Live: Reb Fountain – The Isaac Theatre Royal, Christchurch – 18.8.22

The iconic Isaac Theatre Royal fuses historic architecture, modern comfort and rich acoustics which set the canvas for Reb Fountain to express her art masterfully, theatrically and flawlessly.

Jazmine Mary warmed the crowd with their visceral noir-folk sound, offering a psychedelic and moving teaser of some of their tracks from the album “The Licking of a Tangerine”. With Peter Ruddell on keys and backing vocals, the combination provided a full experience of subtle riffs, haunting keys, pop-esque synth and contrasting deep vocals filled with humorous banter between songs.

Reb and band emerged out of the darkness to the hum of anticipation from the crowd. Opening the show with “Foxbright” with a stark single spotlight over Reb on the keys. A simplistic prelude of the magic to come. This led into a dramatic rendition of “Swim to the Star” with Reb at the piano, raising the palpable tension.

Backed perfectly by her honed, sculpted and sublimely talented band feating Karin Canzek (bass, backing vocals), Earl Robertson (drums, backing vocals) and Dave Khan (piano, keyboards, guitar, violin, backing vocals), Reb entranced the crowd with grace and emotion. With such a subtle yet powerful introduction, Reb and band hit it straight off the bat, transitioning perfectly from delicate and whimsical to a sinister swagger of vocal and beat with “Beastie” and “Lacuna”. Reb wielded her voice and supernatural range as the show reached a crescendo in the title track “Iris”.

The pace of the show flowed between intimate expression with piano and dance to heavy break downs and captivating spoken word. The mixture of tracks from “Iris” with earlier releases further enhanced the dynamic journey for the avid and new listener alike as the musicianship built up and held the audience for the entire show, finishing with their second encore track “Don’t you know who I am” to a roaring crowd.

The faultless lighting set amongst the classic framing of the theatre visually complemented the rich fullness of the band as Reb’s vocals soared wildly and enigmatically, enveloping the audience in every sense.

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