Dave Dobbyn and Don McGlashan at Union Chapel

Going fast forward and we’re in early December. Non-Kiwi readers may ask ‘who on Earth Dave Dobbyn and Don McGlashan are?’ and I would have asked the same question if I wasn’t into NZ music that much. To be honest, I found out about Dave Dobbyn’s existence about three years ago, when Flight of the Conchords invited him to sing with them in a charity song “Feel inside (and stuff like that)” (the song starts from 10:15, but it’s worth to watch the interviews with the kids). He was big in the 80’s and now he’s a legend in Kiwi music industry.

Don McGlashan is another Kiwi music giant, whose career started in the 80’s as one half of a music/theatre duo The Front Lawn. Now he plays solo and with a band called The Seven Sisters in which plays Chris O’Connor, the drummer of my favourite NZ band, The Phoenix Foundation. So as you can see, everything is somehow connected with either Conchords or TPF.

Two great Kiwis in London was something not to be missed, even if I didn’t know all their songs, but I knew it’d be a fun evening. And I did very much enjoy the concert. Union Chapel was full of Kiwis singing along the songs they knew for more than 20 years.

For me, the highlight was The Front Lawn’s song ‘Andy’. A few years ago, back in my small home town, when I was listening to this song and loving it, if someone told me that I would hear it live some day performed by Don McGlashan himself, I’d say that person was crazy… or I’d want to know how and when it would happen. Amazing what twists and turns life can take, even when it seems like nothing happens, when we look from a short distance. It was quite an emotional moment when I recognized the song and I don’t know how I managed to record it.

I was absolutely impressed by Don and his multi-instrumental skills!

The first part of the show was just them two playing each other’s songs and for the second part they were joined by two more musicians. Here’s Dave Dobbyn’s ‘Whaling’ with the complete band.

You did notice the Christmas Tree in the left corner? Yes, holiday was just round the corner.

6 December, 2013

Wellington International Ukulele Orchestra at Union Chapel

I had never thought that I would see Wellington International Ukulele Orchestra on the Northern Hemisphere, but they were invited to the Edinburgh Fringe this year, hit the goal on Pledge Me (NZ version of Kickstarter) to get the funds for the trip and gave one off sold out show in London on 29th August on their way back home after performing for over a month at the Festival.

I couldn’t believe I would see them on stage at Union Chapel where I had already seen Glen Hansard, Kimbra, Andy McKee and in December am going to see two NZ music legends, Dave Dobbyn and Don McGlashan.

I went to see WIUO with V., my best companion in watching Kiwi acts. I was coming late straight from work, but luckily V. could come earlier and thanks to her we had great seats in the second row right in the centre. It was no photo, no filming restriction show, but I managed to lift my camera high enough to film something and I’m happy I did that. Some things are worth risking to save them.

The show was in two parts. The first part was mostly the songs from their latest EP, I Love You and well known hits. The second part were new songs or the songs they’ve performed live for many years, but haven’t released yet. Flawless performances, brilliant audience, some people hassled the band to play “Common People”, which WIUO finally did, some people danced, even almost took over the stage for a moment. All in all, everything in atmosphere of great family and friends festivity and fun.

Paul Simon’s “50 Ways To Leave Your Lover” was the last song of part 1, that’s why I got braver and when I heard new tunes I turned my camera on.

This was my highlight of the concert: Stevie Nicks & Tom Petty’s “Stop Draggin’ My Heart Around”

I didn’t know where to point my camera, because there was A LOT happening on stage during this song – Salt ‘n’ Pepa’s “Push It”

This is almost the end of the show. Thank yous, introducing the band and because I wanted to film the whole band, I lifted my camera too high and got noticed by the Chapel staff. That’s why it’s not the whole song: David Kilgour’s “Today Is Gonna Be Mine”

In the videos you can notice a hooded person on the right. She was filming the show, so let’s hope that there are going to be some official videos from WIUO.

After the show I was able to talk to Gemma, Megan, Nige and Age. I was wondering if they’d remember their Polish fan they met in Wellington two years ago. When I came up to Gemma, she welcomed me, ‘Sylwia!’ and gave me a big hug. When I saw Age and told him, ‘Greetings from Poland!’ he said, ‘I remember you!’. He said they were planning to come back next year and have a proper UK tour and I almost ended up being their manager when he saw my enthusiasm. No connections, though. 😉

To sum up the evening,

Guitar Masters at Union Chapel

Kimbra’s concert wasn’t the last show I went to in 2012. Two weeks later, on October 7th, I saw Guitar Masters: Jon Gomm, Preston Reed and Andy McKee at Union Chapel, again. I guess this is my favourite venue. 🙂

All three guitarists are champions in fingerstyle guitar, which my friend Piotr Krepec mastered as well.

That Sunday, I was working till 7:30pm, so I was late for Jon Gomm and got there soon after Preston Reed started his set. But I won’t hide that I was there just to see Andy McKee. His Drifting has over 47.5 million views on YouTube! He played it, of course as well as some new songs but it was Rylynn that made my eyes wet. Listen to it yourself and fall in love with his music…

When Andy finished, Preston and Jon joined him and this is an example of what was happening on stage during the last part of the show.

I was sitting in the balcony and the quality of the audio isn’t the best, but if you want to listen to it anyway, then here it is.

Andy McKee has just announced his tour dates for 2014. He’ll be travelling practically all around the world and won’t miss Union Chapel in London. I’ve already bought my ticket to his show in March.

Kimbra at Union Chapel

The evening before I go to Union Chapel to see another NZ band there, let me write about who I saw there on September 19th last year.

Another week passed by after seeing Lawrence Arabia and I teamed up again with V. to see one more Kiwi artist with her. It was the future winner of Album of the Year, Best Female Solo Artist and International Achievement 2012 Vodafone NZ Awards. I think she’s the best known for singing with Gotye Somebody That I Used To Know.

I don’t usually mention supporting acts, but this guy was really special. I must confess that I enjoyed his performance more than Kimbra’s. I guess I like people not making too much noise on stage, just a guitar and good songs are enough.

Cody ChesnuTT

Kimbra gave a great show. She has an amazing voice and looked pretty like a doll. You don’t really expect from her to be such a dynamic person on stage. At the same time, she was very modest and timid between the songs.

Settle Down – I found out about Kimbra when Jemaine from FOTC posted this music video on the Conchords’ MySpace. I’m sure many FOTC fans discovered her the same way.

Withdraw – an encore, lovely finale, my favourite song of her set that night.

And tomorrow – a reUnion with the Wellington International Ukulele Orchestra! They’re coming straight from the Edinburgh Fringe and giving a SOLD OUT show at Union Chapel. I had never suspected that I’d be able to see them outside of New Zealand and here they are!

Glen Hansard at Union Chapel, London

September was busy with live shows every week. On 4th September, I went to see Glen Hansard who is an exception in my live act preferences. He’s an Irish songwriter, musician, busker who won together with Marketa Irglova an Oscar for the Best Song Falling Slowly from a movie called Once (now turned in to an award winning musical). Marketa and him played the main characters in the movie, formed Swell Season and released two albums. Here’s Glen performing Falling Slowly with Eddie Vedder. If you still don’t know who Glen is, Bruce Springsteen can introduce him to you. I can’t hear you asking who Bruce Springsteen is!

Glen has his band The Frames, but this show I went to was in support the release of his debut solo album, Rhythm and Repose. It extended any expectations I had had. It was magical and simple. Glen has this amazing ability to make you feel that his show is an old friends’ meeting. There was so much love and respect almost physically flowing from the audience onto stage and back again.

Usually, the order of coming on stage is that the band comes out first, starts playing and the star of the evening comes out and starts singing. It wasn’t like that in this case. Glen came out together with the band, sat down behind the keys and started the concert.

Someone recorded almost the whole show and put it on YouTube. And here’s another one. Excellent quality!

So many great songs performed! My favourite ones from Once – When Your Mind’s Made Up and Leave, from his solo album Love, Don’t Leave Me Waiting, The Frames’ Fitzcarraldo and Van Morrison cover Astral Weeks – until a string snaped and beyond!

My favourite moments of the show:

When Glen was left alone on stage and asked us to be his choir, because this venue was perfect for this song. We became an angelic choir in In These Arms (and then again in Back Broke).

I hate Glen for writing Bird Of Sorrow. Every time I listen to this song, streams of tears flow from my eyes uncontrollably. I don’t remember how many tissues I used then. But I wasn’t the only one who was sitting in the puddle of tears.

Something to leave you with positive thoughts – This Gift.

No one wanted this concert to finish, neither Glen did and he prolonged his last song as much as possible. What an evening!

I hope you’ll look him up.