Fri 6 Jul 2012
Matt Langley at The National Review
Our most recently passed Thursday called upon those brave enough to endure harsh winter chill. From snug temperatures a willing few were tempted out beyond warmth’s safe doors toward ‘The National’ where they would tolerate such cold the body would loose all movement and most life. Having driven from Christchurch, I wouldn’t have been seen out that night had it not been for a previous agreement that I would review the evening’s show. I turned up boasting many a layer, grabbing a quick beer and making for the couch with my girlfriend where we wrapped up tight in the venues’ lovely supply of knitted quilts.
Suddenly we were treated to an impromptu set, gifted by the wonderful Lindon Puffin of Lyttelton/Picton. Lindon was assisting with sound duties but he jumped up for a few tunes regardless, much to my delight. Puffin’s short and spontaneous set was comprised mostly of country covers and warm chatter. Charmed by his words, strings and personality I felt very welcomed by the show’s opening. By reputation Lindon is a hard working muso with a great friendly attitude and it was really cool to catch him live in Dunedin.
The second performance (& DMC’s focus for the night) was local, Matt Langley.
Matt is a true entertainer, with a huge catalogue of original material, old n’ new. His songs are rich with truth, experience and long gathered wisdom. There is no lying here, no fantasy theme nor masquerade; Langley has lived his words and they have travelled great distances alongside him. Drawing influence from the country genre, Matt is a highly developed musical being, embodying a sense of life through honest composition and soulful performance. The material is lyrically wooing and vocally captivating, from Roy Orbison highs through Johnny Cash lows. That Nashville strum came so naturally I might have been listening to it from the banks of The Mississippi itself. A near empty venue made for perfect viewing of such a set; I felt genuinely privileged to share such intimacy with Matt’s music. With the fantastic album ‘Featherbones’ available now, Langley is aiming to release his most recent record before the end of the year, if this memory of mine serves.
Third up was ‘Bond Street Bridge’ who were an interesting duo that juggled vocals, acoustic guitar, violin and a floor tom between them. The band experimented with a unique concept, employing the chronological progression of their set to tell the story of Scott’s 20th century arctic voyage and icy death. To credit the two as talented musicians, I enjoyed some of the musical ideas, arrangements and instrumentation but sadly, my excitement didn’t really go much further than this. I felt the set was too long and it trapped itself into a box where every track ended up sounding the same as the last. I really did appreciate the desire to bring something different to the table but for my taste, it was a little overcooked.
Last up were headliners ‘Luckless’, an indie Auckland duo with a nicely bearded male drummer and guitar wielding front woman to be rivaled with. Luckless were in the neighborhood promoting their recently released self titled record, Dunedin was the second to last stop for the tour before finishing up in Christchurch two nights later. As individual musicians, both members were a pleasure to watch and listen to. Drummer Will Wood proved himself versatile and sensitive toward the mood and direction of the music, complementing arrangements with the use of mallets and brushes where appropriate. Vocalist Ivy Rossiter played her guitar with feel and energy, contributing raw and human textures sitting above and within the groove. The whole trip was laced with the sweet melodies of Ivy’s stunning vocal, coupled and contrasted by Will’s baritone harmony. The sound pays homage to the heroin fuelled art rock of The Velvet underground, the poet Patti Smith and the modern day Florence (Machine). It is the music of bliss, temptation and darkness, infectiously addictive and dangerously powerful upon its quest to seduce the subconscious mind. I strongly recommend picking up a copy from: http://luckless.bandcamp.com/ or in stores now.
Written by Michael Morris.