#49 Tami Neilson, Auckland Town Hall

4 August 2018


Perched in the circle, right above the stage - it's a great position for observing the Miltones  busting their ass in the support act to warm up a sitting audience. And to give the band their due, by the time their penultimate song came up, Wildfire, the crowd was doing a lot more than humming along.

The main act opened with black ties and dresses across the band, and Tami Neilson in a resplendent sky blue dress with tassels, and singing in the sweet spot of Amy Winehouse and Emmylou Harris meeting Ella Fitzgerald.

This was not a night for standing by your man, it was a night for stand outta the way and outta my business. Neilson's latest album, Sassafrass, is an unashamedly feminist tirade against the reactionaries of this day and age, one that takes on stereotypes about parenthood and women in the workforce, and also celebrates the strengths and achievements of women everywhere, including our own PM. It was also a show that had plenty of love and compassion, and was especially directed to generations across her family.

Her band supported, shone and lifted the roof, a perfect accompaniment to Neilson's searing vocals, hilarious storytelling and unmissable presence. It was a night that both rocked and raged, that drew energy from the crowd and returned it with interest.