Concert Review: Voom at the Hollywood Avondale, 16 April 2021

VOOMThe Hollywood Avondale is packed and pulsing with an electric energy. Up in the Gods section of the balcony, everything starts to feel dreamlike as Voom kick off with Beautiful Day.  Measured Baroque Pop as lead singer and founder Buzz Moller lays out some soothing velvet vocals. The screen behind is full of trees. The voice climbs high and ethereal. Trees ignite and explode in flames. The show of incendiary Pop has begun.

Relax and the shimmering Drone Pop blends into a powerful mantra as the hypnotic rhythm takes effect. A few extra percussionists and one of the LAIIKA girls add keyboards. On screen is cuts from great cult movie Near Dark, which plays all through the rest of the set. Enthralling and up-lifting Pop and still, around the World, this remains a privilege for this country only.


This is a night of superior Pop and opening tonight is one from my list of hot young acts ready to fire off, and that is LAIIKA.  Impressive as a unison vocal duo are Grace Moller and Heidi Simpson. Grace is Buzz Mollers daughter and lends some keyboards and vocals later to the  Voom set.

Follow My Lead, Power, and Songbird present songs with New Wave Power Pop punch and strong melodic vocals with witty lyrics which make them as fun as the B52’s.

Robot Girl strips it back to a more minimalist sound and emphasise their Lolita looks on stage.

The next few songs soften a little and bring them back to that older Girl Group sound.

You’re Such a Loser and a nice scathing put-down but not really as it is sung sweetly. They wind up the energy at the end.

Brand-new single Anyway You Want It is seductive with a propulsive rhythm. Crush is great Neo Girl Group and powerful on stage.


Soaked Oats are a five-piece from Dunedin and describe their sound as Sludge Pop and is built around lyricist, lead singer and guitarist Oscar Mein. That may mean that Sludge comes from Velvet Underground and on many songs, Mein has the same laconic, bratty street Rap tone of Lou Reed.

Like Houdini. The same melody structure as Heroin, slow and subdued matched to faster and frantic building rhythm dropping back repeatedly to comfort and relief.

Coming Up is Drone Pop with nice chiming guitars which they extend out on stage tonight to give some Sister Ray style slashing runs.

Perfect and a great melodic opening and dreamy Pop which the singer ends up singing with some Reed style Street Rap phrasing.

They work through their set with that great guitar tone and repeatedly shift dynamics of slow and dreamy to fast and edgy. And throw in some Surf licks too. A quality Dunedin outfit.


Two bands give a perfect prelude for Voom who seem to gather up all that collective Pop energy and keep it up at the peak for the rest of the night.

Celebrating a reissue of their highly regarded Hello, Are You There? album and the band onstage tonight with Buzz Moller are Murray Fisher (Goodshirt) guitar, Nick Buckton bass and Josh Sorenson drums.  Plus, a number of guests including God-Daughter Rita.

I Want My Baby. A dreamy ballad, simple lyrics which ride along on a wave of ringing guitars and Mollers great measured vocals which he can slip effortlessly into the higher register and back at will.

Jimmy’s Boner is a live show favourite, finally making its way on record on the reissue.  More energetic Rock’n’Roll.

Title track Hello, Are You There? A simple song but builds on a bed of Drone Pop and has undeniable hypnotic power.

VOOMNo Real Reality does the same and has that peculiar English sensibility of Lewis Carroll, Strawberry Fields Forever and Syd Barrett’s Pink Floyd.    

My Friend Satan. Just when I was all alone/ The devil came down from nowhere. Strange but seductive and compelling and pulls you in like the Near Dark vampires on-screen.

The album belongs alongside that other difficult masterpiece, Big Star’s Sister Lovers. Beautiful, classy Pop songs which tend to wander off into the psychiatric ward.

Live, the music is invested with power and carry you along on a fever dream and it’s easy to be lost in reverie.

VOOMBeth from the first album. Many people like this group as a good Rock’n’Roll outfit and they can certainly take care of business with tribal rhythms and some Davie Allan style guitar fire matched to classic Brill Building lyrics.

They take out the night in similar fashion with Sad Surf. The girls are on backing vocals. Chiming guitars lead off into Surf rhythms and they extend the vamp into a great workout.

The show tonight ends on a peak, but in truth Voom delivered a stunning set from start to finish and kept everyone in thrall.

Rev Orange Peel

Click an icon to view a gallery from Voom, Soaked Oats and LAIIKA. Photos by Ivan Karczewski.
Soaked Oats