are one of few bands I've been listening to consistently for over 10 years, but they split up long before I started going to gigs. I first heard them when Secondtime Virgin
was on the radio. Their music has transcended easily over different genres; avant-garde, ambient, industrial, pop and rock, all the while remaining distinctly Headless Chickens. The common factors are the haunting melodies, gothic mood and weird noises. It's something like what you might get if you crossed Björk
with Killing Joke
So the news of a reunion
was something I had been hoping for for a while. Safe to say that it was my most anticipated gig thus far. I'd been listening to lots of Headless Chickens all week, as well as the solo albums of Fiona and Chris. I don't think there are many things better than being up close to the stage for a set of favourite songs coming from a favourite band I'd never seen before. One of the first things I did upon arrival was to make sure I got myself decked out in a Headless Chickens t-shirt.Codeine Like Candy
were up first, while the floor was still relatively empty. I'd heard a few of their songs before so it was good to see them. Rather good for gothic trip-hop kinda stuff, but not something I'm really into.Brand New Math
were next, an indie pop/rock act, something which I'm even less into. Kind of entertaining anyway, with some squealy vocals and pounding drumming.
The floor started to fill up for Headless Chickens. They opened with their longest song, Ghost of Some Cold Street
, which was a great way to ease into the set. It was accompanied by an enthusiastic drunk bald man in the audience yelling loudly and thrusting his fist at the band. Donka
was next, and at this point Fiona joined the rest of the band on stage. Luckily the band got louder and the bald man had quietened down a bit. Fiona politely disappeared off again for a couple of the Stunt Clown
songs, Monkey Jar
and Totalling Dad's Car
I think. There was a cowbell mounted on a stand but I don't think anybody played it.
The band couldn't have sounded better. Probably the best sound I have heard at the Powerstation. Some interesting text I found on amplifier.co.nz:And getting these tunes together has been an interesting task for the band's in-house archivists. Using what was advanced technology at the time they wrote these songs has almost proved a stumbling block for the Chickens in their quest to recreate their sound.
But resorting to all sorts of trickery - including the application of CRC 5.56 aerosol lubricant to 2 and 8-track tapes that have been baked in a temperature controlled oven for 24 hours, retrieving computer data dumped from actual floppy discs, resurrecting old drum machines and EMU samplers - has resulted in the perfect recreation of the Chickens of old for what promises to be an incredible show.
The show was like one big highlight for me, although a couple of moments stood out: Anthony singing Donde Esta la Pollo
and Fiona singing Untitled
. I made sure the bald man was yelling again when we were waiting for the band to come back out for an encore.
Here's my best attempt to remember the setlist. Correct me if you can!
Ghost Of Some Cold Street
Million Dollar Dream
Totalling Dad's Car
Donde Esta La Pollo
Do The Headless Chicken
Expecting To Fly
The set ended with repeated singing of the line "leave that chicken alone", from Agitopop
. I would've really liked to hear Nose
or Inside Track
or especially a couple more tracks from Greedy
, but I can't complain, as it was a perfectly epic show. It's a shame I won't be able to make it to see them at the Big Day Out.