All Seeing Hand, Seth Frightening and Yvnalesca

Seth Frightening
Seth Frightening
All Seeing Hand
All Seeing Hand

First in a series of 4 excellent gigs at the Darkroom over ANZAC day weekend. Wellington Groups All Seeing Hand and Seth Frightening supported by mellow local beat maker Yvnalesca.

Click here for the complete photo set on Flickr.

Mount Eerie at the Wunderbar w/ Seth Frightening

Mount Eerie
Mount Eerie

In 2001 the then Olympia, Washington based group The Microphones would release what would become their most critically acclaimed release – the phenomenal double-album ‘The Glow Pt. 2’. Receiving rave revues and even topping influential independent taste-making magazine Pitchfork’s end-of-year album list, the album was at the time the best indication of Phil Elverum’s considerable talent as a singer, songwriter and producer.

Elverum was essentially the only core member of the group, and with 2003’s thematically appropriate album ‘Mount Eerie’ (the narrative of the album involves Elverum death, before discovering the face of the Universe) he decided to conclude the group, with subsequent material released under the name Mount Eerie. This new moniker implies a more solitary approach from Elverum, and also emphasises Elverum’s connection to outdoors, evoking scenes of foggy mountain-tops, rustling wind and dark nights.

Touring New Zealand under the Mount Eerie name before concluding at the excellent annual festival Camp A Low Hum – Elverum played a terrific show at Lyttelton’s Wunderbar, ably supported by Wellington-based singer-songwriter Seth Frightening. With audience members attentively crowding around the stage, Elvrum ran through 12 songs of sheer beauty and feeling. Most songs came from the thematically-separated recent albums ‘Clear Moon’ and ‘Ocean Roar’, but a few earlier numbers were thrown in for good measure.

Mount Eerie at Camp A Low Hum
Mount Eerie at Camp A Low Hum

Elverum played shimmery 12-string guitar, occasionally tempered with bursts of loud reverb, whilst his soft, boyish vocals weaved stories on top. From the softer, welcoming sounds of Clear Moon to the dark and tumultuous scenes of Ocean’s Roar – Elverum is a master of evoking imagery and feeling. I had the great pleasure of catching Mount Eerie a further two times on the tour, with Elverum consistently delighting crowds.

Seth Frightening, Glass Vaults, Disasteradio!

Seth Frightening at Darkroom
Seth Frightening at Darkroom

After last nights late night at the Brewery it was nice to get to a venue like Darkroom to catch Seth Frightening and Glass Vaults in a more welcoming environment. The Archive (Darkroom’s parent building which also houses Galaxy Records and the new RDU permanent studio) is quickly becoming one of my favorite places, with great shows, warm hosts, fantastic drinks, home-made snacks and brilliant events.

Glass Vaults at Darkroom
Glass Vaults at Darkroom

Seth Frightening carried on from last night, reveling the crowd in their fuzzy, involving and enveloping sound. Glass Vaults were again top-notch, drawing the crowd forward with their hypnotic sound, driven by that killer percussion (though I did have to rescue the floor tom from collapsing mid-set).

Disasteradio! at Darkroom
Disasteradio! at Darkroom

Returning to Christchurch for the first time in a long while and after a European tour and Internet semi-stardom (have you seen all those remakes of his ‘gravy rainbow’ video?), Disasteradio! was a bit ill, but soldiered one like a trooper, with his usual self-depreciating humor and fantastic stage performance. The vocally driven numbers like the classic ‘hotline‘ and the brilliant ‘no pulse‘ were particular crowd favorites, with Zak (of Bang Bang Eche / Teen Fortress) filling in on vocals for Christina. Great fun, as is the new album ‘Charisma’, available as a pay-what-you-want purchase – even the vinyl LP!

Zak (Teen Fortress) performing backups vocals for D-Rad
Zak (Teen Fortress) performing backups vocals for D-Rad

Check out the rest of the photos here.

Valdera, Glass Vaults and Seth Frightening

Valdera at the Brewery
Valdera at the Brewery

Thursday night at the Brewery. Local lad James Musgrave opened up playing a solo set under his Valdera moniker (which is sometimes a duo). Laid-back layered guitar and vocals, including a take on Antony Johnson’s take on Beyonce (which led to a bit of a side-of-stage sing-a-long).

Glass Vaults are something else. There the guys who can hear everything. Who layer up guitar, bass, keys and other noises into a Maelstrom of sugar-syrupy sweet sound that just sounds perfect. Cracking songs, some excellent one-drum percussion and great vocal harmonies. Probably the best band in Wellington these days.

Seth Frightening at the Brewery
Seth Frightening at the Brewery

Seth Frightening also layered things up, with looped vocals, beat-up guitars and even the odd screamy moment to wake up the less attentive punters. Glad I hung around for the whole show.

Click here for the rest of my photos from the night.