Fairly late for a weekday, the concert in Paradiso started when the opening act, artist Heavy Chest began his interesting performance. Not only did he successfully create the atmosphere for the coming Mild Orange, but he also showed that indeed something new is cooking in the New Zealand music broth. New melodies attached to familiar rhythms, experimentations within and without electronic music, all accompanied by smooth grooves and interesting lyrics — both acts showed that Kiwis are flying in different genres than we are.
The colour orange supposedly promotes a sense of general wellness and emotional energy, and will help a person recover from disappointments – add a nebulous bubble around it all and you get Mild Orange’s new album Foreplay. Sensual dreamy pop-rock songs are performed by four band members; two guitars and a bass accompanied by softened drums. They work well together; the main guitarist and vocalist Josh Mehrtens does not dominate the sound but rather perfectly connects all parts in a cohesive whole. The band was formed by him and his childhood friend Josh Reid, later joined by Tom Kelk on bass and Jack Ferguson on drums.
Relatively full small hall in Paradiso, composed of people visibly familiar with the album, was floating in gentle rhythms of excited and humble band members. Their debut album was recorded independently and (un)fortunately sounds even better than they do live — and they sound very good live. Their smooth music is reminiscent of an open air summer festival, and sparks a sense of nostalgia for the warm weather with a gentle breeze on the cheek — perhaps where the band should aim to perform instead. The delicate acoustic qualities of the album seemed to get a bit lost in an enclosed shoebox hall, like the one in Paradiso. There were moments when the peaks were too high, the guitar too loud, or something not quite right; and all the nuances that are well presented in the album did not adequately translate into the space.
The band Mild Orange has a couple of busy weeks ahead, touring around Europe presenting mellow groovy sounds from their excellent debut album Foreplay. Perhaps they are paving a way for future New Zealand musical explorers trying to bring their interesting music endeavours into the Old World. Eva Tisnikar 14th May 2019
Click here for the Paradiso’s full programme