Ambient Music

STÖNER, Auckland New Zealand, 2022


11th November 2022
The Tuning Fork, Auckland, New Zealand

Review by Rene Black, photography by Doug Peters.

Last night the Tuning Fork was buzzing with a solid attendance of stoner rock lovers – a veritable sea of black t-shirts and denim jackets with an excitement in the air of what was to come.

After an absolutely crushing occult doom set from locals Demons At Noon, Mario Lalli and the Rubber Snake Charmers slid mysteriously onto the stage to a Middle Eastern sounding intro easing us into what was to become one of the best sets from a band I’ve seen in some time…

Tonight also featuring Brant Björk and drummer Ryan Gut (both pulling double duties) creating a psychedelic soundscape of fuzz groove and spacious beats while frontman/poet Sean Wheeler exorcized his brilliant and charismatic brand of vocal delivery, initially reminding me of a younger Tom Waits in stature, before showcasing himself as a storyteller and a truly original performer mezmorizing the hungry crowd into a paganistic frenzy of dance and awe.

The set, one long jam session that we are told is different every night and completely off the cuff was truly something dreams were made of and certainly going to be a hard act to follow for anyone!

Next up the main act STÖNER with Brant and Ryan re-emerging to a second set for this evening. Sadly bassist Nick Oliveri is absent for this leg of their tour due to visa issues, so his presence and low end fuzz bass was sorely missed for the duration of the set. But, despite the empty space to the right of the stage STÖNER set forth on a set of psychedelic, bluesy, fuzz soaked dessert rock.

There may have been a few tuning issues that left moments of dead air in the set, but the duo more than made up for it with solid gold stoner rock hits including my personal fave “Own Yer Blues”. Both musicians carried the weight that was lacking without the bass performing with passion and vigour until the end of their set when they pulled out a classic Kyuss cover which certainly amped up the appreciative crowd.

Overall it was a great show had by all, but in my humble opinion the Rubber Snake Chalmers owned the night with their eclectic and original performance. I personally had a great night and danced my ass off… This was desert rock at its finest.

Were you there at The Tuning Fork for this magnificent desert rock gig? Or have you seen STÖNER perform live somewhere else before? Tell us about it in the comments below!

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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