Concert Reviews

Concert Review: To Unfold Neil MacLeod

Where: BATS Theatre, Wellington NZ
When: 28 Jun 2019
Melany Barrington

A cold yet soulful evening in Wellington, musician Neil Macleod played for the capital accompanied by Reuben Topzand on keys and Hakopa Larsen on drums. Following the release of his latest EP To Unfold with an almost sold-out tour, starting in Christchurch at Lyttelton Arts Factory, three main shows in Wellington at BATS Theatre and finishing in Auckland at LOT23. Neatly constructed together with his hardworking team it seemed like the smallest artistic details had been taken care of for the tour.

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I was lucky enough to experience and indulge what I was seeing on social media about Neils collection of songs. With having no thought that it would be a sit-down show, it took me a while to adjust to the idea of sitting down and watching Neil’s performance. However, the theatrical concept for the tour was to use sitdown venues to make the show more immersive as the people have to sit down and take in all three aspects of the show consisting of lighting, visuals and the musical performance. Each to their own was impacting. Creating the visuals specifically for the shows they caught some insane drone and iPhone X footage of our country to display behind Neil and his band.

With a setlist of songs from his past EP Sonder into the latest songs off his current EP, he displayed his progression in himself that he expresses through his music. Neil opened up to the audience about what his recent journey has been and more so the hardship that came with it.

MacLeod explained that he and his music is happier and wants to continue writing happier songs and I think all current and future listeners could not be more excited and supportive for where Neils journey will take him.

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The quality of the To Unfold EP with writer and producer Devin Abrams is impressive. But, to hear it live his vocals are powerful, soul hitting and as clear as the recorded version. Not long after the release of the EP, came a live session of the song To Unfold that held emotion and a sense of vulnerability. Throughout the show, the same effect from the live session was in the room. Everyone in the audience was all eyes and ears for Neil which was refreshing to not see a bunch of phones out recording and taking photos but everyone disconnecting from the outside world and connecting to the music.

With support for all three shows in Wellington from experimental pop artist Edie. Vocalist Anna Edgington and Thomas Friggens on percussion opened the show with a set that smoothly led into the night. As a new listener to Edie, I found the sound interesting and unique but, Annas vocals to be what was holding my attention.

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Radio 13 thanks Stella Gardiner for all the images featured on this article. 

Neil Macleod's setlist:

  • Under
  • Come Down
  • Riddle
  • Friends
  • Bad Thing
  • Settle
  • Turns
  • To Unfold
  • Comfort
  • Trems
  • We


Written By: Melany Barrington