Concert Review: The Phoenix Foundation – Powerstation November 21, 2020

I’m gonna say it… I think we are living in what is the current music capital of the world. This weekend, capped off with a wonderful performance by Wellington’s Phoenix Foundation, seals the deal.

Now don’t get me wrong, when I say “music capital”, I’m not just referring to Auckland, but to all of New Zealand. The entire country seems to be seething with amazing music, both live and recorded.

Just this weekend in Auckland we had, in addition to Phoenix Foundation…Emily Edrosa, Th’ Dudes, City Of Souls, Mild Orange, Na Noise and, oh yeah, Amanda Palmer.

Speaking of Amanda, her show was an interesting contrast to Phoenix Foundation’s. While Amanda solo is all about…Amanda (not a criticism) a band like Phoenix Foundation live is more like a group hug…both on stage and in the audience.

I have a soft spot for The Powerstation…when I moved to NZ in 1994 and knew absolutely no one, it was my home away from home…catching shows by the likes of Morphine and Pavement.

Thank God it’s still here!

As usual I arrived early and watched as the room slowly but steadily filled up as opening band Womb got things started. In case you are unaware (as I was) Womb are a three-piece, also from Wellington consisting of Charlotte Forrester (vocals/guitar) her brother Haz (synths) and drummer Georgette Brown.

The sound is a bit dark and doomy…just the way we like it.

Meanwhile Phoenix Foundation are anything but dark these days. The new album is called Friendship and it is as advertised…even more so on stage.

These days the band is: Samuel Flynn Scott, Luke Buda, Conrad Wedde, Tom Callwood, Will Ricketts and Chris O’Connor. I should mean that Chris has been tearing it up at The Wine Cellar as part of Jeff Henderson’s jazz nights.

Adding to the fun is Anita Clarke (aka Motte) who adds vocals and violin and also adds a nice feminine presence to the stage.

It’s hard to believe that Phoenix Foundation has been around for 20+ years. The time together shows…as does the time apart…as it has been five years since their previous album.

Sounding fresh, the band kicked off with three new songs before dipping back to 2010’s Buffalo for Flock Of Hearts. Sam and Luke are co-frontmen, each supporting the other. The rest of the band is locked in.

There were smiles everywhere…on stage and in the crowd. Friendship was played in its entirety while older tunes popped up and sounded like they all come from the same source.

By the time they got to Buffalo, the room was practically glowing with good vibes.

Of course there was an encore and of course the good times continued.

One can almost always tell how a show went just by observing the audience as they file out of the venue. In this case there was no doubt that we had all had a magical musical experience.

Marty Duda

Click on any image to view a photo gallery by Ivan Karczewski

The Phoenix Foundation


The Phoenix Foundation Set list:

  1. Guru
  2. Miserable Meal
  3. Hounds Of Hell
  4. Flock Of Hearts
  5. 40 Years
  6. Transit Of Venus
  7. Decision Dollars
  8. Bitte Bitte
  9. My Kitchen Rules
  10. Golden Ship
  11. Hitchcock
  12. Former Glory
  13. Trem Sketch
  14. Buffalo
  15. Bob Lennon John Dylan
  16. Landline
  17. Tranquility
  18. Give Up Your Dreams