I have all sorts of titbits for you this week: reviews, gigs, gossip... yep it's more action-packed than an Oprah interview.
First up, let's revisit the past couple of weeks, during which I've written about Grant Haua and the band Electric Universe, both of whom are making waves with extraordinary on-line numbers and, in Grant's case, sales and praise across Europe for his new album Awa Blues. It has now occupied the top spot in both Germany and the Netherlands blues charts while being chosen as Album Of The Week in France's Rolling Stone magazine.
Being a public-minded type I inserted the RS review into Google translate with the thought of sharing it. I figure this could be instructive, a view of how well-heeled Europeans see us poor antipodean cousins.
The whole thing is a bit long but here's the second half:
Elevated and haunting, the twelve songs that make up Awa Blues mix blues roots, rock groove and Cajun music. His fluid playing and his virtuosity on the neck of his six strings, inspired by Albert King or Robert Cray, made of clawed riffs and resounding slaps, naturally prevail on "Got Something" or "Addiction".
His texts tattooed with a hot iron, haunted by Maori culture, stick to your skin (“This Is Place”), carried by a powerful voice that harpoons you in a lap, like the meeting of Tom Jones and John Hiatt. An "old-fashioned" blues-rock record, masterful and stunning that is already rising to the level of the best songwriters of the genre. Definitely essential.
Wow. That's a helluva review. The French are certainly poetic in their praise. Tom Jones? Hmmm... But I was particularly struck by: “a powerful voice that harpoons you in a lap”. What? I've listened to the album more than a few times so far and have yet to be harpooned in my lap. Better put it on again, just in case.
Meanwhile Electric Universe are amassing praise and extraordinary listener numbers on-line with their two current 70s-inflected hard rock singles being viewed and listened to many thousands of times. And Rock Hard Mag gave second single Right On Time a 5 star review. This was their verdict: Reeks of Deep Purple and some nice clean old school production techniques... Nice work from down under.
The band are barely pausing for breathe and are releasing a third single, Sometimes, on 26 of this month. Watch for the video.
OK. A coupla gigs. This weekend, March 14, the wonderful Caitríona Fallon is at the Entertainers Club. If you haven't heard her you really should. Originally from Ireland, Caitriona began her singing career in “Riverdance”, performing lead vocals with the world touring company. That's pretty high cotton whoever you are. Her band comprises Leon Gray (piano), Aaron Wright (guitar), Wayne Melville (bass) and Marc Anderson on drums, which is a pretty impressive ensemble.
It'll be a mix of a little Irish plus popular covers but the band's approach is pretty classy with some really interesting arrangements lifting them above regular cover band fare. This show has been postponed twice now but looks like it might sneak in this time between restrictions. 5pm, upstairs at the Citz Club on Cameron Rd, $15 on the door.
And here's another show, one that I reckon will be sensational. At the Jam Factory next week, Saturday March 20, are Yaw Asamadu and Ozi Ozaa.
You might be thinking... what?
Here's a snippet from Phil Jackson, BBC specialist music presenter, describing Yaw Asamadu, who is a master drummer, composer, African flautist, bass guitarist and xylophone player: "A joyful and jaw dropping fusion of afro-grooves and jazz that hits you like a burst of sonic sunshine".
In 2018 Ghanaian master musician Yaw Asamadu moved to New Zealand and formed a new band, which is a 9-piece outfit revelling in funk and jazz along with highlife grooves and traditional African rhythms. Led by Yaw, the band members' CVs include Batucada Sound Machine, The Jews Brothers Band, Mamaku Project, The Scribes of Ra, and many others.
Things will kick off at 7pm and cost a mere $15 via Eventspronto.