Simon Opit took his camera along to Brendon Thomas And The Vibes‘ (inofficial – it’s complicated!) EP Release on July 30th at Auckland’s Galatos. A special tour edition early release of ‘Wrap You In The Sun’ is available at gigs of the band.
The event was a high-energy affair, with local blues rockers Harvey Knows A Killer opening for the Vibes and setting the night off at a high tempo. Energy levels were at a peak as the headline act made their way onto a darkened stage.
The band have invested a lot of effort into their stage set and production for this tour, clearly aiming to take their presence and professionalism on the music scene up a level. A Pink-Floyd-esque prelude of noises and voices quietened the crowd as the Vibes launched into their opener Let it Fly, a thundering riff-driven affair with sleazy verses and a hooky chorus.
The band, while framed by a pyramid tower of psychedelic stage lighting, rampaged through a wealth of new material showcasing the new EPs diversity and indubitable catchiness, but never letting you forget their ever-willingness to jam and just let rip.
The set was an energetic and bombastic amalgamation of retro riffs and poppy choruses, but with the band, Michael Anderson (bass) and Timothee Nolier (drums) always in the pocket and tightly grooving alongside the virtuoso guitar playing and showmanship of Brendon Thomas himself.
Less expected were the gentler and quieter moments of the set, including one of their new songs, The Moment, in which Nolier and Anderson joined Thomas in the centre stage to harmonise what you might call an existentialist lullaby, an ode to experience and emotion.
The performance revealed a more mature band, comfortable in their growing notoriety and willing to take their audience in new directions, matched by the growing confidence of Thomas’ song writing and singing. The band rounded out the night with an extended jam-filled rendition of their song Mr. High Vibe, embracing the energy of the crowd and then quickly returning it in this frenzied conclusion.
Talking to Thomas after the Galatos gig, he mentioned the “massive emotion and energy” he felt on stage seeing so many family, friends and fans there to celebrate their new music. The Vibes continue their tour around the north island this month.