Broods – Shed 5,Wellington – 17 July 2016

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“Thank you, Wellington,” announced Georgia Nott, midway through tonight’s set.  “Thanks for coming out to see us on such a cold night.  We’ve a full house.  But then this is like a home coming, and, as you probably know, we’re pretty much related to half of New Zealand!”  She was right, it really was a family affair.  And much of the Nott’s extended family – aunts, uncles, mom, dad, even Opa, was ensconced up the back row of tonight’s sell out show.  But it wasn’t just the entourage.  Amongst the audience 10-year-old girls and boys danced with their parents, Mums boogied and Dads staunchly head-nodded along; older siblings mouthed every lyric; Uni students chatted and cheered; and more senior punters grooved along in their own way, making up numbers.  An all ages affair.  The city’s babysitters were all having a night off.

As at Auckland, Georgia took the stage in a dark blue and shimmering fringed kimono.  Her brother Caleb, accompanied by a keyboardist and drummer preferred to lurk at the back behind mission control – a collection of impressively cool small synths, pads and samplers.  Georgia’s delivery of the opening number Conscious was spectacular.  Her voice soared above the melodrama of the song’s digital maelstrom.  Having learned from her Auckland experience she ditched the robe after the first song, revealing a tight fitting sleeveless cat suit and heels.  It was like the Avenger’s Mrs Peel in a blond wig had taken the stage.  The narrow room gave the perfect opportunity to play with the shadows cast by the lights washing cold white across the stage.  All that was missing was the usual carpet of dry ice to enhance her as she strutted backwards and forwards across the stage.  Her image was like a scene from the old classic Nosferatu.  The stark tones stayed throughout Hold The Line and Everytime but later the lights changed to warm reds and steel blues, with simple patterns of white geometric patterns, resembling Tuku Tuku panels and futuristic pyramids, possibly inspired by the Black Light sculptures of Para Matchitt.  Whatever, it was highly effective.

Halfway through the set the siblings quickly depart and return again transformed from all black clothing to whites, Caleb in white trousers and Tee and Georgia in a glamorous one-piece camisole/play suit thing, The influence of living in LA has clearly rubbed off on these two former Nelson kids.  Kiwis are not known for their overt showmanship.  Possibly it’s our tall poppy humbleness but it was great to see something of that tonight with the balance between making an effort and sheer out right gloating held in check. The big angsty Freak of Nature gets a big blast and a huge cheer of appreciation.

Still the most impressive part of the show was their simple ‘open mike-nite’ moments delivering three songs All of Your Glory; Sleep Baby Sleep and a late addition to the set called Taking You Down, at the front of the stage with simply guitar and voice.  For me, personally, if the song can be carried off like this then it’s a strong thing.  And that was definitely the case.  Respect was given, too, when all went so quiet you could hear a pin drop – so much so that the lady in front of me was complaining that the shutter click on my camera was too loud.

Sadly, Lorde wasn’t available to help on Heartlines, which she co-wrote with Broods.  They did this as an acoustic on Jesse Mullin’s show on RNZ on Friday and for me, I thought this worked much better.  Appropriately, the Wellington audience cheered encouragingly for Are You Home?, as if they owned this group (bonds across the Strait to Nelson are strong here).  But they saved their full volume for the closer, and big single, Free and their big break Bridges.  Like Auckland, Broods put on a classy, crystal effort with perhaps a warmer vibe.  As a band they’ve yet to really learn how to bond with their audience, like say Amanda Palmer or Lorde does, but then this team is still working in progress.  Lighting, mood, and delivery were great, if a little clinical.  Georgia is well on her way to becoming a forceful stage presence. She struts about, plays with shadows, her body tensing and releasing like a cat pouncing when she hits the big notes.  She rarely smiles but you can feel her shyness eroding.  Like Chris Lowe (the quiet one in the Pet Shop Boys) Caleb prefers to hide behind his techno toys.  A shame for his female fans – young and old, who openly enjoyed his time at the front of the stage during their acoustic set.  As a package their music, especially live is very much of the moment, so their challenge going forward is to work on variety. Given all that we all hope to see them back in Wellington very soon.

Review originally published on 13th

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