Reb Fountain – Tuning Fork September 15, 2017

What a night! After finally releasing an EP and full length album…tracks which were recorded six years ago…Reb Fountain and her band made up for lost time by putting on one of the finest shows of the year at Auckland’s Tuning Fork.

The 13th Floor has been singing the praises of Reb Fountain for several years now. With the release of her album, Little Arrows, it seems the public has come around to our way of thinking. Yes, the Tuning Fork was sold out last night, full of fans and fellow musicians who came out to watch Reb Fountain do what she does so well.

I arrived in time to catch most of Hopetoun Brown’s opening set, including Reb joining in during St James Infirmary. Great stuff and the guys would be back to help Reb on a few tunes.

For this tour, Reb’s band includes long-time collaborator Dylan Storey on guitar, Ben Woolley on bass on vocals, Finn Scholes playing trumpet and keyboards, drummer Logan Compain and Chrissie Jackson on violin…Chrissie playing parts originally created by Sam Prebble, who sadly died a couple of years ago.

As expected, the set focussed on songs from Little Arrows, beginning with Slave, which found Reb at the keyboard at the side of the stage while Chrissie’s slow, mournful violin started things off.

“Holy shit, some people came!” Reb seemed truly surprised at the turnout.

Reb and company followed with several more songs from the album, including the excellent Down In The Valley, before introducing It’s A Bird, a song Reb wrote for the Auckland Writers Festival in tribute to Wellington poet Hera Lindsay Bird.

From there the show went from strength to strength.

The old folk song 500 Miles was given a new coat of paint, including a fine guitar solo from Dylan and a lovely outro on the trumpet by Finn.

Then came Annie V, a song written for Reb’s grandmother that started with just voice and piano and grew to a full band workout with a soaring violin part and then morphing into a Kurt Weill-like cabaret tune.

At this point Reb took off her jacket and really got down to business.

Heart Of Me featured Ben duetting with Reb while Strangers proved to be a dark, mysterious new song.

“Dylan’s wasted on morphine”, Reb informed the crowd.

Dylan protested, but he wasn’t feeling his best and earlier in the day had to be replaced by Dave Khan for an RNZ session.

Whatever Dylan was on, it worked. The next song, The Devine, proved to be one of many highlights with another excellent guitar solo by Storey followed by an extended ending that had Reb pounding away on a drum while the band thrashed away behind here. It was absolutely thrilling.

Album closer, Brighton, served to end the set, but Reb and her band were not finished.

Hopetoun Brown returned to the stage and the expanded group of musicians turned out a mighty version of Gold, featuring Reb reciting a part that reminded me of Patti Smith’s Piss Factory.

There would be a more direct tribute to Patti, but first Reb encouraged everyone to vote…preferably Green…before serving up a powerful version of Patti Smith’s Gloria.

And if that wasn’t enough, Reb had one more trick up her sleeve. She announced that she’ll be celebrating Nick Cave’s 60th birthday next Friday at the Wine Cellar by performing an all Nick Cave set. As a sneak preview, her and the band, including the guys from Hopetoun Brown, cranked up a raucous version of Cave’s Hiding All Away from Abattoir Blues.

I would have been happy for the evening to end with Fountain’s Gold, but to be treated to full-on rockin’ versions of tunes by Patti Smith and Nick Cave was more than I could have hoped for.

Reb Fountain has been making music for many years…Little Arrows is far from her first album…and she’s spent God knows how many days on the road, as a solo artist and with The Eastern, with Dylan Storey, with Sam Prebble, with Will Wood.

This night felt like the consummation of all that hard work. Congratulations to Reb and her friends for hanging in there. We’ll see you next Friday!

Marty Duda

Click on any image to view a photo gallery by Michael Flynn:

Reb Fountain set list:

  1. Slave
  2. Down In The Valley
  3. Covert
  4. The Arrangement
  5. It’s A Bird
  6. 500 Miles
  7. Annie V
  8. Heart Of Me
  9. Strangers
  10. The Devine
  11. Brighton
  12. Gold
  13. Gloria
  14. Hiding All Away