the single thought burning through my mind was that watching his performance is how I imagine unsuspecting crowds felt seeing Elton John for the first time. It’s rare that a performer can appear on your radar so suddenly and with such pure talent that you feel both immense gratitude for discovering them, and shame for not discovering them earlier – I would have easily been satisfied with another two hours of his performance last night.
Second support band, Show Me Where It Hurts, bridged the gap between O’Callaghan’s solo sound and the headlining live-album performance by Late Model European. Mixing a collection of groovy beats, solid drums, and influences from The Cure to Bowie, Show Me Where It Hurts playfully moved through the funky All You’ll Ever Need and slow groove of Quiver before covering The Rolling Stones’ Fool to Cry. Closing with a faster, rock-heavy rendition of The Beatles’ Old Brown Shoe and the brilliant guitar of Joni, the collection of nostalgia-heavy styles gave a taste of things to come from Late Model European.
In celebration of their album launch and vinyl pressing, Late Model European performed a live set of their album, opening with the trashy guitar of Ready to Begin and heavy distortion of It’s Time, before the immensely catchy and fast-paced Summer Rain had the majority of the crowd on their feet, dancing and grooving in front of the stage. Showing glimpses of The Ramones in the sharp-riffed Why Don’t You! and early U2 in the slower, piano-driven Another Place, lead musicians Tones Thorburn and John Nelson continued to display a wide variety of influences in their musical tone with the surf-rock guitar of Eleventh Hour and woozy, gorgeous vocals of Kiss The Sky.
Moments blurred Bowie, George Harrison and a hint of Lynyrd Skynyrd’s Tuesday’s Gone into a highly infectious, foot-tapping tune, before closing with the Elbow-meets-The Black Keys number, Eyes Wide Open. An encore of Hey Jude was welcomed nostalgic fan service, which combined with the selection of covers delivered throughout the gig as a whole shows a collection of musicians in touch with their roots and using this to amplify their own, original sound.
While it’s reductive to only compare the set to its contemporary influences, the combination of styles and musical nods created something entirely of its own – a surprisingly consistent and refreshingly groovy rock album at its core, with a little bit of something for everyone. Late Model European captured this consistency in energy and tone throughout their performance, giving a small crowd the rare opportunity to both listen to great, fresh music, and joyfully groove along without any feeling of guilty pleasure – simply pleasure at watching musicians do what they do best.
Click any image to she a gallery of the show, including openers Jacob O’Callaghan and Show Me Where It Hurts from Chris Zwaagdyk, thanks to Muzik.net.nz.
Here’s a few more the band sent over:
Late Model European Album Setlist
Ready to Begin
Why Don’t You!
Kiss the Sky
Eyes Wide Open
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