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Gig Review: Sorry at Neck of the Woods

Neck of the Woods
Friday 20 October

Photographs by Calum Dewsnap
Words by Sofia Kent

5 piece London band, Sorry, closed their long awaited down-under tour at Neck of the Woods on  Friday. 

The intimate unground venue was comfortably full with fans of the post-punk rock band eagerly awaiting the band's debut visit to Tāmaki Makaurau. 

Donned in blazers, the group walked on stage, looked straight through the cheering crowd, and without hesitation, broke into song.  

Dark and playful ‘As The Sun Sets’ from the 2020 album 925 opened the night. The crowd hushed under the purposefully nonchalant, yet resonant voice of Asha Lorenz. Her eyes closed while singing, each member in their own world of bittersweet lockdown memories during which the album was conceived.  

Rich in guitar and angst, The Guardian described Sorry’s sound as “indie, grunge, electronica and balladry” put through a “meat grinder”. Their roots in Soundcloud and mixtapes weave in a  homegrown tenderness, with calloused lyrics that feel straight from their notes app. 

Between song changes, Sorry grinned at the crowd while a backing track played in lieu of small talk. Lorenz endearingly acknowledged the room with an occasional hand heart before breaking into the breakup ballad ‘Key To The City’ from the 2022 album Anywhere But Here. 

Guitarist/ singer Louis O’Bryen and Bassist Campbell Baum stood in a straight line on either side of Lorenz — their positions on the small stage of equal importance. Bathed in rich blue light, the visuals and conversation were kept at a minimum as though the set list was enough to keep the audience entranced.  

The set fleshed out with the soft melody ‘I miss the fool that I love’ as words of “I can’t keep you safe/  But I can in this song/ It makes me weep/ As it saunters along” allowed a raw and vulnerable side to Lorenz.  

She pauses during the song and looks directly into the crowd's eyes “I’m used to feeling alone/ I  miss the fool that I love”. 

They whisper stories of youth, bleary nights, stained hearts and clothes. Songs that cocoon us with validity through the ability to mourn and embrace a fleeting and gritty life. You can hear the deadpan indie ghost of Alex G weaved throughout Sorry’s melodies paired with the classic songwriting style of 70’s artists like Carly Simon. 

Sorry ebbed and flowed throughout the night, knowing when to restrain; pull back and allow the sound and feeling to fluctuate in the room. The chemistry and synergy between each bandmate were apparent as they performed each song and transition as if it were second nature.  

Soft musings of O’Bryen take hold as his bandmates turn around, allowing in a moment of command: “Tell me how the sunsets for you”. The energy in the room is still, lured in, as he pours his innermost thoughts for all to hear. 

The atmosphere was electrified as the set came to a close with ‘Starstruck’, where Marco Pini on electronics and drummer Lincoln Barrett threw themselves into the song with intense concentration. A roar of cheer came from the crowd as a backstage member came onstage to play the maracas for the dissonant song. Someone yells out “I love you! Sorry, not sorry!”.

Sorry left wordlessly, leaving in the night as quickly as they came. They brought a new sound and a piece of their London life to share in a small pocket of Auckland, An electric performance to revel in and desire to do it all over again.