Live Review: Ladi6 + Electric Wire Hustle at The Gaelic presented by Niche Productions
It was a rainy Saturday night here in Sydney but inside the Gaelic Club in Surry Hills, New Zealand’s finest Soul trio Electric Wire Hustle were definitely heating things up. I arrived with impeccable timing - just as EWH began their set. As much as I adore these guys, having caught onto them in 2009 when they released their self titled debut album & it started getting love on many blogs, I was not too sure what to expect from their live show. After all, there had been a few NZ bands who I’d loved on their recordings but had failed to deliver in their live shows. Thankfully, EWH came with the goods in their live show. They were captivating, and I found myself intrigued by the full sound that was being created by these 3 kiwis (Mara TK, David “Taay Ninh” Wright & Myele Manzanza), and their utilising of keys, MPC, guitar, bass & drums. Lead vocalist Mara TK is an unlikely front man, not being overly attention hungry but having a quietly intriguing persona that keeps your attention, and his silky smooth vocals don’t hurt either. Their set felt almost like you were part of a sublime journey or jam…but without the parts that don’t work and only the parts that do.
After EWH completed their set, I was wondering is it really possible, in this world of auto tuning & underwhelming live performances that 2 acts on one night could actually live up to their hype? I had heard so much about Ladi6 over the years. And to my detriment, I hadn’t paid attention to it. Friends had been sending me links to videos and gushing about her live shows. I hadn’t listened. I must say it was my loss, because this kiwi queen is Aotearoas answer to the legendary Lauryn Hill. Often when you have singer/MCs, I find they fall short in one aspect (for e.g. UK artist Estelle and her barely average vocal skills), but Ladi is equally sharp with her tongue in rhyming skills and has the vocal chops to match. She came on stage in a gold hoody and commanded the audiences attention before she had said a word or sung a note. In contrast to EWH and their smooth dreamy set, Ladi, along with band members Brent Park and Julien Dyne, played a set that was infectiously high energy, however just like EWH this 3 piece also managed to create a fuller than expected sound by utilising various instruments.
This was one of those shows that you didn’t want to end, and although surprisingly not packed out, the room was filled with good vibes and I think everyone there kind of knew they’d been lucky to witness these two bands, that complimented each other so well, in this one room on one night. It’s quite obvious these guys are both headed for huge things - with Electric Wire Hustle booked for the iconic Glastonbury Festival this year and Ladi6 embarking on a European tour. Let’s hope 2011 is the year the world takes note of all the great talent coming out of this side of the world.