A new act blending veteran Kiwi musicians with unique local talent has the recipe for success.

Following a 30-year hiatus, artist, producer and performer Fane Flaws (Blerta, Spats, The Crocodiles, I Am Joe's Music, Bend and The Living Hamsters) is returning to the stage with 20 original songs.

No Engine, named after a cryptic message deciphered from one of Martin Poppelwell's artworks, is a neo-cubist-dream-pop-psychedelic-groove-workshop.

It comprises Flaws (guitar/vocals), Tony Backhouse (bass guitar/vocals), Andy Gladstone (drums), Nicole Taylor (lead vocals) and Anton Wuts on saxophone and bass clarinet.


"Andy is a unique drummer who we love because, like Ringo, 'he plays the song' not the drums; Anton has ears like an elephant, is a walking musical encyclopedia and brings that wonderful area of energetic improvisation which is essential to my idea of a proper band; Nicole is youthful, female energy, and, with Tony provides beautiful harmonic textures to my frankly eccentric vocal stylings," Flaws says.

Their first performances at The Cabana on Friday marks a reunion of old bandmates - Flaws and Backhouse formed their first band, The Living Hamsters, at university in 1977, later becoming Spats, then The Crocodiles.

They worked together in Sydney with I Am Joes Music, The Shag Piles and The Blue Tongues, recorded with Bend, whose triple CD collection is due for release next year, and have been co-writing music for about 30 years.

Backhouse also sang and arranged vocals for Flaws' best selling children's book, CD and DVD, The Underwatermelon Man.

Wheels for No Engine were set in motion when Backhouse, an internationally renowned singing teacher, vocal arranger and acapela authority, moved to Napier in February.

"Ten years ago I came to Hawke's Bay, I had given up on music but I just couldn't do it, I got together with the boys from Tropical Downbeat Orchestra," Flaws says.

"When Tony said he was coming here, I thought he was coming for a visit but he was coming to live. We have done so much over the years, he plays guitar but wanted to play bass, so we got some people together to make it happen."

The audience can expect to see an entertaining live show featuring surprise elements.

"Some parts of this music are written and rehearsed and other areas are improvised - there is a lot of freedom for the band and anything could happen, and will.

"I do believe music fans will enjoy this band and while there are obvious influences and inevitable nods to our heroes ... it should be another fun night at The Cabana, where we have fond memories of playing with Spats in 1977 and The Crocodiles in 1979."

No Engine performs from 8pm on Friday at The Cabana, Napier.