We bumped into an old friend from uni the moment we entered the bar. Much like the artists, we’re back in New Zealand while we give the other continents space to breathe for a while. It’s sort of comforting though, to be in my hometown while the world is crumbling. There was an electricity in the air; kiwis had been clawing at the walls to get out for a pint, and New Zealand was 21 days corona free. Time for a party.
Wunderbar is a local treasure— the beer taps light up like christmas, and the baby head lamps give it a certain je nes sais quoi. The bar was brimming with socially starved millennial, and the gig space was packed. We thought we might not find space in the room, but managed to weasel our way to front stage. It’s a good thing we did, because what followed was the most incredible, intimate acoustic set I’ve seen since sofar.
Eddie Kiesanowski of Pretty Stooked opened the gig like he owned the bar. New to solo sets but no rookie on the stage he seemed comfortable, and so stoked to be there. His stage presence is laid back and welcoming. Charisma aside, the man’s songwriting is phenomenal. He shared a smorgasboard of songs; some old, and some written over lockdown. It’s difficult to pick one facet of the performance to focus on— we were impressed by the sense of witty humanity in his lyrics, but perhaps most floored by the power in his vocal performance.
Pretty Stooked was a tough act to follow, but MIM rose to the challenge like a helium balloon. She too seemed incredibly comfortable on stage, and chatted to us like old friends. Her emotive voice had the audience leaning in to catch each detail as she regaled us with tales of introspection and mental illness. Moments later she would unleash her insanely powerful voice for a long held note that demanded applause. For the second half of the set MIM was supported by friend Seb Warren, who added another layer of beauty and colour to the evening with his guitar playing and backing vocals.