The Shocking Pinks, musical project of New Zealand’s Nick Harte, put on quite the show this Halloweekend at Baby’s All Right. I say that because two days later, I am still really unsure of how to digest it.
This is not to say I had any complaints at all- it was easily the best show I had been to in months. The entire crowd was dancing to wordless, funky, electronic indie beats while Harte managed to deliver an electrifying performance- not once turning to face the audience. The supporting band had stunning chemistry and amazing musical prowess, evident in some particularly impressive drum solos (and don’t roll your eyes at the term “drum solo” because they really were great). What confused me was this was not what I expected from the show (see below).
I listened to Shocking Pinks on Spotify beforehand. I was immediately attracted to their sad indie downer vibes and fell in love with the melodies and lyrics. But the show that I ended up going to was of an indie, guitar-based, IDM esque band. The sound presented live was so different than what I heard online that at the end of their set I asked when the Shocking Pinks would be performing. Eventually I got my answer.
The story of the latest Shocking Pinks album is that Harte composed it and recorded it all in his bedroom, with the windows blacked out, in New Zealand after a particularly devastating earthquake and a particularly devastating break up. Guilt Mirrors is a triple LP all about Harte’s world falling apart. It is seven years after the self titled Shocking Pinks album, and is vastly different in spirit. “Double Vision Version,” “What’s Up With That Girl” and “Glass Slippers” are dancey downers, almost fitting into a noisey shoe-gaze outline. These tracks are very different, but a natural progression, from the lo-fi bedroom songs on Shocking Pinks. Because of the dense amount of music on their triple LP, the Shocking Pinks can present themselves differently and prepare live sets to reflect the many different sides of the music and this is why they sounded so different from the band I had listened to online.
For a band that is fronted by a genius recluse from the other side of the world, they were extremely comfortable on the New York City stage. The crowd was literally begging for more- maybe because of the way one song flowed into another, or maybe because Harte never faced the audience. I kept waiting for him to turn around so the show could “begin”, but the set just flew by without any acknowledgement from Harte and left me dazzled and dazed. Set highlights included “Translation,” “Double Vision Version” and the band’s last release “Nostalgia”. Check them out below!
Written by Alessandra Licul