End of an Era - The Kings Arms
I wasn't present for the Night 1 performances of the End of an Era shows, but by all accounts from those that had been there, it had been a great night with a good turnout, especially considering it was competing with large international acts performing at other venues (such as Pink Floyd's Roger Waters at Spark Arena). So I was definitely looking forward to the nights' performances. A very warm night had the outdoor garden bar section being well utilised until the weather started to change, in typical Auckland fashion, and the punters began to cram into the covered areas. Opening act for the night were the young lads known as Dead Beat Boys. Led by vocalist James Fitz, the group are fizzing with energy and put forward a solid rock and roll sound. While not overly technical, they have a great rhythm and sense of harmony, in some cases having a very blues vibe similar to that of Skinny Hobos Suburban Living. Standing out from the rest of the group, Fitz has donned an eye-grabbing banana themed shirt. His performance goes above and beyond the vocal side, performing theatrics and making the most of his exceptionally long mic cord, diving off the stage, mingling with the crowd, and climbing upon the furniture. A clean, solid sound from Deat Beat Boys, and a passionate performance from Fitz.
Next up, is a band swiftly strengthening and growing their audience with each show, Coridian. Bounding with energy, vocalist Dity needs no warm-up and gets straight into their set hitting all the right notes. The Raven brothers are technically proficient, and with every song, they each have their time to shine with some well-placed riffs, and audibly distinctive drum fills. At earlier shows, the Raven brothers have looked a little wooden on stage, but their growing experience is starting to show, with Mike fully owning the stage on guitar, Kris expanding in his arms movements, and even young Nick getting his swing on. With their second release Caldera released last October, Coridian are already looking forward, showcasing two new tracks which were well received by the crowd.
Moving towards the later stages of the night, Ekko Park took to the stage. Losing the long locks, vocalist Joe Walsh approached the crowd with a slick, new hairstyle, but continued to put forward a consistent quality performance. Coming off the back of international tours, festival performances, extensive national tours, and working on their third album, Ekko Park are well practised, and they perform with ease. With a well-mixed set list of old and new tracks, it was great to hear My Crime, the first Ekko Park single I ever heard on the radio, still making its rounds on tour. While their sound lacks the in-your-face energy and vocal tenacity that you get from the younger acts like Coridian and Dead Beat Boys, Ekko Park gave a great performance that had a mainstream appeal throughout the different age generations that were present in the audience.
Headlining on this final night of the End of an Era show is These Four Walls, originally based in Auckland, now residing in Queensland's Gold Coast. Out of the bands tonight, it was the one that is no longer based in Auckland, that appeared to truly understand the gravity of what the night was about, their final chance to say goodbye to the Kings Arms Tavern before it closed for good. Frequently stopping between tracks, vocalist Steve Gibb would reminisce about how the band started, their 50+ performances at this very venue, while thanking their fans at every opportunity as well. The audience remained supportive throughout as emotions ran high, and the band began to repeat themselves as they tried to convey their appreciation to the venue and their fans for keeping them going for over a decade now. They performed a varied setlist, including one track that they had never performed live before, before bringing back their original bassist Chris Treeby for a mini-reunion song. Showcasing some newer heavier material, the crowd was amped, turning the first 6 or 7 rows into a moshpit for the remainder of the set. Finishing up on the other side of midnight, everyone was exhausted and satisfied after another great send off for the venue.
More photos of Coridian's set at The Kings Arms