5 April 2018
Thursday night at the Wine Cellar is not Friday night at the Wine Cellar. It's just a bit quieter and the patrons are a bit more hipster than the end of week crowd. That's apart from the guy in his early fifties with no mates wearing the green icebreaker and starting his latest blog on his phone.
It's early April and I've got 18 gigs left to reach 52, with a target of end August. Should be doable but I've fallen off the pace in the last month and there aren't any festivals left to carry me through. Now it's a case of just getting out more. But then that's the cross I have to bear if I'm going to see the challenge out. And of course it's no chore, I'm finding the challenge a hugely rewarding way to get through 12 months.
I really do have to learn the knack of picking when a gig starts though. The Tuning Fork is totally reliable, I know when I can be tucked up in bed with my cocoa. The Wine Cellar is more millennial in its timekeeping, the phrase 'show starts' has a much more nuanced meaning here. But one of the nice things about arriving too soon is the realisation that half of the hipster millennials hanging out at the bar are in fact the band.
But on to the show itself, once it did begin it was a cracker. Gareth Thomas opened with a collection of guitar pop tunes that veered from the boppy to the funk to the avant garde to the dark and Doors-inspired. Best moments, were 'All eyes in the room', 'Feel alright', 'Gone cold' and 'So long', which closed the set. Worth the price alone. Jed acknowledges him early in the set as one of his songwriting heroes - I totally see why.
Jed Parsons is a multi instrumental performer who has supported countless musicians. Tonight he's performing in his own right, showcasing some fun guitar rock of his creation. Turns out he can sing too, powerful and melodic and an infectious warmth.
Halfway through his second song, performed solo, a guy walks up to Gareth Thomas who is standing right in front of me, and says "he's not that good". Gareth laughs and hands him something, and I can't work out what. I think it was a guitar pick, because next minute he's up on the stage to finish off the song as it steps up a gear. Some great numbers with a quirky edge throughout the set, 'PlayStation and porn', 'Change your dream', 'Everybody's stupid' and 'Get lost' to name a few.
It's a warm and engaging performance, one that deserves a growing following. He's genuinely chuffed at the people that have come to hear him, after travelling up from the south for the gig. Moses, the bassist, says a great slogan for Auckland would be 'It's just warmer'. Works for me.