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Concert Reviews

Concert Review: Carnivorous Plant Society Lead the Children into the City

Finn Scholes and Co at the Wine Cellar

Where: The Wine Cellar
When: 20 Jun 2020
Clare Martin

We remember gigs.  We remember the Wine Cellar.  And last night Finn Scholes and the multitudinous musicians of the Carnivorous Plant Society led the children into the City to celebrate live music again. It was great to be back.

The Carnivorous folk managed to get double crowds through the doors by having a two shows in a night. That’s an excellent way to make up for lockdown. And the first sitting embraced the night warmly, loving the offerings from the colourful stage.  Talking of colours, good value for money, we got Finn Scholes’ awesomely psychedelic comic drawings projected as a backdrop to the night. And in one of the last songs, Carp in the Pond, the graphics told the story of the demise of our planet with real power.

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What knocks you over with this lot is the amount of musical brains on the stage. Finn Scholes’ pedigree and range of song writing devours every genre. And the society includes such talent as Cass Basil (Bannerman, Tiny Ruins, King Sweeties) delivering such a chilled and skilled bass vibe, multi-instrumentalist super dab hand Siobhanne Thompson (Bannerman), Alistair Deverick (Ruby Suns, Boycrush) driving the beats with amazing diversity, and Tam Scholes (Bannerman) with the sweetest guitar licks. 

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Even though I didn’t get to hear one of my fave ‘hits’ The Baby, I forgive them.  After all they did deliver the Mariachi genius that is Phantom Finger (even if I missed the Mexican crowd voices in the background).  And Holy Carnivore what utterly scorching horn sounds from Finn Scholes. With a training ground in a real Mariachi band, he has a golden blazing sound which blew any lockdown bad dreams away.

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 With the jazz-influenced sounds of Misty Magic Land Miles Davis resonated and the song allowed the band space to spread out. The xylophone playground of Take featured Cass on wispy vocals and could have been written by spacemen looking down on Earth writing a song about the mess we’re making down here. 

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One of the stars of the evening was the song Bob Dylan with an extended intro from Tam Scholes on aching reverberant guitar.  A melancholic mix of tumbleweed and sunsets before the whole band rode into town for a friendly drink at the bar. As a group they can draw on a universe of sound skills and move seamlessly through Ennio Morricone to psychedelic-pop.

A melancholic mix of tumbleweed and sunsets before the whole band rode into town for a friendly drink at the bar

Slave Song told the story with graphics and chains dropped on a hard surface as background. It was a night not heavy on vocal contributions, or even much volume on the vocal mics.  But here was a platform for mind-boggling multi-tasking - Finn doubling on trumpet while playing xylophone has to be seen to be believed. Jacob Collier eat your heart out. 

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With a light-hearted encore of two new songs, the Carnivorous Plant Society sang a witty ditty about the joys of living in Invercargill, The Bogan and The Kid.  And finishing of with the whole band jumping on brass instruments bar a roaming melodic bass line for Down the Misty Hill.  Talented So and So’s.

We are glad that the doors of Wine Cellar have reopened and the Plants invited us to their double night. It’s a real joy to hear local music once again. Here’s to more nights like this sometime soon - go see them at a bar near you. 

Carnivorous Plant Society Set List for 7pm Show

Lovers in an Apocalypse 2

Shopping Mall

Phantom Finger

Children of the Yard

Misty Magic Land

Magic Eye



Bob Dylan

Slave Song


Temple Kiss

Carp in a Pond

The Bogan and the The Kid

Down the Misty Hill.

Radio 13 thanks and credits MOON RIDER for the images in this article

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All Images: Moon Rider

Written By: Clare Martin Clare has performed as an opera, recital and oratorio artist in UK most notably the Queen Elizabeth Hall, South Bank, London. In NZ she has performed with NZ Opera and with the NZ Symphony Orchestra but more recently she has moved into a wider range of contemporary genres including jazz and even Leonard Cohen. Since 2008 Clare has been teaching from her own music studio working with professional and beginner singers. In 2017 she was a mentor on TVNZ’s The Naked Choir working with a cappella choirs and she currently coaches barbershop and a woman’s ensemble.