Friday, February 27, 2009

Who Wants to Be Loved Anyway?

Last night was a Flying Nun marathon of sorts. There was an event put on at Kings Arms for someone's birthday - invitation by word-of-mouth only. I met up with some local Anoraks before the gig at 9pm and I was out 'til 1am, if remember correctly. There were only four gigs, but it seemed to drag on endlessly. Probably because most of the artists don't get to play too often and insisted on playing every song they knew!

First out was Matthew Bannister (ex-Sneaky Feelings), accompanied by a woman (his wife I assume) on flute and harmonies. He didn't play any Sneaky Feelings songs, mostly new songs, some of which were from his first solo album under the moderately funny One Man Bannister moniker. If was a gentle and fairly countryish set, perhaps a bit too slow at times.

Next were Able Tasmans, one of few Auckland-based acts on Flying Nun (despite the Abel Tasman national park being located on the South Island). Now, I've heard A Cuppa Tea and a Lie Down and Store In a Cool Place but didn't actually remember many of the songs. So they didn't really get me going until they did "What Was That Thing" from 1987. Not my favourite band on Flying Nun, but definitely a good gig and very interesting to see. They also had the biggest crowd watching them, with plenty of people dancing and singing along!

The Puddle were on last and by that time most people had given in to fatigue, and the crowd persistently thinned out during their set. It was a long set, and quite tedious at times. I had somehow expected a 'professional' band now that Henderson had got a stable line-up with him at last, but that's not how I would describe them at all. It started out great, with some stand up drumming from George's brother Ian. But we soon got to hear some bad guitar sounds and they completely stopped three times to tune up. Still, there were moments of briliance in there, and I'm glad I (and about 20 other people) had the stamina to stay til the end! They did several songs off of their first album Into the Moon (1990) and quite a few off last year's The Shakespeare Monkey, which I picked up at the gig. It's definitely a lot better than I expected after what I'd heard.


victor noir said...

oh man the able tasmans are gigging again? i thought peter keen was lost at sea on some research vessel. one of the gigs of my life was seeing them in auckland during the nunfest in 96. get 'hey spinner!' as soon as possible or even the 'humphreys & keen' record which is essentially an able tasmans record since most of them played on it. the puddle have always been a drag but everyone other than me thinks them some sort of national treasure.

Richard said...

I had seen the Able Tasmans play live on numerous occasions throughout the 90s but it wasn't until after they "dis-banded" that I really sat down and listened to their work. It was then that I realised how much I missed them and how they were one of the best (if not the best) Flying Nun group (along with The Bats circa Chicken Bird Run, Jeweller's Heart, Daddy's Highway album and The Law of Things album). On some songs the keyboard and guitar playing is really quite beautiful and the melodies are superb. Get yourself a copy of "Songs from the Departure Lounge" and I'm sure they'll become one of your favourite Flying Nun bands too. My favourite George D Henderson song is "Sex Kittens of Phoenix" - which you can listen to here

victor noir said...

yeah Mink are great. but that has more to do with genevieve maclean and demarnia lloyd for me, i think.

hopeful geranium said...

That lady with M. Bannister was not his wife but another one of his Weather girls. I don't remember the Puddle playing anything off Into the Moon, not even Interstellar Gothic, but mostly stuff off both recent albums and probably the "as yet unreleased" Playboys in the Bush.
George reckoned his playing that night was pretty ropey by modern standards - but it was the ATs and H&Ks night, and he also told me that The Overflow is the great album of New Zealand music this century and made me buy a copy, which I do not regret, and I am inclined to think he is right.