Music with funk and much feeling

Carnivorous Plant Society. Image: supplied
Carnivorous Plant Society. Image: supplied

Carnivorous Plant Society
Pacific Crystal Palace Tuesday, April 13

Silver Stone Wood Bone
Pacific Crystal Palace Wednesday, April 14

The Griegol
Hawea Flat Hall Wednesday, April 14


Carnivorous Plant Society are billed as playing psychedelic jazz, but that doesn’t cover quite what they do.

What they do do is provide ear blistering entertainment, imaginative funk, touches of world music, prog rock, spaghetti western mariachi moments, and just about anything that’s fun and fast and furious, including yes, jazz and traces of trippy tones, spacey but not spaced out.

They’re amazingly multitalented musicians weaving infectious songs with impeccable timing.

The rhythm section could power a train and the combination of keyboards, brass and guitar knows no limits.

This band knows how to create a really good night.

Bridget Douglas and Alistair Fraser. Photo: supplied
Bridget Douglas and Alistair Fraser. Photo: supplied
In a quite different genre, Silver Stone Wood Bone offered a beautiful way to start the day, sadly too early for some, who missed out on something special.

Flautist Bridget Douglas and taonga puoro expert and composer Alistair Fraser breathed life into an absorbing series of compositions using contemporary and traditional flutes among a variety of Maori instruments.

From the first notes mimicking birdsong in a Gillian Whitehead piece to the finale, a commission from Gareth Farr, the exceptionally sensitive Douglas and Fraser blended sounds to complement and contrast each other, creating playful and delicate portraits of nature.

Refreshing as a bush walk on a misty morning.

Trick of the Light Theatre is rightly famed for its charmingly original tales with a sense of wonder and a message for younger audiences and their grownups.

The Griegol is no exception, but its subject of loss and grief after family death is painfully dark and achingly sad.

A little girl is haunted by the menacing smoke demon her late grandmother teased her with. Her father is too upset to give her the time she needs.

This is the stuff of nightmares rendered, as usual, with puppetry, projection and shadowplay - perhaps just a bit too brilliantly.

It’s recommended for brave children. Maybe I wasn’t brave enough.

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