Concert Review: Daffodils, Elemental Nights Hopetoun Alpha, 22 October 2020

The Greek-styling of the Hopetoun Alpha resonates to the perfect Power Pop sounds of  Daffodils on a warm Auckland evening. Sunshine music. The hall packed and predominantly adolescent. With Chloe Swarbrick the biggest bolter on Election Night, maybe they do rule the heart of the city.

Just on sunset and the K M T P are first on stage. The project of Keria Paterson who writes and produces. Their recent EP PS. CU Soon was generally an acoustic set of emotional and nostalgic Folk Pop. Tonight, they have boosted that sound considerably with a band.

Take a Leap of Faith, title approximate, is a nice honed barrage thrash. Resolves in a long peaceful meditative extended outro like Clapton’s Layla.

Home is nostalgic and comforting Folk on the EP. The simple rhythms are now powered with a boost of electricity and surges. The guitars mesh and shimmer but are kept grounded by the drums. Paterson has a nice melodic grunge voice.

Smile and Wave take the meshed guitars into a Jesus and Mary Chain wall of sound as the song asks Are you ok? Simple rhythms anchored by straight-ahead Rock’n’Roll drums.

Moving Along invites us to take my hand and walk with me. Soft in tone the drone guitars well up and spill over.

I Love My Friends is sung with a bratty attitude. Builds the rhythmic momentum to peaks and rides out into the twilight on this one.

Carb on Carb are Power Pop duo Nicole Gaffney voice and guitar, and James Stuteley drums. They have a full band sound with loops and three amplifiers on stage. They are stage veterans having been playing together since 2011. Before that they came from bands with wonderful names like Moron Says What!?!? And Mammal Airlines.

Their sound is New Wave Pop and even further back to classic Sixties. They have developed a signature chiming guitar sound from which they extend and expand out. Powered by judiciously explosive drumming.

Nicole’s Express shows this nicely. Not Cute,Anymore introduces an Eastern raga sitar sound to the guitar riffing which appears on several songs.

They really work this up to great effect on Fake Meat Real Friends, the opening track on their album For Ages. Gaffney sings with a nice melodic Folk Indie tone, a little vulnerable. The Eastern rolling drone starts off and builds into great melodic riffs. All Tomorrows Parties given a Pop injection and a happy voice.

It’s Been a Rough Year is given a boost of energy from the drums. Gunshots to start and the surgical artillery strikes roll through the song. Riffs and hooks from the guitar. Melodic and inventive as the sparks keep flying.

On Annual Leave they bring out the Velvet Underground Eastern chiming drone music to a stand-out of their set. Surges of sonic waves.

Mitimiti is a magical area of the mysterious Hokianga. Folk, slower in tempo, mystical and full of the country and friends.

Hearing them for the first time I can see they can become addictive to the ear and mind.

Daffodils are a relatively new band, but they sound like Power Indie Pop veterans. Theo Spike Salmon guitar and lead vocals, Louis Graham electric bass, Jade Bryham keyboards and Isaac Keating drums.

A Leo Underwater. Starts with single note guitar like Herbert Sumlin. Then the band build the momentum with great hooks and chiming riffs and drive this over the top into a great summery bolter. Great starting the set with a killer. The youthful energy in the hall is jumping.

Staring at the Sun has the ringing bells of Phil Spector and seems to fill the room with bright sunshine.

Watching continues the same theme. Salmon has a striking voice pitched somewhere between Ian McCulloch of Echo and the Bunnymen and Morrissey. Bright tone and hooks also from the Smith’s palette.

Dark works this to even higher peaks. Chimes are meshed between keyboards and guitar. Then bass steps forward to lead with some fast New Wave mixed with Funk riffing.  

Why Don’t You Hold Me whilst it feels like the Smiths at their most inspirational, also establishes the bespoke sound of this band. Relentlessly cheerful even with darker themes bubbling underneath. Do you really want to die? / Why don’t you hold me.

We Only Laugh When It Hurts does get a bit darker and we head towards the land of Joy Division and Atmospheres. Albeit their lightest and brightest moment. Celestial keyboard tones and deliberately tinny. When in love as a mantra.

Boys whips the crowd to an ecstatic pitch. Salmon stands out here on a great vocal performance with this Power Pop showcase.

One cover for the night. But a great one. Blink 182’s All the Small Things.

They end the night in triumph with Two Angels. Daffodils are stunning and from start to finish they never let up. Clash resurrected as Pop energy.      

Really a superlative night from all three bands.

Rev Orange Peel           

Click on a photo to browse a gallery of each band. All photos by Rachel Webb            



 Carb On Carb