June of 44, finally brought their live show to Aotearoa/New Zealand shores. On their one previous visit to Australia, they had a layover at Auckland Airport, but never made it into a venue, I suspected the excitement was going to be symbiotic between band and audience tonight.
US band June of 44 disbanded in 1999 after releasing their last album Anahata, just five years after coming into existence. In 2018, they (Fred Erskine (bass guitar), Sean Meadows (vocals, guitar), Jeff Mueller (vocals, guitar) and Doug Scharin (drums) reunited to play live again and in 2020 they released their ‘comeback’ album – Revisionist: Adaptations & Future Histories in the Time of Love and Survival.
Show day @ 1.03pm – the 7pm start is jettisoned, and the promoter posts revised playing times: 810 – 840 REPAIRS, 900 – 930 SWALLOW THE RAT, 950 – 1035 A BROKEN SAIL, 1100 – 1200 JUNE OF 44. The word ‘tight’ is a definitive understatement, given the ability of musicians to be punctual – NOT! Bodes badly for getting home before 1am on a school night!
Local support number one – Three piece Repairs are onstage on time (phew!) I last saw these guys (Nicola Edwards, Martin Phillips and James Milne) at The Other’s Way 2022, and was interested enough to get here tonight early to see how they had progressed. Their 30-minute set of distortion, is yet rhythmic in a mechanical driven style, touching on industrial aka Godflesh. Included in their short set is student radio favourites Last Chances, Cut To the Chase, and their latest ‘single’ Pop Song. Nicola and Martin take turns on vocals or none at all, and toss in an Idles cover – Model Village (which they didn’t really need to do) Check out their 2020 LP Repeat, Repeat.
Swallow The Rat
Local support number two – (another three piece) Swallow the Rat (Brian Purington, Hayden Fritchley, & Stephen Horsley) take the stage early! Fresh from a jaunt to the South Island this month and releasing a 7” Other Rooms (Feat. Yuko Miyoshi of Memory Foam) late last year. Tight as always (even modelling perfectionism) once again the guitar/bass work is impressive, every time I see these guys I think Sonic Youth vs Dinosaur Jr, but tonight I get an element of My Bloody Valentine. Swallow the Rat are expert at what they do because they are able to create a wall of noise, but underpin it with melody – you can dance to it. Bonus! Yuko Miyoshi of Memory Foam joins the band to play Other Rooms and adds another dynamic to tonight performance. Swallow the Rat are on hiatus for a few months, but should be back with a new album in August.
A Broken Sail
Oh dear! A Broken Sail’s guitarist is full of whoa and wail as the guitar amp won’t play ball with his extensive array of pedals. Audience members are also in straits, as the 30 minutes gain made by Repairs and Swallow the Rat dissipates via a crowd of guitarists and techs. Described as ‘Bleak Rock’ Sydney’s, A Broken Sail hit the stage almost on time. It feels somewhat strange to have such an ethereal and atmospheric driven sound of drums, bass and guitar (yes, another three piece) after two quite ‘expansive’ acts. The guitarists 20 pedals (or so) tray exudes some great delay and harmonic energy, and I find myself comparing them to Mogwai or similar.
June Of 44
How many band members does it take set up a drum kit, not even that really? We are almost, well we could be back on schedule… but June of 44’s drummer arrives late,. The rest of the band are punctual and ready, and then there is the chitter chatter between band members while the clock ticks past 11pm. I can’t say all was forgiven… yet, Jeff Mueller politely introduces, and remarks (somewhat sardonically) about not usually having three bands play before them.
When June of 44 start, the impact is immediate, the eager crowd gather around and are visible enamoured by what is coming forth.
Coming at the end of a week-long tour of Australia and Wellington the night before, privileges the Auckland audience with a tight and symbiotic performance. From the relaxed leans of the bassist Fred Erskine, to the manic and emotive drumming by (el tardo) Doug Scharin, and the nifty dance and foot moves by vocalist lead (and guitarist) Jeff Mueller, the band are enjoying the selves.
Live they maintain many of the nuances and elements that have them uncatagorisable, but somewhere between Post-Rock and Post-Punk is in the ball park. They create rhythmic guitar led sonics, aswell as minimalist retreats, as they pace through a set that includes Does Your Heart Beat Slower, Anisette, Cut Your Face and Recorded Syntax.
I just wish I had had the energy, and the lack of a looming mahi hanging over me through the night, in the end I and my erstwhile partner had to retreat ourselves after a good, no, great, nay gorgeous 44 minutes.
Click on any image to view a photo gallery by Simon Coffey:
June Of 44:
A Broken Sail:
Swallow The Rat:
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