31 May 2018, Cabana
By Ian Thomas

Picture my level of enthusiasm as I drag myself away from our new wood stove to drive to The Cabana on a chilly Thursday night to listen to a band that, by their own admission, no one has heard of. Leap forward to 10.45pm and I’m smiling. Live, original music is a taonga.

Eilish Rose opened the evening with half a dozen songs. New material she has developed while studying music at EIT. She held the small audience effortlessly. I’ve listened to Eilish perform many times. Tonight she demonstrated a new level of musicianship. Watch this space.

Soular took the stage with the self-deprecating banter that was to punctuate the set. They’re a new band with a new album. Formed in October last year, recorded the album, Momentum, in February. The Cabana is the final of their promotional gigs over the North Island. Two acoustic guitars, piano, cajon drum, egg shaker, and three voices in varying combinations. I imagine sitting in a comfy chair by the fire, not because I’d rather be at home, but because that’s the sort of music Soular are about. Strong American influences, folk-rock they call it. I hear Darius Ruker in Chase Tapuke’s vocal style. Sure enough there’s the Hootie and the Blowfish classic, Follow Me, later in the set. John Meyer contributes a track and a large serving of influence. Ed Sheeran, Massive Attack and The BeeGees pad the playlist.

Reading between the lines, the album project is about three guys who want to collaborate: To make music, tour, express the joys of fatherhood, lost love, walks on the beach. Each of the band contributed four tracks to the album and the final track was a three-way production. That process gives the album a good level of variety. These guys are great now and they’ll get tighter and more relaxed in time. For now there’s still a whiff of new car smell.

I take away thoughts that live music is nearly always better than a chair at home. Thoughts that Soular should take the videos off their Facebook page (they are much better than that). That Eilish Rose is a burgeoning talent. That more people should have dragged themselves to The Cabana on a chilly school night.

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