Last night, Bodega hosted the second to last ever gig of Stellar*. Due to turning up far too early, my flatmate and I scored a fantastic spot right at the front table just to the side of the stage.
Unfortunately, due to Ticketmaster being a pack of useless overcharging fools, and everything on the Internet incorrectly indicating that there would not be door sales, we paid an extra $5.50 for the privilege of having to line up again when they finally got their act together and managed to send Bodega the list of people who had paid via the website an hour after the doors opened. For this privilege, they charge an $8 service fee – a fact which is hidden as much as legally possible. In future, when tickets for a gig are listed via Ticketmaster, I’m going to ring up the bar directly, and see if there’s door sales – it’ll be less of a hassle that way.
Moving on. For whatever reasons, my flatmate and I were making a run on being the only people in the audience under thirty. (Except for the two girls at the end of the stage, who made eye contact multiple times, where we had several opportunities to go talk to, including when they stuck around afterwards – but no, we wussed out like the sad geeks we are.)
Seth Hapu was enlisted as an opening act, accompanied by himself on his iPod for backing instruments. For those of you who looking up his videos on Youtube, that’s what he sounds like live – there’s no auto-tune here.
Clearly, the whole crowed was there for our fix of Mix. I own Mix and Something like Strangers, but I had to dig through my boxes of CDs for the latter of the two, since it never made enough of an impression for me to rip it onto my hard drive. The crowd was appreciative of the bands newer efforts, but it was only when Boh Runga told us that “This next song is called Undone” did the audience join in with the leg-slapping, singing-all-the-words and bawling-out-the-chorus dedication that indicates true fans. I’m pretty sure the band knew this all too well, since their expressions seemed to indicated that someone further up the chain of the record company wouldn’t let them simply play the entire Mix set. I suspect they got their own back however, when the inevitable encore brought the band out to end with the signature songs, Part of Me and Violent, played with the kind of hell-for-leather and damn-the-executives approach that had characterised the favoured songs.
Which is probably just as well, since the whole affair lacked the controlled clean production values found in the studio version of the songs I’m used to. It was, like the band, a distinctly Kiwi affair. There was no security guards, and members of the band made fun of themselves, and talked to the audience during and afterwards. In some ways, it felt more like a new band just starting out, rather than an established eleven year old band on their farewell tour.
Stellar*, you will be missed.