#36 Anthonie Tonnon and the Successors, Lot 23

6 April 2018


Lot 23 is a café and gallery tucked away in Eden Terrace with a studio out the back, near the Dominion Rd flyover. I've been there before, back in 2014 when Jacinda Ardern's army of door knockers got their election day briefing, when she was standing for Auckland Central - not a great outcome on the day, Jacinda came close but was beaten by the new electoral boundaries that robbed her of the Grey Lynn stronghold. Three years later, she was the Mt Albert candidate, Labour Party leader and the rest is history.


So putting 2014 behind me, Lot 23 is actually a great performance space, big enough for a crowd of 80 or so with high ceilings to create a sense of scale.

The crowd are quite a contrast compared to the the Wine Cellar last night. Older on average, artsy, well dressed, Friday night professionals looking for an experience. Definitely not just hanging out at a gig.

Sandy Mill and Dianne Swann opened with a few numbers, soulful and acoustic with a captivating blend of guitars in their sound. A single is on the way which should be looked out for. Quite a treat to have them kick off the evening.

Then Anthonie Tonnon comes on. Dry ice, melodic synth, jangly guitar, heartfelt singing and driving bass. What's not to like?

He's performing with the Successors - a backing band that includes one Stuart Harwood on drums, who I once shared an office space with. He made an e-bike for his girlfriend which included a collection of carefully wired rechargeable batteries wrapped in leopardskin fabric. Genius, and he plays drums. Way cool. 

A highlight was 'With her two free hands' with Elizabeth Stokes on trumpet, adding a tone that began as contemplative but became soaring as it progressed.

The songs have a Don McGlashan quality of storytelling but with dramatic sense of movement that envelops the performance. 

His connection with the crowd is tangible. At one point we all raise both fists in the air and pledge with him 'I will control the technology, I will not let the technology control me.'

Tonnon uses the silences between songs to dramatic effect, it's not just about the songs themselves but about the continuity and deliberate discontinuity of the transitions, that all combine for the concert experience. And, yes, it was an experience, not just a gig.