On a cool, Saturday evening, Wellington’s favorite dive bar MOON opened its doors to MADEIRA and girlboss. Given the music that these two singer-songwriters have crafted to date, expectations were that the show would be very intimate. The opposite was true to delight of the few hundred people in attendance.
The headliner this night was MADEIRA. Featured a few times in our space, including a review of her terrific debut EP Bad Humors, Kim Pflaum’s solo project has expanded to a full four-piece ensemble. The additions of an extra guitar, bass, and a live drummer (as oppose to a drum machine) brought life to her songs. Instead of the shimmering qualities heard on the recorded version, her music was transformed into the bursting and anthemic pop of the ’80s. MOON, as such, was similarly changed from a bar to a night club.
“Manipulator”, “Oracle Horoscope”, and “Come On Thru”, in particular, benefited from the expansive sound and accelerated pace. Pflaum also played a couple of other songs, including Boycrush’s “Flirt”, for which she sang lead vocals. Pflaum and her band, too, were absorbed in the music with the pint-sized frontwoman moving around the same stage and into the audience. For forty-five minutes, visions of a young Olivia Newton-John or Kylie Minogue danced in our heads.
Opening for MADEIRA was girlboss, which is the project of Lucy Botting, the former member of synth-pop duo Wet Wings. Like many bedroom projects, her early recordings were immensely personal and have a whisper-like quality, such as on “Kind Face”. On this night and like Pflaum, Botting was backed by a three-piece band, who brought new life to girlboss’ songs. In place of the sombre notes was a vibrant brand of surf pop-rock. The jangly notes and extended jams were reminiscent of Real Estate and Best Coast. The stories about growing up and missing loved ones, however, were akin to Alvvays’ enduring songs. Through their seven-song set, which included a cool, summery instrumental, the audience danced like they were at a beach party.
Botting did not reveal when she will be releasing new material, but hopefully it will be very soon. She’s a young Kiwi to definitely watch.
In the meantime, go get MADEIRA’s Bad Humors, which is available via Carpark Records and her Bandcamp page. It is also available on iTunes (US | CAN | UK), Amazon (US | UK), and eMusic. Alternatively, stream it on Spotify or SoundCloud.
Photos of the gig (more below) are provided by Dan Robinson of Soul Photography.
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