Tears literally flood down my face when Martin Phillips belted out Submarine bells (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G2Ujjpbr_SY original version) accompanied to the Sinfonia Orchestra in the Dunedin Town Hall last night.
His voice has aged (sounding even sounding a a little Tom Waittte’s) but with the backing flute it took your mind back to a time when the Chills was new and mind blowing. To a time anything seemed possible. With the back drop of the Town Hall the varnished wood and the gleaming gold of the horn section I was reminded of the painting by Alvin Pankhurst ‘Maybe Tomorrow’ (owned by the Dunedin Public Art Gallery).
Its intricate details, its mass of symbolism is like a multi-piece orchestra and Phillips singing the Bells. It was exciting and hard to keep up as action and meaning happens everywhere The bedlam the logic creative and destructive all at once. Chaotic an specific.
The first time I ever heard Submarine Bell playing in it’s home town Dunedin was while out at Port Chalmers in 2003.The quintessential Dunedin Sound experience echoed out of a window as painters went about their daily work, bouncing off Victorian stone buildings of the near empty street below into the still air as crisp as the winters morning it played to, haunting beautiful ever alone an so dam emotionally invoking. I had thought that morning, listening to that song on Port Chalmers with its distinct Victorian architecture, how the unique discipline and refinement of the “Dunedin’ sound had do my to with the Presbyterian values and classical influences of the local musicians. That thought was only reinforced last night an what a wonderful collaboration – absolutely beautiful absolutely moving.
It was classically Dunedin. The permanently Presbyterian city with a sound that is classic.
Tally Ho! Dunedin Sound Songs & Singers brought Anna and the Sinfonia together with a host of local singers and musicians to revisit more than 20 iconic Dunedin songs, many of them from the internationally-acclaimed period known as the Dunedin Sound.
The Chills, The Clean, Straitjacket Fits, The Verlaines, The Bats, Look Blue Go Purple, The Puddle and The 3Ds are some of the bands whose songs will be included, underlining the ever-expanding strength of rock song-writing in the city since Flying Nun released The Clean’s Tally Ho in 1981.
“If you’d like to hear Anna sing, come to the concert. If you like orchestral music, come. If you are a fan of Dunedin bands, come. If you’ve lived in Dunedin the last 35 years and wondered what all the fuss has been about, come. These songs merely scratch the surface of what has gone on here,” says Graeme Downes.
Songs chosen for the performance include Submarine Bells, She Speeds, Pink Frost, Getting Older, Randolph’s Going Home, Tally Ho, Southern Man, Point That Thing, The Love Of Ash Grey and I Don’t Want You Anyway . But there are some real surprises in the list too, best kept for the night. Fittingly, the concert will be conducted by versatile Dunedin musician Peter Adams who works many of Dunedin’s orchestras, choirs and brass bands.
Anna Lease was the lead vocal on more than a third of the 23 songs, while Kylie Price, Molly Devine and Metitilani Alo will also perform the iconic Dunedin material, as will established Dunedin Sound legends Shayne Carter, Martin Phillipps, David Kilgour and Graeme Downes.
All of these singers will also intermittently appeared as a backing chorus, while rock music instrumentation came from Rob Burns (bass) and Robert Craigie (drums).
Anna Leese, Lani Alo, Kylie Price Music Molly Devine, Molly Mallika Devine, Kylie Ann Price, Metitilani Alo, Martin Phillipps, Shayne Carter,David Auld Kilgour, Anna Leese, Peter Adams, Feby Idrus, Kurt Murphy and Rob Burns at Dunedin Town Hall.
For More About the event Tally Ho! see