Auckland-based songwriter (and the brother of Television host Phil Keoghan) who has come to prominence with the release of his debut album Arctic Tales Divide, which was nominated for the prestigious Taite Music Prize in April 2012. Keoghan has toured as part of the Lawrence Arabia backing band and is a skilled multi-instrumentalist, playing piano, violin, guitar and singing.
At St Michael and All Angels Church, Friday July 13th 2012
With the release of his third album under the Lawrence Arabia pseudonym, Christchurch-native songwriter James Milne decided a special opening show was in order. St Michael and All Angels is one of the most majestic Churches left in our shaky city, the walls strong and comforting and formed from great arches of unbeatable wood. The venue itself had an ethereal vibe which suits both Milne’s music as Lawrence Arabia, but also opening act Andrew Keoghan.
Keoghan has been making great strides himself as a songwriter in recent years. His debut album Arctic Tales Divide has received a lot of praise since its release last year, picking up a Taite Music Prize nomination along the way (an award Milne himself won in the inaugural 2010 competition). Keoghan plays guitar, piano and violin – often looping layers of sound to create evocative arrangements that envelop. According to Keoghan the album’s central theme is that of escape and longing for isolation – yet the warmth of his music feels comforting and drew in an appreciative audience.
With The Sparrow, Lawrence Arabia has an expanded sound, utilizing a string quartet both on the album and in this enchanting live show. An excellent live band augment Milne’s charming melodies and dynamic musical arrangements. The show was broken up into parts, Milne labelling the first handful of songs ‘Side A’ of the album (performed in order throughout the show), with a handful of oldies bridging the gap before ‘Side B’ finished off the evening. Milne is witty throughout the evening – the somber Bicycle Riding and album highlight The Bisexual standing out as key songs. I hope we see more shows in this terrific venue.