In Review: Violent Femmes At The St James Theatre
A blistering (pun intended) set from the iconic alt outfit and a well deserved return to form.
Set list8
Sound quality8
  • Played the hits
  • Sounded great
  • Showing no signs of age
  • Drunk woman threw up near my shoes
7.3Overall Score
Reader Rating: (0 Votes)

The St James Theatre was packed to max with drunk parents, who escaped the kids long enough to enjoy a night spent reliving the golden age of big hair and synthesizer music – yes I’m talking about the 80s.

They were here for one reason and one reason only, the Violent Femmes.

Usually I’m the drunk one at concert, even when I’m writing about the show I’ll still be drunk. But I had an early morning and I couldn’t handle the thought of being hungover for the third day in a row.

Fortunately, this afforded me the opportunity to see just how reckless parents get when they leave their kids with a sitter for a night.

There was no seating, just standing, as people in their 50’s held each other up, trying not to stumble and fall on one another from excessive intoxication. This amused me, but not as much as the act that was yet to follow.

At around 9.30 pm the lights dimmed down, and the roadies scuttled away backstage as the sound of a loosely tuned guitar playing Blister in the Sun rang out across the audience. A loud cheer was heard throughout the room, as the band appeared.

Lead singer, Gordon Gano, still looked the same as he did 20 years ago. Even Dad remarked “he still looks like a 19-year-old”, yeah a 19-year-old with grey hair and crow’s feet.

The band played their first album in its entirety, with their unique sound and touch it was one experience that I would happily pay for again.

Known as a band who like to mix things up live, their drummer had the stones to use a BBQ as a snare drum (it worked surprisingly well!)

Basset Brian Ritchie delivered an energetic performance as he stole the show multiple times throughout the night with his livewire antics.

Rattling through classics like Add it up to Gone Daddy Gone, there was a constant flow of energy and good vibes, that in turn electrified the crowd, leading to the 5-ft man in front of me taking off his shirt and rolling around on the ground. I don’t even think he was drunk…

The band continued to play songs from ‘Hallowed Ground‘ and even their single from The Crow Soundtrack, Colour me once (a highlight).

A little after the 2-hour mark it was time for the band to leave, not from exhaustion, but because they ran out of songs to play, unless of course they played their new stuff, which let’s be honest, no one listens to the new stuff, and even they knew that. Leaving the show with thanks and gratitude, the Violent Femmes left the stage how they arrived – triumphant.

Violent Femmes – Add It Up (Auckland 2016)

About The Author

Bill Hames

Auckland via Brooklyn. Sometimes I write for a living. Sometimes I don't..

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