Concert Reviews

Concert Review: Miles Calder at the Wine Cellar

Roger Bowie

Wellington came to Auckland on Friday night and Auckland declared war, only to surrender immediately to the captivating sounds of Miles Calder and his shit hot band.

We’re at the Wine Cellar and 2020 fatigue has crept in, or Xmas parties are prevailing, because there is plenty of room in the bunker tonight so a lot of people are missing out on a treat.

And speaking of treats, Being opens the night in big voice and electric guitar with her quintessentially indie folk songs which hint at even greater potential if her band were there but they’re not and so we bathe in her voice and her melodies. Being tonight is just Jasmine Balmer and she bubbles with personality and talent through her six song set which incudes a song from Iron & Wine as well as “Speak Softly” which ends with a delightful little poem. When next you see Being in the line-up “Count Me In”.


Being Set List

  1. Fold Into the Sea
  2. Lucy
  3. Overgrown
  4. Naked as We Came (Iron & Wine)
  5. Speak Softly
  6. Count Me In

Image Supplied

Miles Calder has been writing and recording songs for close to a decade now but mostly he works in environmental science cleaning up shit and stopping shit from happening. And it does happen. He released an album in 2016 and concurrently had some time in New York where he took on some of the ebullient self-confidence of the American psyche and thought better of his own musical prospects. Gave it a crack. Decent first album but this time round he’s been working hard at crafting and polishing his new songs which are now being road tested in advance of a sophomore offering sometime next year. And so, we lucky few get a taste. 

Joined by his 5-piece band, including long-time collaborators Nick George (drums) and Steve Moodie (bass), along with Chris Armour (guitars) and Dayle Jellyman (synths, electric piano), Miles Calder takes us back, back in time to days when rock sounded like everything and we didn’t get tongue tied by genre gyrations.

It’s both familiar and timeless. He starts out playing a mean lead on “Take Me Back to How It Was” followed by “Hold A Grudge” and the band are into a funky rhythm and a Beatle-ish coda before we get a taste of the title track from next year’s album, “Autopilot Life” when Miles takes up on another keyboard and the man in the cap takes lead. Next up the recently released “Lake Geneva” and the guitarist does a little slide as the waters pass over us. “Workman Song” delves into southern rock and funk and a little reverb and all of a sudden I get it, this is John Lennon and the Beatles and the White Album and all that stuff and it’s alright to sound like the Beatles because they were the greatest rock band and country rock band ever, so not trouble “Keeping Up” with an outstanding rhythm section and then we take a breather as Finn Johannson pops up from the merch desk with his backpack still on and joins Miles in passionate harmony on a song from the first album, “Shadows”

And so it goes. ‘I don’t need you, but I want you’ “Isn’t that Better” ? A little Allman Betts as the man in the cap cuts loose like an Allman Betts. A little punk country, “Goodbye and Good Luck” before the last song “Jealous Guy” only confirms the Lennon connection.

An outstanding night’s music. Outstanding songs. Outstanding band. I told the man in the cap that I didn’t know his name but I know who he is. My name is Chris, he offered. No, you’re fucking good that’s who you are.

Awaiting the next episode from Miles Calder impatiently……. 

miles calder by nick george

Nick George

Miles Calder setlist:

  1. Take Me Back to How It Was
  2. Hold a Grudge
  3. Autopilot Life
  4. Lake Geneva
  5. Workman Song
  6. Keeping Up
  7. Shadows
  8. Greener Grass
  9. Isn’t That Better
  10. Bad for Me
  11. Chelsea
  12. Goodbye & Good Luck
  13. Jealous Guy
Written By: Roger Bowie Roger Bowie has been collecting music since 1964, starting with 45 rpm singles, and then building an LP and CD collection from 1970. 1.8 per week since then. Not a vast collection, but eclectic and occasionally obscure. Roger is a big Americana fan, and regularly attends AmericanaFest in Nashville, held every September. Also, he once played golf with Alice Cooper...