live review

Wellington Ukulele Orchestra, Leigh Sawmill, Wed 14 January.

Wellington Ukulele Orchestra, Leigh Sawmill, Wed 14 January.

Reviewed by Clayton Foster
29th March 2010

In troubled times, its not uncommon to find people seeking out the simpler things in life. Maybe that’s why it was so god-damned refreshing to the soul to be standing amongst the crowd at Leigh Sawmill watching the Ukulele Orchestra rip it up on stage. Well, as much as you can rip up with 10 or so ukuleles, and one massive bass.

Starting with a singalong rendition of Haere Mai, Everything is Kapai and closing with the Talking Head’s Road to Nowhere (which was also singalong, as far as the Hey! Hey! Hey! Hey! bits can be called singing on behalf of the audience), the WUO left you feeling like everything was gonna be just fine. It helps of course when your venue is as amazingly non-Auckland as the Leigh is as well, but my money’s down on the fact that the WUkes could brighten even the darkest establishment. Preceded by local Youtube sensation Griffin Point (look him up, and then imagine him doing live hip-hop with lines such as “All you Grey Lynne Villa motherfuckers put your hands up! All you bikram yoga motherfuckers put your hands up!”. Surreal, slightly creepy, but incredibly funny), the WUkes took their brand of simplicity and good-naturedness to Dean Martin, Crowded House and even Coolio. Actively encouraging the audience to join in, and bridging the songs with affectionate banter that lets the audience feel they’re part of the group, the WUkes make this the best gig in ages. Fun, as any good live act should be, but these guys go one step further into fully unadulterated joy. Magic.



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