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Live Photos + Review: Vörsen, After The Flesh - Meow, Wellington

Live Photos + Review: Vörsen, After The Flesh - Meow, Wellington

Photography: Bruce Mackay / Review: Hilaire Carmody / Wednesday 1st December, 2021 10:38AM

John Halvorsen has embarked on a four stop North Island tour to promote his forthcoming debut album for his project Vörsen.

In typical middle of the road Wellington style it was a drizzly subdued evening. Too light outside to be truly miserable and too early in the week to be chaotic. With the new traffic light system coming into play this coming Friday, this was one of the last seated socially distanced gigs under level 2 requirements. This particular gig needed the energy of a crowd to get it humming, not the stilted atmosphere created by tables on a dancefloor.

After The Flesh, self-proclaimed Capital stoner-goth trio opened the evening. The band features Marusha Sagadin on vocals and keys, with Alec Morris on guitar and backing vocals, as well as Duncan Nairn (Vice City, Hiboux, Keller Kinder, Bodysiege) on bass. The trio delivered a set of ethereal darkwave tracks. Dreamy low toned basslines provided texture for whispery reverbed layers of synth and saturnine guitar to cling to. Sagadin luring the audience with her soaring vocals. Painting a world ‘turning grey under the stars’ tinged with moonlight and melancholy.

Headliner Vörsen took the stage soon after for a stamina-heavy 2 hour set. Bristling with angst, disillusionment and distrust of modern life. Vörsen provided a wall of melodic shoe-gaze punctuated with space-pop guitar riffs. Singer / guitarist John Halvorsen (Gordons / Skeptics / Bailterspace) was joined by Steve Cochrane (Skank Attack) on drums and Hayden Ellis (DEAF) on bass. Vörsen is an ongoing project written for a three-piece band. With a repertoire based around the songs written by Halvorsen over a 30-year period from the '90s to now. The set consisted of up-beat melodies contrasted against bleak lyrics that questioned what reality and truth really offer. By steering away from samples and pre-records this set-up gave ample room for the trio to sink into each song and push the sonic limits of repeated phrases and motifs, exploring the limits of timbre and emotion each song represented. Halvorsen’s guitar riffs shone over tight rhythms as an escape ladder, pulling us out of the echo-chamber built by the swirling lyrics. Suddenly my feet are having a conversation with my heart and I’m wanting to get up and dance.

Vörsen’s final stop for this tour is Saturday 4th December at Snails, Palmerston North [UPDATE: this show has been cancelled]. Do yourself a favour and experience this as a non-seated event. — Hilaire Carmody


Click on the thumbnail images below to view a selection of Bruce Mackay's photos of last night's gig at Meow...


Vörsen
Vörsen
Vörsen
Vörsen
Vörsen
Vörsen

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Links
twitter.com/hilairec
facebook.com/DarkerArtsLive/
after-the-flesh.bandcamp.com/
instagram.com/after.the.flesh/

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Vörsen
Sat 4th Dec 7:00pm
Snails, Palmerston North