Concert Review: Miles Calder and Being – The Wine Cellar November 18, 2020

While wild rock & roll was raging next door at Whammy, things were decidedly more mellow at The Wine Cellar last night.

Miles Calder is from Wellington while Being (Jasmine Balmer) is an Aucklander.

Up first is Being. When last we saw her (2019) she was with a band…now she’s solo with the emphasis on her voice and her songs. Tonight looks like its shaping up as another where the opening act could easily be the headliner.

Being’s 6-song, 30-minute set was a stunner featuring originals such as Fold Into The Sea and Lucy along with a well-chosen cover, Iron & Wine’s Naked As We Came.

Switching between electric and acoustic guitar, Being closed out her part of the show with Count Me In, but not before treating us to a poem.

Miles Calder and his band were bigger and a bit louder than Being. Miles was on vocals and guitar while the rest of the band consisted of Nick George (drums) and Steve Moodie (bass), along with electrifying recruits Chris Armour (guitars) and Dayle Jellyman (synths, electric piano).

The keyboard player got things started with a Doors-like intro before the sharply strummed guitars kicked in. Take Me Back To How It Was is a perfect example of the psych-folk that best describes what Miles is up to.

Holding A Grudge was next opening up the sound and the band with a solid beat and a chance to stretch out.

The small but dedicated crowd stayed with Miles and Co throughout their 80 minute set. During that time Miles proved himself to be a solid songwriter and performer. My main gripe was that there was a tad too much reverb on his vocals which made understanding the lyrics difficult at times.  A minor drawback as the vibe and the band were excellent.

Things got interesting as Miles’ buddy Finn Johansson climbed aboard for Shadow.

After a rousing Goodbye and Goodluck, Miles wrapped with a cover of John Lennon’s Jealous Guy (I would have preferred a less well-known tune).

This was my first look and listen at Mr. Calder and I’m glad I did. And let’s hope we hear more from Being too!

Marty Duda

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