Concert Review: The RVMES at Pumphouse Theatre, 19 March 2021

The RVMES showcased their killer new album, Lifetime, to spectacular effect to an appreciative crowd at the historic The PumpHouse Theatre on Saturday night.

A myriad of styles, genres and influences go into The RVMES sound. (Pronounced ‘Rooms’…) What comes forth is vibrant, charged with compelling dance-friendly energy. They may even be carving out an attempt at alternative history. What if Punk in the mid-Seventies embraced Funk, R’n’B and Disco? They may have ended up with the Funky Clash. (They did Rock the Casbah eventually.)

Lifetime has been on the car stereo driving up. On stage tonight they rev up the motor and run those songs out with some well-drilled fire and passion.

Their opening acts are certainly no space-fillers and set very high standards to chase.

Sam Loveridge

Sam LoveridgeSam Loveridge plays Americana with an eclectic mix of influences and would not be out of place on some podcast of my imagination which played Ry Cooder and The Band on heavy rotation.

Playing with Sam is Jono on banjo. For a bluegrass addict like myself that’s a win. Bhagirath on keyboards who also plays in the Auckland Jazz Orchestra. They are familiar performers at various Folk clubs and the Auckland Folk Festival.

Run Into You sets the tone. Percussive banjo style of Old Timey Country, and the keyboards weave into the rhythm to brighten the melody. With Crown Loveridge let’s go with a passionate soulful singing style of Folk blending into Americana.

Do you Feel Blue is a bitter break-up song but the piano plays a nice Pop melody to give the subject some peace.

Better Man and they head down English Folk territory with a spare arrangement from the acoustic instruments and high floating keyboard tones. Will it make me a better man if I leave you alone? They work it up into a rousing Trade Union Hall anthem finish.

Change it up for their set closer, I Wanna Dance. A Spanish guitar opening leads into an upbeat Pop tune.

Big Tasty

Big TastyBig Tasty are a nine-piece Soul Revue style band led by diminutive powerhouse vocalist Manuela Ovalle Herrera. Remember catching her perform just after the first lockdown when she was solo and really unleashing with a powerful soulful Latin-tinged voice.

A big sound tonight with a three-piece horn section complementing bass, drums, keyboards and two guitars.

Big dance music and they lay out punchy Soul Jazz with lots of Funk and rhythm.

Irresponsible has the horns charging off with the bass laying down solid Disco grooves. Cinnamon follows and they whip it into a fury with the drums firing off fast rhythmic bombs.

At times they echo the good time Soul Funk of a Sly and the Family Stone when they were trying to get you higher. Also, the early Seventies style of Stevie Wonder and his signature electro-funk keyboard sound.

Don’t Know Me. Manuela’s big sassy Soul Jazz voice is matched to busy instrumentals, firing off riffs in all directions but keeping it tight and disciplined. The lady dances herself a storm, blonde hair flying.

They are a busy hard-working band, around Auckland and through the Heartland. Business is dedicated the Forgotten Highway in Taranaki and playing in a place called Tangarakau, or Ghost Town. The singer slows it down a bit to give it a lower-voiced emotional R’n’B delivery.


The RVMESThe RVMES waste no time surfing in on this energy and hit their straps immediately on Vibrant Pictures, their debut single from 2018. What you notice is a distinctive, slightly gritty blue-eyed Soul voice of Edwin Judd. With him, Miro Gibson guitar, Ronaldo Lima bass and Logan Fox drums. The engine room has the big beards.

First of the new songs is Gone For Days. A nice R’n’B groove with guitar phrasing a dance rhythm riff. The drums fire off a volley of quick artillery to which the lead guitar finishes with some shredding.

All the momentum of great Power Pop. Full of hooks and rhythmic complexity. And they keep it coming like this throughout the rest of the set.

What You’re Thinking and Self Control. Harmolodic style fast bass-riffing Funk, or Punk Funk anchors a lot of these songs.

DNB. Meaning Drum’n’Bass and the guitars merge into a sheet of textured sound while the Beards go to work.

Treat Me So Bad and they do slow it down to give the crowd a breather and to showcase the talent of the singer. Soulful Blues with the song structured a bit like an old Bobby Bland number. With his tenor riding high, I think he may be a Van Morrison fan who’s been listening to those live Seventies albums.

There is more colour to add. Desert Boy starts with a classic Doobie Brothers opening riff speeded up, before charging into Surf music from the lead guitar. A bit of Rockablly finds it way in there at the finish.

Lifetime is classic Power Pop which lifts off as Judd sings need a pick-me-up.

Big Bam Boom is all sprung rhythms and sounds like the early Clash with some White Soul. On Spoonful they do it as a straight Rocker with the Mission Impossible heavy-duty riff turning up.

A three-song encore and out fires twangy guitar, shake’n’stomp Surf, guitar shredding and generally controlled fury.

A startlingly impressive band and they give notice they are a force to be reckoned with.

Rev Orange Peel

Click any icon to view a brilliant gallery of photos of each artist by Chris Zwaagdyk.


Big Tasty

Sam Loveridge