“We're continually grateful that Kiwis can laugh at themselves.”
So says Andrew London, the man behind The Andrew London trio who are playing at the Omokoroa Boat Club on Saturday, August 12.
And he has good reason to feel that way after becoming known throughout the country for his humorous songs set to easy-going and accessible 1940s-era ‘Hot Club’-style swing music, with occasional sallies into folk, blues and western swing.
If you haven't yet been exposed to the band then the song titles say it all: ‘Let's Talk About Me’, ‘I Hugged My Mate’, ‘Country's Buggered’, ‘I Think I'll Buy a Yacht’, ‘I'd Never Let My Daughter Out With Frank Sinatra’. Andrew's whimsical songs reflect the national psyche with gentle irreverence, and playfully lampoon many of New Zealand society's obsessions and taboos.
Reviewers have made comparisons to Fred Dagg, Flanders and Swann and even Noel Coward, and after a recent appearance live on National Radio, one commentator remarked “The Andrew London Trio are Flight of the Conchords for Rest Homes.”
Based in Wellington, Andrew has been mining this rich source of humour for more than a decade now, first with the band Hot Club Sandwich, which became firm favourites in Tauranga, and more recently with this self-named trio, featuring his wife Kirsten London on bass and the amazing Nils Olsen on various saxophones, clarinet and flute.
In that time the world has been taking notice. According to Downbeat USA magazine Andrew’s 2004 album ‘Toasted’, “lured listeners in with eccentric edges and devilishly clever wordplay.” A decade later the same publication reported that his album ‘Ladies a Plate’ “reaches high levels of poise and affability while imparting witty lyrics that would draw quiet laughs of agreement from Mose Allison and Dave Frishberg.”
Andrew's songs have been included in a national Year 13 English syllabus, two feature films and European CD compilations. His trio has performed at festivals in Australia and Norfolk Island, and is the only Kiwi act in recent times to have performed in Saudi Arabia.
This visit to Tauranga will be particularly special for Andrew as the trio are pairing with local band Kokomo. With a large following of their own, for this show Kokomo are stripping down to their original trio format and Andrew will be reunited with Kokomo bass player Nigel Masters.
“It'll be lovely to see the chaps again,” says Andrew. “1000 years ago Nigel and I went to Victoria University together and it'll be a great chance for the two bands to play together and create a little magic.” That's the plan – two great trios playing separately and together. The musicians promise a unique show with plenty of jamming and, of course, a liberal dose of humour.
The Andrew London Trio and Kokomo (unplugged) play at the Omokoroa Boat Club, 7.30pm, Saturday, August 12. Tickets $25 ($20 for boat club members) from Eventfinda.co.nz or the boat club.
The Weekend Sun has one double pass to the Andrew London concert for one lucky reader.