A little while ago, I had the pleasure of experiencing this four piece band of lads from Wellington. I say experience because, my lord that’s what it was. I sat transfix, their enigmatic lead singer, wide eyed, wailing into the microphone, guitarists leaping around the stage. They had adorned a varietal delight of visual costumes for the evening, bright red retro fabrics and kaftans flew around the stage, instantly transporting me to scenes I imagine of Jim Morrison, Led Zeppelin and The Stooges, glorious chaotic characters gifted to the world for a single perfect moment on stage.
If I sound like a gushing fan girl, I totally am! I’ve been to a lot of gigs over my 35odd years bouncing around the music scene, so it takes a lot for me to get really excited these days about a new band. They have to tick of certain criteria for me, firstly and of course the most important being the music. For me it has to take me to a complete out of body place. Secondly and it’s a biggy, is stage presence! I’ve seen bands come and go, some damn good ones lost because they lacked this fundamental skill. This is not something that NLA has any inadequacy regarding. Their banter was a show in itself, in total opposition to their dark grunge rock sound, they were witty, light and bordered on being a standup show. But when they played, it was an honest privilege watching people you could see loved every fiber of their music and what they do. This is my third criteria for the DNA to a successful band… passion.
Lastly, but certainly not least, they have to be unique while paying homage to the legends that have been before. I certainly heard this with NAL. It was like Black sabbath, placebo, and led zep had an orgy in my ear holes. Their sense of timing was impeccable with drops and holds that literally had me on the edge of the seat (at times the only dick in the VERY small venue, head banging away like back in the good old days).
I was lucky enough to sit down with the guys after and talk to them about their views on their music and band culture.
“I think we’re seeing a new evolution happening with NZ music at the moment” said lead singer Bjorn Christianson (Napier born and now residing in Wellington), when asked his thoughts on the direction music is heading. “there’s a movement away from this drug, sex, rock and roll lifestyle and a pull towards music standing for more than just share anarchy.”
The bands connection to music has deep roots with their drummer’s (Levon Mason) father having penned the lyrics to the Muttonbirds hit Nature, the shoes are big to fill but with all four members excelling in their own rights, the band is poised for greatness.
When asked what they wanted people to take always from their music, after some careful consideration Christianson replied simply “I guess I’d like people to know there is still a place for rock n roll in the world! That and if our music takes people on a journey we’re pretty happy with that!“. With their next single release dated for the end of July, I am eagerly awaiting to hear what the boys have in store next. These lovable rouges have defiantly cemented my love of New Zealand rock.
V Hoy: Working as a creative director, documentary maker, writer and artist, V lends her voice to everything from politics, lifestyle, culture, world affairs. She has lead a, at times interesting life, giving her a unique and fresh perspective. She also is is a public figure speaking out on subjects such as domestic violence, gender equality, addiction, mental health and is a strong advocate for cannabis reform.