Soft Plastics Whammy Bar May 13, 2023 (Concert Review)

Soft Plastics celebrated the release for their new album, Saturn Return, last night at Whammy, bringing along some old friends and making some new ones.

Soft PlasticsIt was a another miserable night in Auckland but music fans will not be put off by a little rains, wind and cold temperatures, at least the ones who showed up to see and hear Wellington’s Soft Plastics.

Those who showed up early (sadly not me, but luckily 13th Floor photographer Chris Zwaagdyk) caught a solo set from Hans Pucket’s Oliver Devlin, or Oli, as he was billed. Oli is a friend of Soft Plastics so it was good for all concerned to have someone else in their corner up here in Auckland.

Not that they needed to worry. The album, Saturn Return, is a wonderful, moody, textured listen and the only question was, how will it sound live?


BubBut first we get a set from Bub, the Auckland- band fronted by Priya Sami. And, if you look close, you’ll see that Liz Stokes, of The Beths, is playing drums for them. Very cool, and a lovely show of support. Speaking of support, Beths bandmate Jonathan Pearce is in the crowd showing his support as well. Bub is sounding good and the vibe is warm and relaxed.

Soft Plastics

Shortly after 10pm Soft Plastics take the stage. The band is: Sophie Scott-Maunder (lead vocals and bass), Jonathan Shirley (guitar) and Laura Robinson (drums and occasional vocals)

Soft PlasticsSet opener Loozer sounds louder and harder than the album version while Disembody finds Jono breaking into a psych/fuzz guitar hailstorm.

“You went crazy on that one, birthday boy”, notes Sophie.

Yep, it was Jonathan’s 22nd and we all sang happy birthday to him later in the set.

Day Job is next, their 2022 single and that is followed by the non-musical highlight of the night, when Sophie brings up the “silly car games” the band played on the drive up to Auckland.

The favourite was Goat, Boat and Float, with Sophie giving a detailed explaination of how it works and who won. When drummer Laura is asked, she responds that her game of choice is “Grave, Grape, Brain” and the explanation Laura gives is bizarre, hilarious and just a bit disturbing.

Now, back to the music.

Soft PlasticsMy World/Your Girl is a beauty. The album opener sounds influenced by 60s girl groups and doo wop. Imagine The Ronettes’ Be My Baby at half speed.

More album tracks follow…Someone Else, Darcie and Saturn Return closes out the set.

Of course there is an encore, the crowd demands it and the band complies. I’m not sure of the song, it might have been a cover and it might be titled I Just Don’t Want To Be On My Own Now, but I do know that it was a perfect end to a show by a band I want to hear more from.

Marty Duda

Click on any image to view a photo gallery by Chris Zwaagdyk

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