Mel Parsons – Q Theatre: June 15, 2024 (13th Floor Concert Review)

Mel Parsons closed out her Sabotage Album Release Tour with a sold out concert at Auckland’s Q Theatre, a venue that seems to be growing in stature in a city that needs more quality places to play.

Sabotage is Mel’ sixth studio album, from a career that dates back to 2009. We here at 13th Floor have been following/supporting Mel since our inception in 2011 and she has been gracious enough to perform several times at our studio…I know because I have the fridge magnets to prove it.

Mel ParsonsMel Parsons has always been savvy when it comes to creating cool merch and there was plenty on display as we filed into the theatre…T-shirts, sweatshirts, mugs, beanies, vinyl and CDs…something for everyone.

She’s also pretty savvy when it comes to writing good songs and Sabotage has been collecting rave reviews, while one track, Hardest Thing, has snagged an MLT Songwriting Award.

Mel ParsonsTonight’s show consists of two sets from Mel and her band, the first featuring the new album playing in its entirety from beginning to end, the second something of a greatest hits collection. The band features Sabotage producer and sometime co-composer Josh Logan on electric guitar, Mel’s cousin Jed (why does the Beverly Hillbillies them pop into my head when I type that?) on drums and vocals and bassist Aaron Stewart.

They get down to business with album opener Circling The City and work their way through the eight songs in just over half an hour.  Maybe “work” is the wrong word as Mel and the band seem to get together effortlessly, with Ms. Parson’s voice sounding as rich, full and emotive as ever.

Fortunately the album’s tracklist holds up well as a concert setlist with Offer Down and Little Sadness providing early highlights…I’m guessing we’ll be hearing those two long after this album’s promotion.

Mel’s banter is easy-going, if not a bit guarded, with a brief story preceding Little Sadness about some feedback from her dad on the new record…”people tell him the songs were a bit sad”.

Hardest Things brightens things up and Expectations raises ours as we look forward to the second set.

The merch tables seem to be doing a booming business and set two feels a bit looser and less sad.

“We’re going to mix it up a little bit”, Mel tells us, playing some that you hopefully know”.

We do.

Come Over Lover, from 2018’s Glass Heart is a winner followed by crowd fave Far Away.

Mel Parsons

The harmonies on Alberta Sun are stellar and Don’t Wait is another highlight as Mel shares some personal insight and tells us about the many emails she gets telling her how the song has helped fans around the world.

It doesn’t hurt that Anika Moa is on hand to help out. Sure Josh and Jed have left the stage but Anika more than makes up with her voice and personality thrilling us with a seemingly spontaneous “rap” in the middle Don’t Wait. We certainly didn’t see that coming.

The other surprise was a cover of The Cars’ Just What I Needed, slowed down and reimagined as only Mel Parsons could.

The looseness of the set included a false start as Jed fed Mel the opening lines to Slow Burn, proving she is, indeed, human.

Of course there was an encore and of course it was special, first featuring a new song titled Brick By Brick, not as yet released and then an oldie in the form of I Got The Lonely from Glass Heart.

This may be June, but with quality shows like this, the previous night’s Kerryn Fields and Matt Joe Gow  concert  and the Reb Fountain/Vera Ellen/Voom show at The Powerstation is seems like the Kiwi talent can power through the entire year.

With that in mind, I’m looking forward to Brooke Fraser at Spark Arena next week, especially since Georgia Lines has been added to the bill. See you there!

Marty Duda

Clock on any image to view a photo gallery By Azrie:


Set 1:

  1. Circling The City
  2. Offer Down
  3. Sabotage
  4. Little Sadness
  5. 5432
  6. Hoping For Rain
  7. Hardest Thing
  8. Expectations

Set 2:

  1. Come Over Lover
  2. Far Away
  3. Alberta Sun
  4. Bones
  5. Don’t Wait
  6. Tiny Days
  7. Just ‘Cause You Don’t Want Me
  8. Slow Burn
  9. Just What I Needed
  10. Down In The Bar
  11. Brick By Brick
  12. I Got The Lonely