The Phoenix Foundation, Islington Academy, London, June 2006
Beware Hordes of Kiwis, Part 1. Let me declare that I bloody love The Phoenix Foundation. Right from the release of Horse Power I dug their relaxed vibe & songwriting, that catchy, unassuming pop sentiment that had a such great pedigree amongst NZ music. We would always play Horse Power and Pegasus in our London flats, and I constantly snuck it in at work. Would I feel the same seeing them in London? Well, the gig was (I think) one of a number of London shows put on by a promoter called Spacific, and they did target the ex-pats pretty effectively… remember, this is before Jules Holland, Jarvis Cocker or The Guardian fell in love with the Phoenix boys so the crowd was always going to be manily Kiwis. We had swallowed our pride and gone to a Black Seeds gig in Portobello before, but the throngs of jandal & singlet clad muppets wearing daypacks on dancefloor was a pain. Oh, and the band were boring. Anyhoo, the Phoenix show was pretty crowded, and heaving with twangy Kiwis. At times, standing nearer the bar you couldn’t even hear the band over two sheilas talking about their respective complicated morning commute routes to work “Oh yeah, nah, Oi go through Lundun Brudge and change to the Jubillee Loin”. Jesus wept. Why pay the entry price? Just go to the Walkabout or Red Back. As for the band, well… they were a bloody shambles. Unfocussed, rambling (more than usual), were they pissed? Never quite worked out what flavour of gig it was supposed to be. As a showcase to industry hacks of their talent & professionalism, it was a flop. As a smug singalong of all their best songs with a bunch of homesick ex-pats, it was a failure too. I hope they got paid okay. Not an expensive gig at ten quid, but my expectation really was for something slicker, that I would stupidly be proud of as a Kiwi fan. Too much? I shouldn't be too harsh - everyone can have an off night, or maybe too much spliff… who knows. I should track down Sam or Luke and ask them on Twitter! Who knows, maybe the crowd just got up my snooty nose too much. I felt like we were coming in as experienced gig goers from London, while most of the crowd had probably only been to two shows in London before: The Black Seeds and Dave Dobbyn. Man, what a snob! Yes. Yes, I am. A song now – ‘Going Fishing’ from Horsepower. A gem. I guess everyone’s allowed a bad game (except an All Black). Still love you Phoenix Foundation! The New Year’s Eve gig you did with The Nudge at Fox Glove a couple of years back remains one of teh best nights out ever.