Words and photography by Shelley Te Haara
I’ve heard a lot about Seamless but have never attended one until now. Held on a Friday night at the Tuning Fork, this show was clearly popular amongst the crowd. Not a lot of shows held in Auckland are all ages but this show welcomed the younger crowd who just wanted to enjoy some good local music. The crowd definitely enjoyed it, as I noticed quite a difference in the way they react with live music. Most gigs I go to these days that are a bit toned down, and generally garner an audience that mainly just stands there enjoying the music. This crowd was keener, getting closer to the stage and dancing quite abruptly. Some of the 18+ crowd also got involved and clearly enjoyed their energy as well, while others enjoyed from a distance.
LEXXA, comprised of twin sister duo Maude and Julia Morris, opened the night. They are clearly an upcoming, well-known duo which was apparent with the crowd interaction and the group of friends they had in the crowd; Maude with a guitar and Julia behind the beats and keys. With one of the tracks they performed, I Got Better Friends Now, a new upbeat song, they encouraged to hug their friends in the crowd. The crowd did just that. Then throwing in a cover, they break out into one of Paramore’s recent singles, Hard Times.
The cover was a bit softer than the original but the crowd enjoyed it, dancing and singing along with the duo. LEXXA liked to mix it up, even changing roles on stage. Julia jumping on the guitar and Maude moving to keys and beats duties. They clearly enjoyed the crowd interaction, telling the crowd that the next track they were about to perform was a make-out track and if they stare at a person in the crowd that their interested in then the person will get the hint.
.hans., Korean hip hop artist Hans (previously Hans K), walks on stage sporting a Manchester United shirt. Providing a change to the show with his sleek rap, good flow and R&B melodies, though occasionally his rhymes came through a bit muffled. .hans. kept the crowd interaction to a minimum, only getting the crowd to chant “ninety-five” with him during his performance of Better (or 1995). I understand hip hop artists having a “DJ” accompaniment on stage, though for me, it seemed to ruin the performance a bit as he seemed more like track/volume control than anything, providing what looked like “fake” adjustments and more computer control. Regardless, the crowd vibed along throughout the performance and with his recent releases I would say he is someone to keep an eye on.
Daffodils was a group that intrigued me as soon as they walked out. The style of lead vocalist Theo Spike Salmon gave me rather 80’s vibes, with my friend pointing out he looked a bit like Kiefer Sutherland in Lost Boys. Daffodils really picked up the pace of the show providing a more upbeat pop performance. Theo has an energetic and passionate stage performance which reminded me of frontman Matt Healy of The 1975. His energy fed the crowd who moved as much as he did. The 4 piece made up of Theo, Jade Bryham (synth, keys, backing vocals, Louis Graham (bass, backing vocals) and Isaac Keating (drums) placed 2nd in the Smokefree Rockquest last year and they are definitely headed up.
Needless to say I didn’t know a few of the acts I was seeing tonight and Merk was no different. He came across a bit shy at first as he and his band made their way on to the stage. But as the performance started that changed. The performance included a bunch of tracks off his recent release Swordfish which some of the crowd seemed very familiar with. The crowd’s energy seemed to pick up more and Merk rewarded that moving closer to the front of the stage and even joining the crowd a couple of times. One of those times his guitar seemed to play up so he dropped it on the ground, grabbed the mic and walked around the crowd. A couple of tracks later he decided he wanted to do that again and this time he joined the crowd with his guitar, leaving the mic behind. The crowd was hyped up and it really added to the performance.
Raiza Biza is one act I had heard of. I had seen him open for David Dallas at his Auckland show. So I was looking forward to his performance. Rwandan rapp
er Raiza Biza has a lot of music and tour experience under his belt and the crowd seemed eager to witness it. He has a smooth flow and his rhymes came through clear and confident. The crowd seemed to know quite a bit of his music, including tracks from his new Day + Night EP. Making sure to acknowledge most of the crowd, he paced the whole stage, acknowledging his friends and the fans that new his words. It goes without saying that Raiza Biza is on the rise in the hip hop and rap scene.
Rising New Zealand act, Theia (Em-Haley Walker) clearly needed no introduction, with the crowd moving forward to get closer to the singer. Even the crowds that had been lingering down the back moved closer. Theia is just as well-known for her fashion as she is for her music; she was dressed in a comfortable, layered look including a PUMA x FENTY oversized hoodie and a floral choker. Even though she has just toured recently for her self-titled EP, she admits to the crowd that she is still a bit nervous – though you would not have noticed. She performed tracks off her new EP but treated the crowd to a mix of 1 of her hit singles Treat You which she mashed up with Drake‘s One Dance. Theia is not afraid to throw in a cover or 2 and tonight was no different. Josh, who was accompanying Theia tonight, jumped behind a “Wurly” (Wurlitzer electric piano) which she called one of her favourite instruments. While he played, she performed a cover of We Might Be Dead By Tomorrow by SoKo. It was more of a slow pace but both he
r and the crowd really got lost in the song. Then to add to an already surprising set she let the crowd know she was going to perform a new track which she had been working on in LA. The track currently titled Fall (Apart) is sure to be a hit when it is officially released to the general public. As to be expected, she ended her set with her well-known hit Roam and the crowd appreciated it. Singing-along and dancing, both the crowd and Theia ended the night on a high.