Fur Patrol, Napier New Zealand, 2022

Fur Patrol

26th August 2022
Paisley Stage, Napier, New Zealand.

Review by Rob Harbers. Photography by Hayley Munro.

On a wet and dreary evening, Fur Patrol marked the 21st birthday of Lydia and her entourage (aka the “Pet” album) with a barnstorming show at Napier’s funkiest little venue, Paisley Stage, that brought new life to familiar tunes and left the audience truly satisfied.

Support act Soft Plastics warmed things up with a set of atmospheric tunes embodying the quiet/loud dynamic, with a nice touch of fuzz (I’m always a fan of fuzz, as my regular audience would know) – I’d say more if I had taken more notes, but suffice it to say I’ll be checking them out further, and you should too!

Following a suitable delay for roadie futzing etc, Fur Patrol came to the stage with a minimal degree of fuss, and proceeded to play as if the last 20+ years never happened. I’ve seen Julia solo a few times over the past couple of years courtesy of the impresario Jamie Macphail, and as much as she brings to such intimate performances (and it is a lot), it was obvious that this is her first love. The dynamic of playing with the band draws on a different energy, perhaps with less potential to scare the ladies of Marlborough, and allows her to make more noise, which she clearly enjoys.

But of course this is a band first and foremost – don’t let’s fall in to the tired cliche of considering the lead singer to be all there is! On bass, Andrew Bain demonstrated a mastery of maintaining a solid bottom end, while drummer Simon Braxton veered from power to restraint, as necessary. Guest appearances on guitar for selected numbers by album producer David Long provided additional texture and dynamics.

As for the songs themselves, if you know the album, you know the songs! After an acapella Led Zeppelin sample, it was straight in to the driving energy of ‘Andrew’, kicking things off with a bang, before running through the full album, (including the inevitable, because it was the thing then, hidden track), in sequence. There was a noticeably harder edge to the delivery than on the original material, making it more obvious where some of the original influences lay – a slightly dirtier background than may be obvious from a casual listen! With the sequencing following that of the album, this meant that crowd favourite, and sing-along opportunity, ‘Lydia’ came up earlier in proceedings than such a well-known song sometimes might – and it’s to their credit that that they didn’t fuck around with the playing order to manipulate audience reaction.

With this consistency of approach, inevitably the deeper cuts of the album formed a solid second half of the show. Traditionally the back end of an album, harking back to the days when they had two sides (!) is where the more experimental songs were to be found. In this case it means that the more atmospheric material was presented as a bloc – and it benefited from this treatment instead of being cut up and interspersed (or even ignored!), as can sometimes be the ignominious fate of the rear-dwellers.

But all too soon this journey through a glorious past was done, and the wraith-like figure of Lydia returned to the stage for an acapella audience-assisted rendition, closing out proceedings and sending the capacity crowd off with a song in their hearts and a new band to check out (for those who’ve forgotten, Soft Plastics was their name!). Another great hosting by the Paisley crew – after three weeks running it’s beginning to feel a bit like my second home!

Were you there at Paisley Stage for this rockin’ performance? Or have you seen Fur Patrol perform live somewhere else before? Tell us about it in the comments below!

Set List:
  1. Andrew
  2. Holy
  3. Now
  4. Loaded
  5. Lydia
  6. Hauling You Around
  7. Not Your Girl
  8. Spinning A Line
  9. Two Days
  10. Brightest Star
  11. Short Way To Fall
  12. Man In A Box
  13. Bottles & Jars
  14. Lydia [A cappella Reprise]
  15. Beautiful [encore]

Note: Ambient Light was provided passes to review and photograph this concert. As always, this has not influenced the review in any way and the opinions expressed are those of Ambient Light’s only. 

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