Giant kickoff for new venue

Infectious energy: blues rockers Handsome Giants from left: Shayn 'Hurricane' Wills, Fred Limbert and Simen 'Bluekeys' Taylor.

  Kapiti Live Music concert, reviewed by Randall Walker   News Article from the Kapiti Observer  
Rocking trio The Handsome Giants lived up to their name and billing by setting alight Waikanae's Murphy's Law bar on a Tuesday night. Decked out in cool threads and hats, the Auckland and Raglanbased blues-rockers looked the part, and proved absolute giants of their instruments and unique musical style. Showing no sign of fatigue from their long drive, they brought the predominantly seated, toe-tapping crowd to its feet and whipped them to a frenzy with a short but fierce hour-long set. Style, showmanship, energy and talent to burn: The Handsome Giants had it all and knew it, and by the third song so did everyone else at the Kapiti Live Music Club gig. Their confidence could be seen by how they took the stage, with Shayn 'Hurricane' Wills, who played both guitar and harmonica and sung, stepping up first to play several solos which would have turned any bluesman's head. After giving the crowd a taste of his talents, he invited up drummer Freddy Limbert for accompaniment.
Limbert started quietly but his grooving behind the drum kit suggested there was much more to come and that was confirmed by the time pianist/ singer Simen 'Bluekeys' Taylor completed the threesome. "Hailing from Norway- town and every other town in New Zealand ", Taylor literally set the place alight with his blistering keyboard skills. Looking like a cross between a concert pianist and a white Stevie Wonder, he threw everything at the piano, his huge mits attacking the keys, rising up, and attacking again from end to end with his head thrashing about in time. Limbert, who also sang, though without a mike, had just as much energy and showed his absolute mastery of the drum kit with a tight and enthusiastic performance. To say these young men captured the audience's attention would be an understatement. Their infectious energy lured about half of the 70-odd punters to the dance floor and had the rest swaying and tapping. The trio blended old school roots/blues with electric rock'n'roll, country and folk music to create their own "rawer" sound. The men had about 50 years experience between them.
Wills, 36, had supported the likes of Albert King, Robert Cray and Duke Robillard, while Limbert, 30, had toured America and England as the resident drummer of the Midge Marsden Band, and supported BB King with the Remarkable Beat Roosters. The pair played together for about 20 years, before teaming up with Taylor after he joined them on stage at a jam session. Taylor , 24, had played blues since he was 12 years old and sustained a musical career in Norway before moving to New Zealand in 2001. The trio had performed together for about three years, renaming themselves The Handsome Giants a year ago and releasing their debut DVD, Live on Bow Street , this year. They had recently returned from Australia , where they were the sole Kiwi act invited to play at the week-long Blues on Broadbench festival on the Gold Coast. Their gig at Waikanae was a stopover as they headed down to Methven to begin a short tour of the South Island . Music club spokeswoman Karen Clarke said the club was fortunate to grab the band on the way through, and it had been a brilliant start to the club's new home.


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