Tiny Ruins & Finn Andrews at the Tuning Fork 1 June 2022

Tiny Ruins with Finn Andrews at the Tuning Fork

Birthdays are joyous occasions that warrant celebration. And celebration was in the air at the Tuning Fork last night. The cause?  Both that we can be at live music again with ease after difficult and diffident times. And that this fine venue has now reached its ninth anniversary. But those reasons lay between the lines. Centre-stage to celebration was the music itself.

Finn Andrews

Finn AndrewsFirst up was Finn Andrews of The Veils fame. He offered stripped back songs delivered alone to a hushed room, something so unlike the chatter opening acts usually contend with. This was a birthday to which revered guests have arrived.

Finn began with the comment “Nice to be doing this. Nice to be playing”. The joy of energy between audience and performer was palpable. His voice cut deep and words resonated. We hear a “very simple love song”, accompanied by plucked acoustic guitar: “I see you quiet and content/I see you diving for your pearls”, reminiscent of early Leonard Cohen.  A new genre of ‘agnostic gospel’ is introduced. On One Piece at a Time we hear “The horrors of the deep/can’t compete with your crimes”.

He was lone man in black on keyboard with haunting voice and lyrics plumbing the contours of emotion. In moments, he suggested Nick Cave.  We are treated to new songs: Rings of Saturn is hauntingly exquisite; Time reveals the artist’s love of lists. A lockdown composition. “Time is  what you’re left with/ when everything else is gone”. It was a trying time for us all. We can only be grateful songwriters of Andrews’ calibre have left us such lyrical souvenirs.

Tiny Ruins

Tiny RuinsTiny Ruins the took the stage amid the big noise of swirling feedback, an indication that this was not to be the delicate acoustic delivery we knew when Hollie Fullbrook first came to our attention. Tiny Ruins, solo at the Wine Cellar, occasionally accompanied by Cass Basil on acoustic bass now feels like a lifetime ago. This was Tiny Ruins the band in full accomplished flight, launching into Olympic Girls the title track of their most recent album.

What was striking was how this is no band rallying around their singer-songwriter. Rather, Tiny Ruins have become a exceptionally tight and intertwined unit offering full and swirling sounds that warp around Hollie’s lyrics. Alex Freer’s drumming was both strong and subtle, Tom Healy’s guitar almost a second lead singer and Cass Basil’s bass a reliable and joyous undercurrent.  What was also impressive was the mixing. Despite the fulsome engagement of the band, Hollie’s delivery remained crisp and the lyrics fully accessible.

For a band playing together for the first time in a year, there were no mis-steps.

The set heavily leaned towards Olympic Girls tracks. How Much moved from gentle delivery to a momentum pulled along driving back beat of drums and bass.  This was the moods of yearning in a relationship conveyed with sonic passion. New songs, like Dorothy Bay and Out of Phase felt familiar on first airing, a mark of their craft as a band (we are offered promise of a new album in the months to come). If there was a centrepiece, for me it was One Million Flowers, with its sonic petals flying skyward in soaring joy.

Being a mid-week show the band appropriately closed the set with the dreamy Night Owl from sophomore album Brightly Painted One. We left night one of the Tuning Fork’s 9th birthday in gratitude for both the venue and the fine artists who graced its stage both last night and in years past.

Robin Kearns

Click any icon to view a gallery of images from both artists. Photos from Chris Zwaagdyk.

Tiny Ruins
Finn Andrews