The only time I had seen this lot previously, I had suffered a bout of limp-wristed bad-pint-induced foppishness and ‘watched’ the gig from a seat at the back, my head in my hands, so I was determined to get more for my money this time. Never been to the Barfly, but it’s brilliant – basically a room above a pub, holding no more than a couple of hundred. It was half-full, nearly all Kiwis, and it was evident from talking to the band in the bar beforehand (that’s the great thing about gigs this size), that this was a make-or-break tour to try and crack the UK market. I hadn’t thought much of ‘Fiji Baby’, which we had purchased a few months previously whilst on holiday in NZ – there was no anthem like ‘Green’ and at least half of the album sounded like filler to me. Live however, I began to see the point of it. They were even tighter and more energetic than last time, and the new ones came across really well. ‘Buck It Up’ and ‘Lucy’ were particularly good, easily rubbing shoulders with the masterful ‘Sophie’, ‘Blowing Dirt’ and ‘of course the ‘Green’ from ‘Good’. They threw in a cover of ‘Stay If You Want To’ by Pixies, as a nod to one of their more obvious influences.
The missus and I were right at the front, under singer Rodney’s nose. Probably too old for that sort of carry on, but who gives a fuck eh? He’s a little on the silly side, which irks me somewhat, I have to say. I prefer my musicians aloof and earnest, so clowning around on stage just rubs me up the wrong way sometimes. Anyway, a minor niggle – he’s a great singer though, which is what really matters. As last time though, it was the keyboardist/bassist that stole the show and they were very well received by the partisan crowd. I hoped that there were some record company ears there to get the message.