Mon 24 May 2010
Delgirl and Francisca Griffin at Iona Church 22nd May - Review
Francisca Griffin opened the night with a laid-back, singer/songwriter style that worked well with the comfortable, warm venue. Using only an acoustic guitar and her voice, she creates more of a soundscape rather than songs. Or at least that's how it felt. She did indeed play conventional songs but the melodies worked into one another so well and the narrative was so laid-back and musical that it didn't seem like it was 3 minute songs you were listening to. The music was so smooth that I found it hard to listen to what the actual story was and just let the music paint pictures for me in my head. Definitely one of the best ways to enjoy music.
The only down point of the set was that at the end of each song, the silence undid all the magic created during the songs and even though she talked with the audience between songs, the lack of the musical background pulled you out of the dreamworlds you went into for each song. A non-stop musical setting, constantly morphing into the next song and the next would've made the music an almost religious experience; appropriate given the venue.
But oh well, the music was still fantastically dreamy while it lasted. And sometimes expectations can be unreasonable. Overall I greatly enjoyed the experience; for it was an experience, not simply an opening act.
And when Delgirl, Dunedin's 3-piece all-female country(ish) band took to the stage, the same dreamy, warm musical style didn't stop; it was taken and emphasized to beautiful heights. Delgirl opened with "Blood Is Holy" which was an amazing sounding piece especially with the rich acoustics of the church hall. The three-part harmonies that came rolling out were incredible. As with Francisca, the music sounded much better than the real world could match visually, so to close your eyes and let the music flow as you imagine dreamworlds to match the sounds was epic. Delgirl's sound is hard to pin down. It really does speak for itself but try to imagine a kind of folk/country/acoustic/harmony-rich blues sound and you're (kind of) getting the idea.
Another aspect of Delgirl that helped create these rich sounds was their multi-instrumentalist-ness. Their instruments would range wildly from acoustic guitar, ukulele, double-bass, drums, triangle and trumpet. But they never let their most powerful instrument fall into disuse; their vocal harmonies. Their voices never let up in power and yet soft, rolling melodies.
Delgirl also delivered some up-beat country music with "Old Fool" on top of their indescribable cross-genre mix. Which was a unique spectacle to see in a church; 3 musicians having a ball of a time pumping out this fast country music. You couldn't help but return their grins.
It was indeed an unusual night to witness at Iona Church. And even though it wasn't quite in my usual style of rock, I surprisingly enjoyed the music. But it was hard not to when it was so rich and engaging. I thoroughly enjoyed sampling some of Dunedin's singer/songwriter/country live acts especially in a personal and rich-sounding venue. Definitely an enjoyable night in Port Chalmers.
By David Starkey