Words by Shelley Te Haara. Photography by Shahlin Graves
I arrived to a small and intimate crowd, all bunched up close to the stage, listening to the opening band LEXXA. The group is made up of the twin duo, Maude & Julia Morris, and seemed to have the crowd rather engaged. They couldn’t pull their eyes away. The set seemed quite slow at first, before building to a faster pace and raising the energy for what was to come.
They swapped sides of the stage, noting “we shared a womb, I’m sure we can share instruments” and went into a cover of Paramore’s Hard Times. Despite a few technical issues, LEXXA overcame them with ease, and were urged on by the enthusiastic crowd who kept throwing in class and cheers.
As soon as they departed the stage, some well-known songs came blasting through the speakers. The Coup De Main DJ set was set to keep the crowds energy up, but if anything, it just seemed disappointing. The songs only seemed to play for 30 seconds to a minute before abruptly cutting to the next. This allowed the crowd no time to enjoy the songs and left people a bit upset that their favourite tracks were cut short.
But the crowds’ energy quickly returned as the lights went down. Preceded by an instrumental intro, Against The Current took the stage. Lead vocalist Chrissy Costanza came running on the stage full of energy, getting straight into the track Wild Things. They got the crowd clapping and jumping along instantly, then right before getting into the next track, Chrissy reminded the crowd it was their “first time in NZ” and asked that if they knew it, to sing-a-long to the next song, Blood Like Gasoline.
She definitely kept the crowd involved, asking them to put their hands up and bounce along to the song. Straight after the 3rd track, Paralyzed, a tech jumps on stage to assist drummer Will Ferri. “Third song in and we’ve lost a cymbal!” Chrissy informs the crowd. “She tells the crowd about how the band are stoked to be in NZ and that it’s a “bucket list” place for them. When Will seemed all ready to go again they jumped straight back into it with Forget Me Now and Runaway.
However, it was time to talk food, with Chrissy asking the crowd if they had heard of Lord of the Fries. She is vegan and just had to share how delicious her food was, though the highlight seemed to be the peanut butter shake. Next up was One More Weekend, followed by Chasing Ghosts which involved a crowd sing-a-long. But after they performed Roses, which Chrissy said is her favourite song from In Our Bones, she had to address the song and also what is going on in the world. Roses was originally “supposed to be a break up song” but after writing it, a really good friend of hers passed away and it took on an entirely new meaning. She then addressed the tragedy in the world including the recent Las Vegas shooting in which 58 people died. She told the crowd how they are very grateful to tour and share their music but they also feel useless when they are so far away. Her cousin was injured during the events, but she noted that “we’re alive to have these moments together” which is “something all of us need”. Mentioning how we can all feel a bit different and alone, they went on to play the track Outsiders.
Against the Current then decided to pick up the beat a bit more and a couple of songs later (Dreaming Alone and Brighter) they got the crowd participation going again with Talk. Chrissy instructed the crowd when and what they were going to chant – “Talk, talk, talk!” – and she made sure everyone was involved, especially Lloyd, one of their crew members. The crowd was very loud and the band seemed quite impressed as well. Finally they told the crowd it was that time of the show, last song. It was also the song I was personally waiting to hear, Wasteland.
After the band finished their set, the “one more song” chant started. The band returned quite promptly and played the title track off their recently released debut album, In Our Bones. Then the stories continued. Chrissy spoke about how she knew girls in school who would travel everywhere and she had only ever been to Florida, and now she’s travelling the world. She thanked the crowd before diving into their last song, Gravity, which Chrissy told the crowd was her “favourite song to play live”.
The band waved goodbye, chucked out a few picks/sticks and left the stage, and it was evident that the crowd seemed to have really enjoyed the show, some smiling and still full of energy on the way out.