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Opensouls: Mixing Up All That’s Good

Bernard Shakey



If there’s one downside to Orientation, it’s that there’s too much great stuff on. There’s no other time of the year when students get a smorgasbord of activities like this. But like the rest of the year we’re all on a tight budget. Most of us realise that Orientation is a good time to blow that budget, but still, few of us get a chance to see everything that’s happening at Ori.
What seems to happen is that people go to see the bands they’ve heard of. Which is fair enough, but a damn shame for a band like Opensouls. There’ll probably be some name band headlining the night, but these guys are honestly worth turning up for on their own.
A few people may recognise the name and turn up for them. You may have seen them if you were at the BDO this year. Or, if you’re from Auckland, you might have heard one of their ‘live in-studio’ sets on bFM. Alternatively, you might have seen them on one of their previous excursions down to Welly, or you might have heard them on Radio Active (they had the number one).
Not a bad resumé for a young band, but for those of us who are yet to encounter them, who the hell are they? Well they’re an Auckland eight piece (yes eight, that’s what happens when you add keys, a turntablist, a trumpet, and a saxophone to the core four). Playing great hip-hop that sounds a little like The Roots via Hendrix, George Benson, and Jazzy Jeff – with horns – they add a nice little dash of Aotearoa that’s helped to make local music so good and unique of late. Add to all this an occasional dash of jazz/soul guitar, some intelligent lyrics, and a rhythm section whose life goal seems to be making people dance and shake, and you got a band that is well worth stretching or even blowing, the budget for.
Check out their website,www.opensouls.co.nz if you want to hear a couple of clips of the band in action (or have a play on their cool DIY Beats Machine).