The Chills will test out new songs in Leigh.
Legendary Dunedin band The Chills return to the Leigh Sawmill Café between Christmas and New Year as part of a brief four-date tour of the North Island.
The iconic Kiwi group is playing just one other venue and two summer festivals before they arrive in Leigh on Thursday, December 30 – their first visit since the Snow Bound album tour in September 2018.
Founder and lead singer Martin Phillips says the summer trip north will be a good opportunity to play live together for the first time since lockdown and test out new songs from their forthcoming album, Scatterbrain.
“We were meant to be at the end of a 30-date US tour right now, with some Australian and New Zealand dates to follow,” he says. “We’ve cancelled 50 possible shows.
“So, since we haven’t played since March, and our album has been put back to May next year, it’s important to get out and do some shows, and also to start playing our new material.”
The Chills had almost finished laying down tracks for Scatterbrain when Covid-19 and Level 4 struck.
“I was pleased that we were recording when lockdown happened – we were only four days off finishing – and that I had projects in mind to focus on, like the rough mixes,” he says. “It would have been a very different story if I hadn’t. But it was still pretty strange. I live alone and it was quite scary over the first few days, wondering how long it would all last.”
Phillips describes Scatterbrain as a “deliberate attempt to bring the band struggling into the 21st century”, with a shift away from guitar and keyboard-led songs.
“I thought that would make them problematic to play live, but they sound great,” Phillips says. “We had a playback party a couple of months ago and the general consensus was it’s our best produced album, and best album since Submarine Bells (in 1990).”
The Chills will be supported at the Sawmill Café by Wellington-based psychedelic indie band KITA, featuring Nikita Tu-Bryant on guitar and vocals, Ed Zuccollo on keyboards and Moog synth and the self-proclaimed “filthy drive and barking psychedelic drums” of Rick Cranson. The band was working with Grammy award-winning Italian producer, studio engineer and mixing engineer Tommaso Colliva on their debut album when Covid-19 struck, which they have since been finishing remotely.
Tickets for the Leigh show cost $40, plus $4 booking fee, from banishedmusic.com/tickets and doors open at 8pm.
Mahurangi Matters has a double pass to give away for The Chills Leigh Sawmill Cafe gig on December 30. To enter, simply email your name and best contact number to email@example.com. Closing date Monday, December 21.