Review: Voom, Vera Ellen & Reb Fountain

Written by on 31 May 2024

By Rosie Leishman

On Thursday evening, an indie rock trifecta took Christchurch’s Town Hall for the first show of their nationwide tour. 

A mix of attendees waited for their favourite of the line-up, from eclectic Vera Ellen listeners, soul-searching Reb Fountain fans to long-time Voom patrons. 

Starting with a lush piano intro, Vera-Ellen created ethereal energy with her song ‘Carpenter’. The stripped-back opening showed Ellen’s raw vocal talent and the synergy between her and her bandmates.

They look like they’re having the time of their lives as Ellen flipped her red hair and pranced around the stage in socks. 

Through the set, it became evident how versatile Ellen is.  One song was soft, showing off her vocal capabilities and the next shifted seamlessly to rock.

From “Lenny Says” to “Fake Milk”, Vera played guitar and bass while bringing a free-spirited and engaging stage presence. 

“Set is going by so fast, I’m sad!” Ellen says.

Seamless skill shone through in her multi-instrumental band, who frequently swapped musical roles.

Some songs were melancholy spoken word, others had groovy guitar riffs.

The use of an MPC created a dream-scape atmosphere that felt immersive– or “space vibes” as I wrote in my notes, that elevated the set beyond your average alternative act. 

Ellen’s set was refreshing with the crowd lapping up her confident rock performance. 

Next came Reb Fountain. With haunting strings that brought a folky, darkness to stage– it felt quite the opposite to Ellen.

“It’s nice to come home!” says Fountain, who was raised in Lyttleton, Aotearoa’s hub for alt-folk. 

Fountain had a powerful, interactive presence that created an eerie atmosphere. The combination of her evocative voice and lush instrumentation mesmerised the audience. 

“Beastie” brought a soulful groove to get the crowd moving. In “Lacuna” her impressive vocals soared alongside the heavy guitar riffs. 

Reb Fountain’s ability to effortlessly convey emotion in dynamic vocals catered to an engaging live set.

Her voice resonated in the space when she intimately performed  “Hey Mom”, which made the crowd fall silent. 

A standout was her cover of Kiwi classic ‘How bizarre’. 

As OMC’s iconic guitar riff played, the warmth of her voice comforted the crowd who sang along to the melancholy version of a timeless hit. 

“What a fucking great song that is!” 

The infamous, “Don’t you know who I am” demonstrated Fountain’s introspective musical prowess. 

Fountain’s set was hearty and immersive as she created a be-witching performance. 

Finally, in his colourfully coordinated pink knit and pearls, Buzz Moller took the stage. 

Re-emerging from a 16-year hiatus, Voom has released four songs in the last year. 

“I forgot how hard it is taking good bands on tour cause you got to come on after them,” laughs Moller. 

Live, Voom sound carbon copy to their records. It’s impressive. Playing their greats, including ‘Beautiful day’ and ‘Relax’, Moller’s vocals are distinctive and nostalgic.

“They’re bloody good”, the man in front of me yelled. 

With its catchy chorus, their latest release ‘Everyone’ reflects Voom’s signature style. It’s uplifting and fun with a strong melody and tambourine feature to top it off. 

Throughout the set it became clear Moller is a wonderful storyteller. 

‘We’re so Lost’ was prefaced by Buzz saying it was written on “the worst day of my life,” but over the year crowds have redefined it and now he sings it with a smile. 

“Magic”, written over Skype sessions with Ōtautahi based Fazerdaze demonstrated the knack Voom has for crafting and performing a catchy tune. 

Another highlight was “Martin Phillips”, a hilarious hit written about a guy who kicked Moller’s cousin out of a band.

Finishing with standout track “B be your boy”, Voom makes performing look easy by bringing a playful, easy-going charm to Christchurch. With Reb Fountain and Ellen dancing side of stage, it was a joy watching these alt-rock legends do their thing. 

This classic Kiwi gig concluded with the trilogy singing Chris Knox’s ‘Not Given Lightly’. It was spirited, impromptu and spread an infectious good energy that left a lasting impression.

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