Violet Highway: Breathe EP Release, Wine Cellar 22nd April
K Road’s broody Wine Cellar was humming with anticipation as Auckland locals Violet Highway geared up to play for a loyal crowd of drunkards, deviants and strumpets. The grand occasion was the release of their sophomore EP Breathe – a high-powered mix of pop-rock genres, laced with touches of husky jazz and blues. Jacqui Munro (vocalist and guitarist) and Ant Deane (bassist) were eager to unleash their hard-earned and carefully-crafted album, having recently welcomed drummer Niki Vel Cruz to the band.
WORDS BY Olivia Taylor | PHOTOS BY Rachel Dickey
The opening acts had set a high bar and heightened the excitement. Galaxy Bear treated the crowd to furry outfits, the delights of the male anatomy, and ethereal tunes which filled the room like psychedelic smog. Apera riled up the crowd with funky baselines and jazzy riffs, forcing limbs into motion and setting the scene for Violet Highway’s energetic live sound.
The female-fronted three-piece kicked off with their first single off the EP Friday Nite – an ode to summer romance with fast-talking lyrics, pop-rock guitar riffs (and a cheeky trumpet-or-two thrown in on the EP). The unique, catchy track sparked head-banging and hair-tossing chaos. The trio then segued into Charlotte doubling-down on the angst with a punk-infused sound – guitars buzzing, symbols ringing, Munro searing at full blast. Some punters showed their appreciation in interesting ways – with one fan dramatically diving onto the middle of the stage as the last chords of Charlottewere played. One can hardly blame her for throwing herself at the feet of front-woman Munro, whose gutsy style and vocals have drawn comparisons to Joan Jett.
The band retained momentum throughout the set, entrancing the crowd with their Nirvana-esque EP track Go, where gritty vocals and punchy bass meet intricate drumming.
Lost in the performance, bassist Ant Deane commanded the stage, swiping his guitar through the sweaty air and feeding off the energy of Munro and drummer Vel Cruz- whose impressive precision kept the set sounding crisp throughout. Always one to keep a crowd on its toes, the band also played Desire, a sultry, bluesy track from their debut EP (click here for the music video), and treated the crowd to a grunged-up cover of I Follow Rivers by Lykke Li.
Finally, ending on a high, the band offered up the title track to their EP Breathe, a raging powerhouse anthem brimming with heavy guitars, smashing drums and thunderous vocals, giving the song a fiery soul of its own.
What lessons can we take from this ruckus? First, Violet Highway’latest EP Breathe provides relief for anyone seeking a change from the traditional rock formula. Check it out here:
Second, for those seeking dance-inducing live music that pulses right down to the bone, keep a lookout for their future gigs by liking their Facebook page: