Words Wal Reid

Dilemma time: It was either watch the Comm’ Games pugilists (boxers to you & me) pummel the crap out of each other or abandon the warmth of my Grey Lynn villa (ok, so not that warm, this is after all leaky uninsulated Auckland) into the tornado-like elements to watch two local bands I’d been itching to check out; Eb & Sparrow with the huge ensemble, Carnivorous Plant Society – glad I did too.

Ebony Lamb’s cordial style and openness is the perfect setting against her haunting vocals, not as in a ‘scary’ sense of the word but a latent beauty in its tone, bordering on the Folk/Country fringes. Working is one of my favourite music videos so it was good to see it live on stage in a relaxing environment sans white shirts and ties as sported in the music video.

The songs The Sun, Settle and Prodigal came alive as the band backed her wonderfully whether on vocals or instrument in perfect sync, while her raconteur nature and stories peppered in between gave the songs a sense of personal gravitas, even, Opotiki got a mention, and it wasn’t even about actor James Rolleston either. Ending with Etta James’s I’d Rather Go Blind was the setlist coup de grace, and a fitting end to the night as she thanked the crowd for “Understanding her tuning (guitar) difficulties” besides other things, which made me smile.

As CPS took the stage, I had no idea what to expect, with no vague idea of what they sounded like, they certainly looked the part as the stage gave way to a myriad of instruments, spying a keyboard, xylophone and giant horn (have no idea what its called but its freakin’ giant covers payer Finn Scholes) the bassist and guitarist took their places as the musical melee usurped onstage.

The Richard Killeen type animation splattered behind the band enhanced the musical experience. They describe their sound as ‘Mexican Fantasy’ as they offered up tunes to the packed Tuning Fork crowd enjoying the festive beats. I really liked Car Dance & Don’t Go Outside with guest vocalist with the coolest name, Mimsy Cable, her ethereal voice enveloping the crowd was pleasantly unexpected.

While Scholes directed the audience’s attention with the most bizarre background stories behind the songs, his Dad joined the band several times providing a sonic boom of a voice narrating some out-there stories about ‘fashionable bees’ while the band provided the soundtrack that was akin to Arcade Fire meets John Williams, it was fashionable, very hip and had the crowd bobbing their heads swaying to the cool beat of the band.

So glad I took a punt to venture out of the Villa and experience some cool new sounds. Shirking off the ‘cabin fever’ was the best start to this weekend, however I think that was my limit and will continue to hibernate for the rest of the weekend with active wear on and rugby socks to keep warm.

My memory of the Carnivorous ‘splattered foot’ video from the gig will keep me in good stead, check out their diverse eclectic sound on Spotify, they could just be the tonic you need to get through this Winter