Mel Parsons – Hollywood Avondale: October 15, 2022

Mel Parsons treated Aucklanders-in-the-know to a very special show at the Hollywood Avondale last night, bringing her new album, Slow Burn to life.

I say “Aucklanders-in-the know” because there was a lot going on in town (finally) including Tame Impala and Ladyhawke at Spark Arena, Frazey Ford at Tuning Fork (both covered by 13th Floor) and a few other choice musical happenings…but for my money, the best bet was with Mel Parsons.

Sadly, the old Hollywood wasn’t full (as it should have been), but that didn’t stop Mel, her band or us, her fans, from enjoying ourselves.

With no opening act, we got two sets of Mel, who was accompanied by cousin Jed Parsons on drums and vocals, Josh Logan on guitar and keys and bassist Thomas Isbister.

Mel ParsonsSo, after a bit of time commiserating with friends and sipping red wine, the lights go down and a cheer goes up and Mel appears with her band. There’s a few seconds of nervous silence and then we hear: ‘Sometimes I feel like a failure’, an ironic tune if there ever was one as Mel has been making  “successful” music for since 2009.

But let’s face it, these days we all feel like failures at one time or another and Mel has tapped in to the post-pandemic vibe perfectly.

“If you’re looking for happy, uplifting music, you’ve come to the wrong show”, she tells us but actually, even though her new album is full of songs with titles like “Going Under” , “Failure” and “Darkness” there is a light slowly burning through her voice and her performance.

The first set feature 9 songs in 40 minutes with the Slow Burn, the song, an early highlight along with Non Communicado and Get Out Alive reminding us just what a classic album her 2015 Drylands is.

We take a break, grab another red wine and wait for Mel.

Mel ParsonsWhen she re-appears she’s wearing a stunning red jumpsuit.

“Shall I get changed?” she asked herself, but then she answered, “What would Beyonce do?”

Set 2 begins with a new, unreleased song titled Tiny Days, performed solo. Then Cousin Jed joins in for a duet of sorts on Don’t Wait, filling in for Ron Sexsmith.

We heard more tunes from Slow Burn and more from Drylands including a dramatic Headland with a very cool, jazzy keyboard break by Josh and Already Gone (not the Eagles song) where Josh takes it up a notch on guitar.

With that, the energy level rose and so did the crowd, standing, clapping and singing along to Far Away and Darkness.

Of course there would be an encore.

Just ‘Cause You Don’t Want Me was beautiful and heart-breaking while Tired Of Being You left us on a high note.

So, to those who chose other shows on this Saturday night…sure I understand the appeal of an overseas act. But the real winners on this particular night were the steadfast fans at the Hollywood Avondale.

Marty Duda

Click on any image to view a photo gallery by Chris Zwaagdyk:


Mel Parsons Set 1:

  1. Failure
  2. Lights
  3. Slow Burn
  4. I Got The Lonely
  5. Still Got Time
  6. Non Communicado
  7. Carry On
  8. Going Under
  9. Get Out Alive

Set 2:

  1. Tiny Days
  2. Don’t Wait
  3. Driving Man
  4. Headland
  5. Come Over
  6. Already Gone
  7. Far Away
  8. Darkness
  9. Just ‘Cause You Don’t Want Me
  10. Tired Of Being You