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March 3, 2010 | by  | in Music |
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Small Town, Big Sounds

Music

For crowds of people the end of summer was celebrated last Saturday in a wash of scorching sun, fine local music, and floods of beer as the Tui Brewery played host to the second annual Small Town, Big Sounds concert. Following on from the success of the inaugural concert last year, this year saw the return of the day-long event that saw huge crowds come flooding into the tiny settlement of Mangatinoka.

While ticket prices were well above similar events in the region, such as the annual Summer Hummer concerts in Masterton, concertgoers were treated to an extensive line-up of entertainment throughout the whole day.

However, having been a student for a while now, I am well practised at scoring things for free, and so it was that I stumbled across a couple of media passes to the event. While thinking that I should write some form of review of what happened, I was not really expecting that my research for the article would go beyond drinking copious amounts of Tui and listening to free music with my flatmate. Well, that and seeing what access the passes gave us. Which leads to my flatmate and I sitting backstage partaking in the open bar.

Cue the media liaison for Dominion Breweries meeting us and ordering us away from backstage.

Wondering whether we were about to reprimanded for swiping the musicians’ drinks, we were taken to meet another media liaison, at which point we were provided with handfuls of free beer vouchers and instructions to come back in a few hours to conference with the bands. This is how, after two hours of rather rushed interview preparation and some of the best beer in the world—free beer—my flatmate and I came to be sitting backstage drinking and chatting with the boys from Evermore.

By no means a bad way to spend the last weekend of summer.

Things have been going very well for the boys from Fielding. They just recently finished up a support gig touring with Pink on her world tour, playing to packed arenas of tens of thousands across Europe and Australia. Not too bad for a band who, when I mentioned Victoria University, had memories of a gig several years ago on campus where, according to bassist/keyboardist Peter Hume, “It was so cold we were playing with fingerless gloves on.”

“Everyone was eating pizza and about four people were watching,” brother Dann Hume recalled. While over the years Evermore have gone on to bigger and better concert experiences, one wonders if some of the gigs on campus haven’t really changed much.

Peter said that after preforming in arenas across Europe and Australia to crowds in their tens of thousands playing somewhere as small as Mangatinoka could be a welcome change.

“Sometimes [the concert] can be a bit disengaged when it’s that big.”

However, lead singer/guitarist Jon Hume went on to say “We like playing to big crowds. We embrace the whole stage… use the space, and connect with everybody.” Indeed, if close enough to the stage that the surrounding sheep paddocks and the traffic along State Highway 2 were blocked from view, one certainly could be mistaken for thinking that Evermore were in fact playing to a crowd 10,000 strong, their stage presence obviously honed by recent touring overseas. That is until halfway through the set when drummer Dann spied a familiar face in the audience, telling the crowd that the person in question lives on the same street as his aunty in Fielding.

Dann had earlier explained the small shock he got when beginning fan favourites to locals and “the crowd cheered. I’d been away for so long I forgot people know our songs.”

One of the great things that the event has allowed the region is the ability to showcase such high-profile Kiwi acts when they might otherwise be lured away by opportunities overseas.

Lead singer Jon Hume said after preforming and recording predominantly in Australia “It’d be great to come back and tour in New Zealand sometime, [but] we got offered the Pink tour… New Zealand had to wait.”

The band were also glad for the opportunity to showcase some new songs set to be released with their upcoming Greatest Hits album.

“We’ll work with the songs live…[that’s] how you know how to play it,” said Jon Hume.

If the reaction of the crowd was anything to go by then future music from the Hume boys will be a sure success, as would showcases of other top acts in Mangatinoka in summers to come.

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