Paige led the line-up for the Tuning’s Fork’s Thursdays I’m in Love, along with Disciple Pati and Wells*. Rev Orange Peel files this review with photos by Rachel Webb.
Thursday I’m In Love is the Tuning Fork’s monthly showcase of young and up-coming artists and tonight I join the queue of teens, and some parents, keen to see a promising new Pop star, a Soul diva and a young man weaving around those styles and surfing in on the old Smith’s wave.
We will start at the top of the evening.
Paige Tapara has been making waves at a tender age already, and comparisons to Bene are easy to see when she’s on stage. A small package but she can easily fill a big stage with her presence and manner.
She hails from Clark’s Beach in the southern reaches of the Manukau Harbour. In her short time so far as an artist, she has managed a support act slot on one of the Six60’s huge stadium tours.
I first saw her two weeks ago on the Civic Theatre stage where she held her own in the Tuawahine show, performing with some heavy-hitting female artists including Tami Neilson.
Bloom opens her set with a bright tune emphasising the melodic swing. ‘Til I bloom/ I wanna be in Paradise. A Pop song with some heavy bass rumble adding a little Funk.
A drummer and guitarist on stage.
Cold-Blooded is quite soulful. Soft and velvety vocals and some nice guitar shimmering.
Aquarian must be a new one. The music is pared back to a simple but effective rhythm-led song, the drums emphasising the on-beat. I understand she started by recording covers on YouTube. The traces of Age of Aquarius/ Let the Sunshine In is possible inspiration for this sun-drenched tune. A massive hit for the Fifth Dimension, coming from the infamous Hair musical.
Make Room. Many of her songs have spare instrumental backing allowing lots of space for the songs to breathe. Paige is not a huge belter of a vocalist. Her sound is more restrained and natural. Melodic and a certain naive quality shine.
From that she launches straight into Goodbye. What the fuck would I ever want with you? Sings this with some passion and sly humour. The complexity of the arrangement also recalls Prince.
The crowd rouses to Waves. Soulful voice with appropriate guitar flourishes. This was also showcased at Tuawahine.
The audience demand an encore. She hadn’t prepared one, but the band do one with the lyric you’re making me crazy. Hard Pop with a James Brown bass line. Shakes and shimmies on stage and she owns it.
That is singer Sapati Apa-Fepulea’I and she leads a tight and quietly superb Soul Revue outfit. She is the stand-out with a classic Seventies female Soul voice. From there she branches out into soft Rap and neo-Soul of the Beyonce variety.
I have seen her on a number of occasions. Whilst she can do the big dramatic voice, tonight its smooth and flowing which allows her Jazz phrasing to come into play.
The big band is always on point. Tight and incredibly well-drilled. Stuart Longtime guitar, Panfa Max Ah-Fook keyboards, Liam Soifuaga bass and Finau Fulivai drums. The great horn section is Sam Brown trombone, James Hancock tenor saxophone and sister Hinarau Apa-Fepulea’I alto saxophone.
Be My All and Azryd’s Interlude. Great Soul voice from that time when the great female singers progressed from Motown Pop to Soul Jazz and a more sophisticated edge.
Mister Magic as done by Grover Washington and also Amy Winehouse. Smooth Soul and just a little Jazz and the phrasing has some of the classic Dusty Springfield touch. The band get to show a little too, the horns and keyboards all getting brief solos.
The band and singer turn up the heat and the complexity for Beyonce’s Fearless and Lowdown. Well-drilled tempo shifts. Nice bite and snap on the vocals. Ska horns and off-beat New Orleans/Jamaican rhythms.
Turn off the lights, baby. That’s Kanye West’s All of the Lights, Baby! They head on back to that Seventies Soul groove and finish the set hot.
This is Josh Naley and there is a certain air of the Smiths about him. With him are Gabriel Everett bass and Harry Charles drums. So, that’s in keeping, except there is no fourth member.
I can’t tell you much more about him. He is quite humble and a little self-effacing on stage, but the audience is warm to him. He plays with Paige and they have collaborated on some songs.
First song Therapy Summer starts off with No hallelujah in my head, so that’s promising. A soft Pop Rap and also done in a bratty naïve style like Jonathan Richman. Just been released as a single.
Picture on the Wall is smooth Pop with a touch of Northern Soul. The drum and bass add a nice counterpoint to a programmed floating synth melody.
Quitter is brand-new and given a test drive. With the song driven by the rhythm section, you can hear a natural unadorned voice. A young Pop tenor with a light blanket of blue-eyed Soul.
A stand-out is Exorcist. Clever and funny.
Then he comes right out with the Smith’s parentage at the close with Depressed. Of course. I wear my Sunday best but I still feel depressed/ Defeated. A great Pop tune done with a lightness of touch. Perfect.
Great Pop tones. Classic Soul to Neo-Soul. And all three mix it together. A super Tuning Fork Thursday Love fest.
Rev Orange Peel
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