We had a mini Washington State invasion last night in Auckland. First Mount Eerie turned up to play a set at the Academy Cinema at 8pm, then an hour and a half later Shenandoah Davis and her band took the stage at The Wine Cellar.
This is the third trip to New Zealand for Davis and the first since the release of her second album, Souvenirs. In fact, Shenandoah noted at one point during her all-to-brief set that the primary reason for recording Souvenirs was to enable her to return to New Zealand with new material.
For those who may be unfamiliar with her music, Shenandoah Davis’ brand of indie-pop strays from the typical folk-based acoustic guitar strumming singer-songwriter fare that we usually get, and ventures into a more orchestral, choral sound. Her records are full of ornate string and horn arrangements and her voice can be compared to that of Kate Bush, with a dash of Joanna Newsome.
Apart from the opening and closing songs, Davis stuck to selections from the new album. She sat front and centre behind an electric piano while her sister, Alenni Davis, stood on one side behind another keyboard, while also playing violin and providing backing vocals. Percussionist and sometime guitar player Ian Williams also contributed vocals as needed.
Most of the songs deal with romantic breakup, but the overall mood was not downbeat. Davis’ unique voice was strong and passionate as she played rippling piano lines and her bandmates supplied appropriate musical colourings.
My personal favourite is Gold Coast, but Curtain Call was also impressively dramatic.
Shenandoah took time to tell how the song The Future was written during her last trip to New Zealand. She found herself locked overnight in a room in Oamaru with a bottle of wine and a parade of penguins marching outside her window.
Shenandoah Davis’ time on stage was over in less than 40 minutes. She and her band had performed 10 songs, but I’m sure the folks who came to hear her would have loved to hear 10 more.
Click on any image to view a photo gallery by Ivan Karczewski:
Shenandoah Davis set list:
- The Wings
- Supernatural Powers
- Gold Coast
- East-Facing Window
- Curtain Call
- A Ride The Never Came
- The Future
- Oh Way Oh