Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Fly My Pretties IV CD/DVD Package

Review published in the Groove Guide April 2012

Fly My Pretties IV - five stars - by Tim Gruar

Every FMP project tops the last, introducing to us new and emerging arts, both musically and visually. This time around we hear from Aaron Tokona (Cairo Knife Fight), the stunning Amiria Grenell, Basist Fran Kora (who also plays the koauau for Grenell), Banjo maestro Justin 'Firefly' Clarke and taste the work of the immensely talented graphic artist Flox (aka Hayley King). Flox opens the show by spraying a stencil on an old school overhear projector and sets up the mood for the tracks to come, the first being Weir's own "Doorstep Blues" and into the animated postage stamps in the following "Dr Plumb". Whilst the music is a breathtaking set of originals, showcasing every artist in the collective, the strength of this cd/dvd is in the sum of whole. The vid is a mixes the live show and Flox's graphics, which on stage dominate a huge back screen. Production and sound are crystal clear, spot on, preserving the mood and magic on stage This, of course, was entirely planned from the beginning. I can remember at the Wellington show being coaxed by Weir to 'cheer louder' for the recording. That's still ringing in my ears. If you missed the live show, don't fret - this package will give you a front row seat and a backstage pass. Treasure it.

Show Review from last Novemenr 2012 - Published in Groove Guide November 2012
Fly My Pretties IV – St James Theatre 19 November 2011  By Tim Gruar

Out front, prior to curtain up, ‘Flox’ (Hayley King) is whipping up one of her iconic native bird creations with a discarded card and spray cans. Inside, her art will be animated by on a million foot projection screen that completely covers the back of the stage dwarfing everyone and enfolding the music into a trademark mix of native bird anthems and Kiwiana.

Barnaby Weir kicks off with his two new tunes “Door Step Blues” and the rockin’ little “Dr Plum”, graphically accompanied philatelist theme. Returning to the FMP stage Lauren Mitchell, decked out in a smokin’ hot cat suit, pulls out a couple soulful numbers ‘Apple Heart’ and ‘You know now’ (from her recent Concept EP serries).

Then, one of the highlights was ‘Newbie’ folk singer Amiria Grenell who fronted up with a special electric guitar constructed for wood recycled from the Christchurch earthquake. “Three Feathers” the title from her recent release, about a recent cancer sufferer, was sweet, sentimental and gave goose bumps, even with the big band treatment.

And speaking of treats, it was brilliant to see back the ever versatile Anna Coddington, who shone all night, especially on “underneath the stars” from her latest, Cat and Bird. Paired up with Mitchell, it was clear these two honeys were having a ball on stage.

With so many of the 16 strong cast from the shaky city we were reminded of the event, especially with Fran Kora’s gut wrenching “Am I Gonna Make it” which opens desperately with a recording of a mobile going permanently to answer phone .

Flip Grater added her own Steve Nicks flourish, in a long flowing black gown and a forceful ballad “I Am Gone” which she introduced as a wee promo for her cookbook, “now available at Whitcoulls. Even my mum shops there!”

“Dear Wellington,” announced auburn haired country chanteuse Eva Prowse, ”I bloody love ya, signed EP”. Then she broke our hearts by announcing she’s heading back to London on Tuesday. As it might be some time before hear that curvaceous alto again her contribution, “Space Cadet’ , was extra special

“I’m the professional awkward guy,” declares Justin ‘Firefly’ Clarke. His presence on stage harks back to the pioneer spirit of the earlier FMP shows with banjos, mandolin and a soft and ironic song ‘Please’. Despite the bumbling , the audience revel in the performance, cheering wildly at the end in encouragement.

A welcome return to the FMP stage was original Age Pryor who again showed of his skills and lispy vocals with ‘Folding Over.’

Class clown Aaron Tokona (Cairo Knife Fight) was hilarious on stage, like of Taika Waititi’s character ‘Boy’ , and impressive with his OTT guitars on one of his own tunes, “Ode To The World” and, later with a blazing rendition of “Lets Roll”.

A quick room survey, and a non-scientific poll at interval, told me this audience included a large number of younger types, experiencing the FMP concept for the first time. I got a sense that despite some of the early fans drifting off, or put off by the ticket price, or in some cases couldn’t get a babysitter, there was still plenty of love in the room. Weir reminded us they were filming and recording for a release in February, with the faithful Dr Lee Prebble on the 67 channel mix disk.

Back after a break, the second half is a fantastic two song sampler from the ‘band with in a band’, the Nudge (Ryan Prebble, Iraia Whakamoe and James Coyle) and run through a selection of faves from mainly FMP’s #1 and #3, including a star spot from the ‘Pryor Choir’, an all male six guitar rendition of “Singing in my Soul’

When Weir read out the list of sponsors and ‘thanksyous’ I was reminded of the juggernaut the FMP has become. Yet the show still felt intimate, fresh and wholly owned by the artist’s sense of fun, creativity and collaboration. The great thing about this concept now is the familiarity and the anticipation that you will be entertained as you’re introduced to new talents. Every time I see one of these I come away satisfied with the buzz few other events can deliver.

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