The Bruce Mason Center is something of a small venue, and it was sold out. I went early to avoid traffic and parking problems and just to be sure, looked up the location before I went. First surprise: Google Maps street view asks you to do an illegal turn!
I parked on the main road, though there was a large parking building close by, and fed the meter. Second surprise, the meter refused my money after I had paid up to 6pm (the meters are not patrolled after that, but in the city they will still take your money!) Normally councils will just take your money as a kind of donation.
The area is quite posh and I quickly felt underdressed. I had my dinner at Sumo Salads up the road and settled down with a book to wait.
The venue opened a bar, a stall, and a barbeque - all the usual overpriced stuff you got at these things. There were announcements over a PA that were so distorted nobody could ficure out what was said. We all kept an eye on the doors.
The theatre itself was almost Shakespearean with steep-tiered stalls and a pit down by a stage that was only waist high. The audience filing in were very mixed - ages ranged from about 10 to 70. The pit quickly filled with teenage girls but I decided to sit out the opening act in the stalls.
The opening act was Kidz in Space, who charmed even the older membors with their playful brand of electronica backed hip-hop. They had a guest vocalist too, Aliesha from (iirc) Naked and Famous. She turned out to be, small, Asian, with a wonderful smoky-soft voice which the male vocalists kept drowning out. Fortunately there were enough solos for her voice to be enjoyed.
The sound balance was off, producing a crackling effect at higher notes and when the vocalist sang louder. However, this was only a minor distraction from the performances which were lively and upbeat. Not actually being a fan I did not recognise any of the numbers - though the overt playfulness at times had me laughing out loud.
There was an intermission which the set was dressed for the main act. The theme was New Orleans Gothic with candelabras and roses, a slightly shabby, theatre curtain behind, and a collection of patterned lights. Smoke started up, making the candles sputter. Red and yellow roses were placed at the front of the stage and a bunch was tied to the center mic.
Out, the lights, out all, ... the band came on in darkness and Gin took a solo spot to hysterical screaming in the pits. Launched right into the first number, then took a break to talk to the audience.
And she did seem to speak to the audience, where so many performers speak at them.
Is there anyone in love here? (shouts, some hands raised) You are? Who are you in love with? (more shouts, hands point to Gin) You're in love with me?! That's a good answer! There's three guys I could be in love with. One guy gave me four boxes of chocolates: I think I could love him.
I've been getting all these presents. The other day someone sent me a bottle of, this was all one person, a bottle of wine - Cabernet Sauvignon: perfect - a whole packet of Cream Eggs, a red rose, and a letter saying how much I've changed her life! That was wonderful but "changed her life"? I can't change anyone's life!
There was also some banter with the band too.
Gin: people have been writing saying how much they are proud of what I'm doing...
Neal(?): Was that Auntie Doris or Auntie Edith?
Gin (smiles: Fuck you.
The band is The Cardinals, which is awesome all by itself. Sorry guys, I did not remember your names even though you were introduced. I had to get them from your wikipedia entry. My problem is that the guys on stage did not look like the pics of the cardinals I've seen.
Her overall performance appeared open unaffected, and a bit vulnerable - so every guy in the audience fell in love with her. The comments were specific to the place, kiwi, but also quipped about seedy Takapuna dives. She was also down to earth, easy for everyone in the audience to identify with.
You'll notice I haven't raved on about the music, which was totally awesome. Partly this is because Gins performance was marred somewhat by the same sound issues which Kidz had - a crackling on the higher notes (sharper due to Gins unique vocals). I'm not the only one who noticed this, so its not just my geek-tech sensibilities at work here. It's hard to believe the sound system was properly tested.
She performed songs from her CD, some from Extended Play, and some I don't know where from including an up and coming release. There was a bashfulness in her performance which is not evident in the videos - suddenly turning he head shy after an enthusiastic boogie.
I itched to get into the pits, but the stalls were packed solid and I could barely move. I'd never have reached the stage though, and the teenagers had a ball waving roses during the softer numbers.
Everyone stood and danced the penultimate number (Oh My), including the pensioners next to me. Then there was an extended period of claps and stamping for an encore - obliged with Gin and Jon (I'm guessing again) with something to sooth the savage audience.
One encore was all she wrote. Despite technical difficulties, the show was satisfying.
Back home, Cathy had forgotten that I was to go to a cocert and she was like:
Where have you been? and I was
I've been having an affair.
I don't believe you!
Yeah, a blonde with a big grin and tattoos: her name starts with G.
Oh, Gin Wigmore?! The hussy - I'll kill her!
Gin is on facebook and has a fan page. Her videos are seriously pirated through youtube and so on, and Pirate Bay gives me 400+ hits for Holy Smoke. Motown records seem to be keeping quiet about this - presumably they realise (correctly) that this is the fastest way to get Gin the recognition she deserves.