West Auckland up-and-comers Blu Fish dropped their spectacular debut EP, SHMENTS, and held two gigs to celebrate. They invited a talented lineup of guests to join them in the celebration at Anthology K Road last Thursday and the Grey Lynn Library Hall on Friday.
The Thursday night lineup was opened by emo rock two-piece Baby Flame. Lachie Smith (vocals/guitar) and Xanthe Brookes (drums) filled Anthology with a very intense and powerful sound, dismissing any concerns that the absence of a bassist would lessen their presence.
Folk rock singer-songwriter Teuila Brown followed them, backed by Eva-Rae McLean (drums), Milly Bossley-Hoyt (guitar), and Callum Lincoln (bass). Brown’s soaring vocals were accompanied nicely by the tightness of her band, and the crowd enthusiastically supported her as it was clear she has something of a fan base herself.
Rapper Mr. 0600 (AKA Alex Thompson, who produced the EP) took the stage next, alongside DJ/hype man Reid Ulberg. Thompson had the venue in high spirits and captivated the audience with high energy and solid bars.
At the the Grey Lynn Library hall, the Friday night all ages show kicked off with indie rock band Barracuda Swim School. Sam Wilcox-Brown (vocals/guitar), Michael Johnston (guitar), James McGurk (bass) and Neo Lee (drums) formed a tight unit that played technically impressive shoegaze-influenced tunes, however they could work on raising their stage presence to compliment their music and chemistry as a band.
Funk/groove outfit The Wonder Cats brought a set of undeniably banging covers that had everybody dancing. Billy McColl (keyboard), Aidan Birch (guitar), Vili Toafa Moli (bass) and Reuben Brooks (drums) were an exceptionally tight group that provided an excellent groove backing for vocalist Denzel Kelemete. Kelemete brought high energy funk dancing to his performance and the whole band radiated charisma as they played banger after banger from the likes of Mac Miller, OutKast, Anderson .Paak and the Jackson 5.
The funk continued with Munkhouse, consisting of Ollie Warren (vocals/guitar), Chris Simpson (guitar), Sam Stoneman (bassist), Alex Martin (drums), Kaito Ibaraki Smith (alto saxophone) and Matt Singh (trumpet). Their high energy funk soul was impressive in technicality and execution, but unfortunately there was so much going on that the sound over emphasised the drums and horn section and drowned out Warren and Stoneman in particular.
And on both nights, of course, the headliners were Blu Fish... playing a new song and their fresh EP in its entirety. Cameron Mason McCurdy (drums/vocals/occasional trumpet), Mitchell Baber (guitar/vocals) and Josh Rundle (bass) have accomplished something great with their first body of music as a group. The self described “indie heavy surfy rock pop” outfit have a unique chemistry together as songwriters and performers. Having seen each of the members play in different bands before forming Blu Fish, I consider their new music the best of all of their blossoming careers so far. The band's strengths work together to create dynamic and undeniably catchy tunes, with witty lyricism waxing poetic on the joys and anxieties of youth and partying.
Their [Blu Fish] songwriting and musical abilities blend together to form a distinctive sound that is as heavy and hard hitting as it is psychedelic, infused with infectious pop melodies that will have the songs stuck in your head days after hearing them performed.
It’s clear that the trio are confident as performers, as they should be... engaging with in-jokes and bantering with the crowd, while selling their EP and thanking everyone for their support, Blu Fish are comfortable in their own skin… or, er, scales. Baber and Rundle’s cool and collected presence is complimented well by McCurdy’s manic energy, and the expressive physical performances they give together further accentuates the dynamics of their music. On both nights the crowds were dancing enthusiastically and had high praises for the band.
Blu Fish are definitely ones to watch in the youth band scene. Check out the EP SHMENTS, and see them the next time they put on a show.
Blu Fish setlist (both nights):
- The Party
- Asinine Homies
- Scenic Drive
- At the Roundabout
Click here to stream or buy
Released: 30 Nov 2018