Mild Orange – Hollywood Avondale: October 28, 2022

Mild Orange wrap up their world tour at the Hollywood Avondale. With a bit of help from Wiri Donna, the Looking For Space tour comes to a satisfying end.

Indie princess and princes Wiri Donna delivered a hard-hitting opening set for the evening. Harrison (Harry) Scholes was playing my favourite bass, a Fender-modified Precision bass, and it sounded unsurprisingly amazing; Guitarists Elliot Dawson and Bianca Bailey take a deep dive into noise rock, sending their beaten-up guitars through multiple stages of overdrive and distortion to create some truly crunchy tones; All while drummer James MacEwan holds down the beat and guides the band through a truly epic set.

Wiri Donna

Wiri Donna has great chemistry between the band members. The indie rockers had constant eye contact and grins throughout the set which I am sure translates to inside jokes and special moments for the band.

Jemilah Ross-Hayes (photographer) and I snuck upstairs halfway through the set and got a bird’s eye view of the show and this is where we can really see how impactful the lighting rig is, especially in comparison to the last few times we’ve visited the Hollywood Avondale. Live Nation has been touring Mild Orange’s show in Aotearoa and it’s a serious upgrade.

The band played an array of original songs, all distinctively unique but with a certain Wiri sound to them. They snuck in a crowd favourite cover of Wet Leg’s top song Wet Dream bringing a good few people out of the comfy cinema seats and into the slowly filling dancefloor. The band has also brought a new song on the road; Bianca takes puts down her guitar for the first and only time, takes the microphone off its stand, and owns the stage.

Mild Orange

A surprisingly beautiful soundtrack welcomes Mild Orange onto the stage. The crowd shuffles forward and is respectively excited. I haven’t previously seen or heard much of Mild Orange, other than a few songs and the news that they’ve collectively moved to London, but I was pleasantly surprised to find that Aotearoa has a top-tier clean-indie-rock band.

The band kicks off into colourise, a dreamy soundtrack I could picture over a montage in a nature documentary. The band’s bass player Tom Kelk also provides stunning support vocals while Josh Mehrtens interacts with the crowd. 

Wow, the crowd has missed Mild Orange because there are song request shouts from every corner of the room. However, the band’s drummer, Jack Ferguson, counts the guys in and flows seamlessly from one song into the next, leaving no room for nonsense.

By what I think is the fourth song into their set, I must admit that the songs sound somewhat too similar in my opinion, at times indistinguishable from one another. Then again, I am not a die-hard fan who knows the songs word for word, unlike the rest of the audience.

Towards the middle of the set, the band’s frontman, Josh, reminds the audience that this is the last show of their world tour.

“It’s taken us through the UK, Canada, USA, Australia and now our last show of the ‘Looking For Space tour’ with you.”

He then explains the next song is about Star Wars, to my surprise.

“I’m a massive Star Wars nerd so this song is about the teachings of master Yoda”

F.E.A.R. is a super dreamy track sent to outer space by the lead guitarist Josh Reid and brought back to earth by the tight rhythm section.

We can’t forget about the epic reimagined version of Haddaway’s What is Love.
The band explains they’ve “been playing this cover all around the world.”

The Hollywood Avondale was lucky enough to host Mild Orange and Wiri Donna last night, acts that could both play headline slots on festivals and venues twice its size, if the opportunity arose. However, the medium-sized venue created an intimate environment for the long-awaited return of Aotearoa’s finest dream-pop indie-rock band.

Koen Aldershof

Click on any image to view a photo gallery by Jemilah Ross-Hayes

Mild Orange:

Wiri Donna: