Bodega, Thursday July 25 & Friday July 26
The Veils first played Wellington in early 2007 it was a wide-eyed and yearning sound and approach – Finn Andrews was like Rufus Wainwright dressed up as Michael Stipe. As a frontman, as a musician, it seems that Andrews has aimed for Springsteen but settled for Bono. It's a fearsome live sound he peddles; an awesome live band.
But the Veils four albums and two EPs have, for the most part, left me cold. Nothing sticks. Nux Vomica (from 2006) has some strong songs and this year's Time Stays, We Go is, as far as I'm concerned, the band's best album-length effort, but I never feel like listening to their music.
That's not the case when watching this band perform, though. They're committed to the songs, to entertaining, to sending people home with that burst of elation.
So it's to Hallowed Ground-era Violent Femmes for some of the intensity, and to the Caledonian Soul and Celtic Soul Brothers eras of Van Morrison's live group and Dexy's Midnight Runners; The Veils works as a live ensemble in that same way – no single member can be pinpointed as the highlight, it's a perfect churn and chug as the subverted nearly-New Orleans shuffle of drums rides along just behind the honking horn parps and country-sting of guitar.
It almost shouldn't work – but it does. Every time. And, as predicted from enjoying Time Stays, We Go, it's that new album that offers many of the highlights from this show.
OK, so it's still all Bad Seeds-with-training-wheels but they're well oiled, road tight and pushing the right sound out to their audience.
- The Dominion Post