Nation – Neck Of The Woods January 17, 2018


Wellington four-piece, Nation are touring the country in celebration of the release of their new EP titled Pop Vulture. The electro-soul/pop combo landed at Auckland’s Neck Of The Woods last night.

It turned out to be an eclectic lineup at Neck Of The Woods.

First up was a pared-down version of BewyldabeasT featuring just vocals Lily Jackson and guitarist Michael Gianan. Lily put plenty into her performance, but the stripped down instrumentation revealed a weakness in the songwriting. In short, the lyrics were very repetitive, although Jackson did her best to make the most of what she had to work with.

Next up was Brendon Thomas & The Vibes. And what a vibe they put out there. Suddenly it was 1968 and I felt I was witnessing an intimate show by The Jimi Hendrix Experience.

Apparently these guys appeared on an episode of NZ X Factor a few years ago and made quite an impression. I don’t really watch those talent programmes so I was unaware of them, but I must say I came away hugely impressed with what I heard.

Their sound is firmly rooted in the psychedelic blues of Hendrix, Zeppelin, etc, but what they lack in originality, they more than make up for in virtuosity and enthusiasm.

And, they know how to rock! Refreshingly, there were few covers…one Zep tune and a bit of James Brown…instead we were treated to originals that could have easily been recorded by the rock titans these guys obviously look up to.

I could have listened to them all night.

Unfortunately for Nation, this made for a difficult act to follow.

The four bandmembers from Wellington took up their instruments (Miharo Gregory, vocals & keys, Dhanesh Parmar, bass, Ngarewa Reid, guitar and Marcus Thomas, drums), but their brand of electro-soul paled in comparison to what came before.

They weren’t helped by the sound mix.

While Brendon and The Vibes sounded crisp and powerful, the sound for Nation was rather muddy, with the lead vocals buried way too deep in the mix.

It was clear that the band can play…they laid down some very danceable grooves…but the lack of strong hooks, along with the inability to hear the vocals clearly let them down.

With two Eps under their belt, the guys in Nation now need to hone their songwriting chops. Meanwhile, it sounds like Brendon Thomas & The Vibes are ready to rock the planet.

Marty Duda

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