Nelson Arts Festival
REVIEW: From the powhiri at the opening of the show to the song Home Land and Sea near the end, Trinity Roots is obviously a band deeply proud of its cultural heritage.
Playing to a packed main stage audience at Founders, the band who reformed in 2010 after a five year split, clearly remain one of NZ's best loved bands.
This was my first Roots gig. First and foremost I was blown away by the amazing musicianship of the group: Such an amazingly rich full sound with just three performers! With the virtuosity of trained jazz musicians, the show featured numbers that were semi improvised and experimental. The communication between the three seemed, at times, telepathic.
The group's unique 'psych-rock reggae dub and soul' musicality has been given a wonderful new dynamic with the addition of new drummer Jean Pompey. ]
Dare I say she almost stole the show? Playing drums with some of the most hard-out skill I've ever seen in a live show, Jean's female energy and vocals added a brilliant dimension to the line up. The cover of No No No by Dawn Penn showcased her exquisite voice and her drum solos towards the end of the night were received with thunderous applause from a highly appreciative audience.
I loved Beautiful People featuring Rio Hunuki-Hemopo on lead vocals. Featuring just bass, this song had - like so many Roots' songs - a positive uplifting message focusing on individual and collective responsibility. From its first few immediately recognizable notes, it was beautifully delivered.
But it was hearing Warren Maxwell's voice live that was the biggest treat. As he began the first few words of It's The Little Things, the crowd fell into an almost hypnotized silence.
The intimacy Maxwell created in that number alone was well worth the ticket price. Superbly supported by Hunuki-Hemopo on bass and vocals, Maxwell's voice effortlessly and hauntingly filled every nook and cranny of the Founders auditorium. You could hear a pin drop and I started to have goosebumps. You can't teach that stuff.
In one evening I went from being a Trinity Roots virgin to being a total fan. Enough said.