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Gig Review: Dateline at The Wine Cellar

Dateline at The Wine Cellar 
Saturday, April 6 2024 

Photographs by Milad Asadi

Words by Ruby Webb-Sagarin  

 

Behind an enclaved door in St Kevin's Arcade looms The Wine Cellar on Karangahape Road: Chinese-style lanterns, queer paraphernalia, wires along black walls, tobacco, murmurs, non-judgement. I greeted Dateline's frontwoman, Katie Everingham, in the fluorescent hallway between the bar and the venue. She handwrote me a setlist, and I divulged my excitement for a few specific songs.

Dateline—dubbed "Dateline 3.0" for its third iteration—is Everingham's musical brainchild. The group hails from Te-Whanganui-a-Tara despite their Tāmaki Makaurau-based record label, Sunreturn. Their last visit to the city of sails was with the 2.0 crew. The current makeup includes Hikurangi Schaverien-Kaa, Phoebe Johnson, and Reuben McDonald, each of whom brings a fresh ingredient. Where the game is punchy 90s and early 00s indie rock, they know and play it well. 

The audience trickled into this intimate room of rustic tables and stools, instruments and amps stacked on one corner's shelves, and an insulation-lined ceiling. The stage itself was humble, nestled in the other corner with a drum set atop a wooden platform and vivid lighting strips that never drowned the speakeasy intrigue of it all. My favourite detail was the intricate Persian rugs that framed the setup and brought us right home.

The local band, Work, comprised of Anna Kalatcheva, Max Brandon-Warren, Rocky Parsons, and Tane Moore, prefaced the main act with jams from their self-titled album, which is available on Bandcamp. This alternative post-punk crew befriended the audience with first-name introductions, relaxed outfits, and bassist Tane's banter with the crowd. However, this laid-back personality surrendered to their epic musicality. Max and Anna layered the grungy and yearning instrumentals with equal vocals. Drummer Rocky mastered the tempo. They placed a tambourine atop the hi-hat to puncture the beat with a jingle, and Anna accented "Lumps" with galactic synthwaves; the picture of post-punk experimentation. Work addressed social issues in true punk tradition; their track "Votes" is a searing critique of voter apathy. Bar the mini-mosh of six people whose headbanging never ceased, their unpredictable stunts excited an otherwise breezy audience. The tempo changes that characterised Work's set were key to their compliment of Dateline, who would often recur to these.

Cue Dateline. Under tangerine lights, they took the stage in matching white tees and tanks. From a military undergarment to Marlon Brando in A Streetcar Named Desire to a closet staple, the plain white tee speaks to a long working-class and pop-culture history. Docs, Docs, Docs, guitarist Reuben in Sambas. Black ribbons on bassist Phoebe's chainlink necklace. Drummer Hikurangi in a bowling shirt and pounamu toki. Katie's magnetism its own accessory. They high-fived all around and into the set we launched.

Katie's clear tone soaked the room before the band's instrumental burst into the first song and our first taste of their harmonic backing vocals. By song three, the crowd had clapped along, shouted "RESPECT!" to Katie's preambles, and submitted ourselves to the whims of their spunky energy. Phoebe and Katie went tit-for-tat in playful riffs, with beautiful reverberations from Phoebe's bass. Reuben and his frosted tips shredded on his Gibson and vaulted off the drumset's platform. Hikurangi's grin and cymbal tricks never faltered, even after a drumstick broke. There is a real endearment about Dateline, who has kept their impish heart and stage presence years into the business. 

Their cheeky nature complements their professional devotion to the craft rather than negates it. The guttural screams that Katie, and at times, the entire band, produced in true Riot grrrl spirit hemmed Dateline's performance with a gritty, raw edge. No emotion was spared in Katie's delivery of her lyrics, which condense the full range of every young adult's emotional stasis without forgoing her personal truth, specifically in "Such a Bitch" and "Dumb for My Age". Other song highlights included "If You Want It" and, of course, the tour title track, "Choose Me", which assumes the viewpoint of Katie's past self. Towards the show's end, they teased one extra song hidden up their sleeve. The crowd responded with both a preemptive encore and a second hoorah after the last scheduled song. Dateline obliged, ending a sensational gig with "Home Fires" and a few final quips from Katie.

The audience demographic was a mixed bag, but Dateline's show transcended any differences through the common good of indie rock; not a soul was yet to jive by 10:30pm. Although Reuben offhandedly joked to me that they would strive for a seven out of ten, this performance warranted an 11/10, and I pinned that handwritten setlist on my corkboard. Stream their music across digital platforms and mark your calendars for October 5th to see what's next from Dateline!