Hugh Sundae: Elements add up for special gig

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The man behind nzherald.co.nz's Sundae Sessions on getting Shihad back into the studio where they recorded both their first and their most recent album.

All the stars aligned at the last minute to make this very special night happen.
All the stars aligned at the last minute to make this very special night happen.

We don't do that many sessions each year so getting the band you want, at the time they want, when the studio is free and the crew is available is usually a bit of a shit fight.

When you add being based in Australia into the mix, not to mention the amount of parties to placate for a band that size, it's amazing it even happened.

But I think what got it over the line was the band dug the sessions project, and more importantly had a relationship with York Street Studios, and everyone recognised the idea of being first in/last out of that studio.

When I heard they would be recording (what would become) FVEY at York Street last December I sent off some emails, possibly in vain, thinking if the band were going to be there anyway ... but quite understandably it was declined. Who wants to show off music they've barely written, let alone practised?

Then months of back and forth emails this year resulted in the band being keen but dates being a nightmare.

York Street Studios closed on April 22 and I was asking York Street manager Jeremy McPike to keep the wrecking ball away for over a month. To my eternal gratitude, he went with it.

Of course, this whole time you're planning for something you've not heard yet. What if it was a shitter? Well, it's not a shitter. All the stars aligned at the last minute to make this very special night happen. Over the weekend we shot extra footage and interviews with some of the people behind the studio, and with the emotion on the night the band ended up playing a few extra treats that I'm hoping we can turn into something in the future to mark the end of the place.

But for now, this session is all about the guys playing two-thirds of their new album to a handful of friends.

In fact, they're kind of playing it to each other too. After weeks of trying to come up with the best way to set up the band for shooting, it all went out the window when drummer Tom Larkin emailed to say they wanted to play facing each other, and emailed through a video guitarist Phil Knight made of them recording (which is the FVEY footage you can now see everywhere).

So where they perform is pretty much the exact spots they were in when they recorded the album.

If you haven't heard the album yet, the start of their set is probably a good introduction.

Their performance of Grey Area is slower and dirtier than the album version - one of those songs you hear on the album but then you click when you hear live.

But I think The Great Divide was my favourite on the night - it's arguably one of the more melodic on the album. But don't get too comfortable. Frontman Jon Toogood explains the story behind that, but you'll have to watch the session to find out ...

Watch Shihad's full Barkers Sundae Session below:

Video

- TimeOut

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