Sunday, 13 July 2008

REVIEW: Little Bushman & Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra, (Auckland Town Hall)

Crikey, this was good. Starting with an Ornette Colemanseque sax jam sounding a little like Lou Reed's 'Bells,' and finishing with a folksy Led-Zep-goes-bushman romp, Warren Maxwell and his band played a winning evening of music with the APO that wore its influences on the sleeve, and always had the heart in the right place. It was a joy to witness.

A former Trinity Roots lead, the sweep and textures of Maxwell's psychedelic-cinematic songs lend themselves beautifully to the orchestral experiment initiated by the APO and local composer John Psathas, who arranged Maxwell's pieces for orchestra and band. It worked. It worked damn well. There were a few worrying moments when it might have been Spinal Tap in their 'free jazz phase' up there -- just moments, however, which were gloriously swept away with soaring melody, or riffs that nibbled their way up from within to sweep to glory over the sea of sound.

It was a neat night, and (like Maxwell's music), the very best of Enzed -- kiwi through and through. Amid all the concern for the future of New Zealand, the night, the songs, the audience and orchestra -- an audience including young hoodie-wearers in awe of the orchestra and of Maxwell's music -- all seemed to say, "We're going to be okay."

I loved it. Here's an interview to give you some idea of what you missed.

UPDATE: See, it wasn't just me; the Herald thought it was special too:

This is one of those once in lifetime gigs you're unlikely to see the likes of again...

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