A few weeks back though, I had the pleasure of hosting an old friend from way back, an out-of-towner keen for a look at what local Wellington venue Bodega could offer us by way of primer for what would surely be a night of serious debauchery into the wee smalls (which is exactly what transpired). As it turned out Bodega offered us something of a rare treat to start the night, even if not quite in the way we had initially anticipated.
It was the occasion of local blogger-turned-rapper Tommy Ill’s album release party – for the New Hat And A Haircut second full length effort – but with three acts on the bill we felt comfortable enough arriving at the venue somewhat later than was perhaps desirable. Albeit missing not only the name of the first support act, but also the bulk of what looked to be a fairly radical synth-drenched set.
There was an odd poignancy about the reality that the album release party had somehow conspired to coincide with the death of MCA – Beastie Boy Adam Yauch – just hours earlier. For those not familiar with the work of Tommy Ill, it essentially adopts the tried and trusted Beastie template; three white guys rapping, a fair amount of posturing, a smattering of shock value, and a high humour quotient. And indeed, that was the default modus operandi come the time for Ill’s headlining set. The group’s rendition of ‘Sabotage’ – a universally popular tribute track in the weeks since Yauch’s death – was truly a moment of riotous splendour to savour.
Yet, as enjoyable as Tommy Ill was on the night in question, with the vast majority of the 20-something crowd evidently knowing the words to many of his best rhymes, the real shock and awe blow to this weary cynic’s befuddled head had occurred during the set of primary support act Bang Bang Eche … just how on earth had this magnificent live band manage to exist so far beyond my radar for quite so long?
Formed in 2007, two subsequent EPs (plus an album in the making? – anyone?), tours to Europe and to the USA, multiple b.net and college radio hits, exposure at festivals like SXSW and Big Day Out, and … if Wiki is to be believed … wait for it … selection by MTV as one ‘The 25 Best New Bands In The World’ in 2010!
That’s certainly plenty to be getting on with, and I guess with the benefit of hindsight I shouldn’t have been so surprised by just how much these guys (and girl) blew us away … like some loud demented version of 70s art-rock meeting 80s gloss. An arrogant stage presence combined with an almost punk mentality. All elements colliding head on with a serious amount of natural talent. It ultimately resulted in an eye watering performance that even this perennially wary gig-goer had to concede was one of the best live acts he’d seen in years.
Here’s a clip of Bang Bang Eche from as far back as three years ago …
And if you like that … more on Bang Bang Eche and Tommy Ill here …