Princess Chelsea Heads ‘Goin’ Live with Chabs &  Milky’ at Whammy Bar 29 May, 2021

Princess Chelsea & LEAO & Vincent H.L played a live-streamed show at Whammy on Saturday night. Dedee W was there to tell us all about it.

First up, let’s be honest. I don’t really need to be reviewing this cos it was live-streamed on YouTube, and you can watch it back later! But let’s say you’re too lazy to do that, and you felt like a quick read instead. Well, I can help you there…

Having watched the previous night’s Goin’ Live show at San Fran in Wellington, I’m already looking forward to seeing what they come up for the intros tonight.

Chabs & MilkyLast night’s show began with the sombre tolling of a bell to signal the start of proceedings, then Chabs & Milky appeared on screen to introduce the bands in what sounded like an ancient Latin chant. This got a lot of wows and laughs from the crowd. And it shows how seriously they take these intros, which have become a true art-form from the many times they’ve done them for their YouTube live sessions.
Who knows how tonight will begin…

After a bit of set up time, the lights dim and we get a live intro as Chabs and Milky take the stage to announce the bands for this evening; Vincent H.L, LEAO, and Princess Chelsea. This is followed by the recorded intro, which comes up onscreen in glorious VHS. Here C&M introduce Vincent H.L with a brief tribute to Robbie Williams’ well known tune ‘Rock DJ’.

Princess ChelseaThe room’s packed tonight, everyone’s here for a good time and a dance. I’m standing near the front, in roughly the second row, with one of the main cameras right near me just to my left, pointing at the stage.

There’s not a lot of room in Whammy when it’s this full, so it’ll be interesting to see what they can do with the camera angles with one of the cameras so close to the stage, another guy filming from the back of the stage, and possibly another camera looking in from the side of stage gap behind the speakers. Just behind us there’s a big stage light that shines a bright red glow towards the stage when they switch it on.

It’s a bit of a novelty being at a gig that’s being live-streamed. You feel like you’re out partying in a sort of mini TV studio. Except in this case, it’s Whammy bar; its small stage festooned with colourful glittery sheets of fabric, and that big awkward pillar magically transformed into a sparkly red decorative centrepiece.

It’s nice to think that these special nights out—with all of us packed into our favourite venue enjoying some sweet live music—are being immortalised for others to watch on the internet, from the comfort of their own homes.

Vincent H.L

First up tonight was Vincent H.L They brought plenty of that 70s country rock singalong energy. Sam Smith in the comments said: “Vincent HL giving off strong Neil Young vibes. Very nice.” I’d quite agree.

They had fun playing a few covers, including ‘Going up the Country’ by Canned Heat which got everyone dancing. I thought they really hit their stride on that fourth song though, one of my faves, called Up All Night. It’s a slow track with a world-weary swagger on it, and a decent bit o’ howling between verses.

We all got to kick back and soak up their laidback rock n’ roll vibes. Felt like just what the doctor ordered, a great way to start the night.

As we get to the second set, I notice this second intro is also Robbie Williams themed.  LEAO get a poetic reading of the lyrics from Williams’ song Angels, with the word ‘Angels’ replaced by LEAO. And a great bit of singing at the end, from Chabs, or is that Milky? I just realised tonight that I’m not sure which is which.. maybe we’re not meant to know..?


LEAONext up was LEAO, a great new band who I’ve seen a few times now. The first time I caught them was at a small show downstairs at Artspace gallery last year. I liked them straight away, and remember thinking they had a great easy-going party feel to them—like finding your new favourite band playing at a party in your friend’s garage. They kinda reminded me of the early Strokes stuff somehow too, the way they got everyone dancing with those fast upbeat songs. The crowd loved them.

And it’s much the same tonight, the songs are sounding great, and those beautiful Pasifika party vibes are flowing. Frontman David Urso speaks to the crowd in Samoan, and mentions that Samoan language week starts tomorrow, which is quite timely.
He speaks Samoan and English between songs, which is pretty cool, and refreshing to hear. Good to hear some new songs tonight too, and I enjoyed hearing some familiar faves like ‘Afiafi’ and ‘Siva Masina’.

There was a great lap steel guitar player in the band tonight, by the name of Levi Gemmell. He’s a semi-regular band member as he currently lives in Christchurch, but comes up when we feel like the gig’s gonna be a special one, which this one definitely was. It was a bonus to have him there as he added even more of that sweet island flavour to their sound.

Princess Chelsea

Princess ChelseaNext up we get the VHS intro to Princess Chelsea, which is a mash-up of ‘The Loneliest Girl’ and the piano bit from a Robbie Williams song whose name escapes me right now. Chabs and Milky changed the words to “Robbie and Chelsea together as one” and did a marching dance on the spot in time to the music. It’s brilliant stuff as always.

Princess Chelsea and her band sailed through this set, a masterclass in baroque pop expertly delivered by this well practiced band. Catchy lines and excellent grooves throughout. She sang her heart out the entire set, and the band backed her beautifully.

This new band line-up has allowed her to come out and be more of a front person, without a keyboard in front of her, she’s mainly singing and dancing around, coming right to the front of the stage, clearly enjoying her freedom. Occasionally playing a bit of glockenspiel, or playing some percussion or synths, and sometimes popping back to join Crystal Choi (a great musician who also fronts her own band Phoebe Rings) and play a bit of keyboard.

There were many great tunes in this set, I loved grooving along to ‘The Loneliest Girl’ – such a catchy groove, it gets stuck in your head for days, and ‘Monkey Eats Bananas’ – a song she wrote when she was just 16, what a hit.

Also worth mentioning is the song ‘Respect the Labourers’, a pop ballad honouring all the labourers and construction workers out there.

Princess ChelseaIt has the chorus,
“And with their hard hats on
They do all the things that we would not
Respect the labourers
No, it wasn’t built on rock and roll”

–which I found quite touching. I mean, how many people are writing songs about things like that?

It was quite an emotional ending. Princess Chelsea shed a few tears in the last song, ‘When the World Turns Grey’, when she sang the last chorus which repeats the line,
If you’d ask me baby, I’d do anything for you

This was a song from her 2015 album The Great Cybernetic Depression, which clearly still struck a chord with her.

And with that, the night was done. My first time at a livestreamed gig. Was fun to be in the room for one of these after watching so many of them in last year’s first lockdown. I hope people keep doing more of these and leaving them up online.

It’s such a great way of capturing the fun of a good night out, the buzz of the crowd, seeing some great live music – and bringing it all to the people at home who can’t make it out. In some ways, it’s almost as good as being there.

But I’m glad we’re able to go out to shows and enjoy them in the company of good friends. Even a year on from coming out of lockdown, I often think I’ll never stop taking gigs for granted again. Long may it last.

Thanks Chabs & Milky for a great night out! If you liked this one, check out the other shows from their New Zealand tour on their YouTube channel.

by Dedee W

Watch the show here: Goin’ Live With Chabs And Milky – Tāmaki Makaurau

Click any icon to view a gallery of photos from each band. Photos by Marty Duda

Princess Chelsea