Jakob, Napier New Zealand, 2022


1st October 2022
Paisley Stage, Napier, New Zealand.

Review by Rob Harbers. Photography by Mark Derricutt.

Noise. Perhaps the purest means of expression in musical endeavour. For how better does the human spirit express itself, than in the utterance of noise? From the minute we are born, it is with noise that we communicate. While eventually this noise constitutes itself in to words, there are the times when no words can express what it is we feel, and it is in extremis that pure guttural noise bursts forth, saying far more in a short space of time than any words can. Think of the means by which we express appreciation of a great performance on the stage or on the sports field – there’s nothing as immediate as the applause, the cheers, the roar of the crowd! Similarly in times of great anguish, pain, be it emotional, physical or mental, finds expression in cries, screams, and other outpourings.

In music, as structured as a composition may be, often the real expression can be found in the unstructured bits – the solos, the wordless vocal improvisations, and the like. Think of the opening chord of “Hard Day’s Night”, the wordless harmonies of the Beach Boys in their prime, the outright howl of Jimi Hendrix’s “Star Spangled Banner” – these and many more examples illustrate the ways in which sound serves as a conduit for the otherwise inexpressible. I’ve written before of the power of noise as expression, but on this night Hawkes Bay’s own high priests of noise gathered the faithful for a sound bath of utter purity, with the hallowed hall of the Paisley Stage constituting the night’s temple.

Support act Bysshe Blackburn commenced proceedings, with a set of intricately played acoustic guitar numbers – all served without the benefit of words (during their playing, that is – Bysshe had quite a bit to say for himself between pieces!). Dos-Ovni then brought a set of their simultaneously haunted and haunting songs, which did have words, and an intriguingly atmospheric sound that marks them out as something both different and worth watching out for.

Shortly after, the main act took the stage, in a blaze of purple that would’ve done the sadly deceased occupant of Paisley Park proud. The acolytes lapped up the musical outpourings, set going by the first two tracks off the “Solace” album, “Malachite” and the propulsive “Pneumonic” which got things kicking along nicely. The latter displayed an evolution in the guitar solo, quite understandable in material that is now 16 years old!

The set then proceeded to range across the recorded output, from 2001’s “Subsets of Sets” through to 2014’s “Sines”, and even further forward to some as-yet unrecorded tracks. These were interspersed throughout by vocal interjections from the loquacious Maurice, a notable one being a comment on the venue’s disappearing furniture – or from his line of sight in any case, the crowd having largely taken to their feet and moved forward, obscuring the collection of luxuriant loungeware that is one of the trademarks of the Paisley Stage!

I’m not going to bore those of you still reading with a track-by-track rundown of the set, you can read that below – but one of the ones that stood out for me was the optimistically-titled “Nice Day For An Earthquake”, the one that first made the band appear on my radar, with its regular appearances on the long-lost C4 channel many years ago, in its period of attempting to be Aotearoa’s answer to MTV, or something like that! From the other end of the chronology, the two new numbers – “A Final Theory” and “Consonance” whetted the appetite for the next album, due to be recorded early in the new year, and displayed some interesting elements, marking a further evolution in the Jakob sound. We were told that we were the first to hear these – an honoured position for the hometown audience! But then he probably says that to all the audiences, who knows…

An extended “Resolve” led in to the closer “Controle” with its fadeout allowing the fading Richie Jackman to return to his crypt, and for all those gathered to return to the mundane, having received the annual Jakobean catharsis, and with a new album to look forward to. A top night once more, which even the rain persisting down on the province all weekend fails to dampen the experience of! Until next time lads…

Were you there at Paisley Stage for this superb home town performance? Or have you seen Jakob perform live somewhere else before? Tell us about it in the comments below!

Set List:

Jakob Setlist

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. This post contains an affiliate link. If you purchase a product using an affiliate link, Ambient Light will automatically receive a small commission at no cost to you.

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