I Am Giant @ Totara St
When you are about to embark on an evening of three bands which kicks off with Coridian, you know you are in for a real treat, despite the fact it marks the end of ten years of one of New Zealand’s finest heavy rock bands, I Am Giant, who are calling it a day with this final tour entitled ‘Life In Captivity’ which is commemorated with the release of their third album of the same name. A headliner in their own right, Coridian take to the stage with rapturous applause of which they deserve every second, having done the hard yards, playing to the local crowd on several occasions in the past year alone, the band kick into their set with the self-assured positivity of a band on top of their game and have onlookers dancing and singing along within seconds. Witnessing their set is an almost spiritual event, as along with bringing the heaviness of a true rock experience, they also create a unique swirling ambience which is uplifting and euphoric, at times reminding me of The Cure's textural guitar work. Don’t get me wrong these guys have serious arse-kicking riffs, while knowing how to create intensity through diversity, no doubt the reason for their inclusion on this tour. Second up are Skinny Hobos, which although only consisting of a duo on Guitar and Drums, feels like there are so many more involved, this in part is due to the musical dexterity of the players involved, but also the clever interplay between the two instruments and both contributing vocals. Drummer Sam 'Texas' Holdom is resplendent in bright yellow tie with no shirt, whilst Guitarist Alex 'Elvis' Ferrier sports the headband of a psychedelic sixties devotee, the tongue in cheek appearance and pseudonyms do little to detract from the fact that these are two fine and dedicated musicians. Their sound I could only describe as the love-child of the technical modernity of Royal Blood and the boogie simplicity of T-Rex. The crowd's favourite single, The Merchant of Tirau, goes off with manic dancing and probably left some concert goers a little hoarse vocally after giving their whole in accompaniment. I Am Giant take to the stage amidst a thunderous roar of approval, the crowd has benefitted from a great choice in support acts and are well warmed up and waiting, but not impatient. Onlookers hang on to every word, note and drumbeat as I Am Giant deliver eleven original songs and one cover from their decade spanning three album catalogue. Starting the show with After the War from 2011’s The Horrifying Truth, the band delve into three more from the same album, two from 2014’s Science and Survival and six from the latest offering Life in Captivity. The near capacity crowd (very good for a Thursday night at The Mount, especially post Summer Holidays) are vocal in their appreciation for a band who play their hearts out, but also for Ross and the team at Totara Street who did a wonderful job of lights and sound to make the evening truly special. Singer/Guitarist Aja Timu and Bassist Paul Mathews do a fantastic job in both playing and harmoniously delivering vocals to a very receptive audience, whilst Shelton Woolright’s drums were beaten within an inch of their lives especially in the final song of the night Purple Heart. The highlight for me was the speed and dexterity of Lead Guitarist Andrew Kerr who played out of his skin to deliver a very impassioned performance, but then the whole night, with possibly one exception, was almost without flaw. My only criticism of the evening would be the inclusion of Kiwi icons Dragon’s song Rain as one of the chosen tracks for the night, I know this is a track on the latest album, but on a final tour I personally would have preferred to hear another of the band’s own songs. That being said they did a very good job of said cover song, but as I seem to say to myself a lot these days leave the cover songs to the cover bands (unless you’re seriously reworking them) especially when the fans may never get to hear one of their favourite bands ever again.
Photo credit: Chris Morgan Photography