It was a cosy night at Auckland’s Wine Cellar as Cowboy Dan celebrated the release of their new song Stopping By with help from Being and Mali Mali.
When I arrived, Mali Mali, aka Ben Tolich, was impressing fans with his voice and his songwriting prowess, accompanying himself on acoustic guitar.
Next up was Being, a duo consisting of Jasmine Balmer (vocals and guitar) and bass player Josh. It was my first exposure to Being, and I was impressed. Balmer has a strong stage presence and her songs definitely have something going for them. I will make a note to explore further.
Cowboy Dan is an Auckland four-piece featuring twin brothers Leighton and Jared Edwards. Leighton sings most of the lead vocals and plays guitar while Jared drums and also sings.
The sound of the band is classic jangly power-pop as evidenced by the debut single/video Happiness.
Their set began with Leighton’s slow guitar strum and plaintive voice as he performed a solo version of a song most likely titled Please Don’t Worry About Me. It was a short…two-minute prelude to the main programme when the full band joined in for Sunny Saturday.
The mood was celebratory as fans danced and sang along. The band had decorated the stage with inflatable pink flamingos and novelty flamingo straws were also on offer.
Both Happiness and Stopping By were offered up early in the set, both creating a sunny vibe on this mid-winter night.
The song Winter Coats, a slower, quieter tune written about living in Dublin, was more in synch with the Auckland weather, but then things brightened up with Click and a new song, possibly titled Split Me In Two.
The set ended with a bittersweet Sixties and Ten Years, a love song where the protagonist project himself into the future and is pleasantly surprised to find, “the records are spinning around and we are still in love”.
The band was quickly called back for an encore, giving drummer Jared an opportunity to sing Last All Night, a song about cutting loose with a night on the town.
They wrapped with one more tune set in Dublin. Again, the weather featured prominently as Leighton sang, “It’s cold but its pretty…wishing it would snow”. The tune built up from almost a whisper to a loud, noisy end bringing the night to a resounding close.
Click on any image to view a photo gallery by Ivan Karczewski: