Gig of the week – Left Or Right


Left Or Right might like skanking but they can’t shake the hard southern sound that’s part of their pedigree.

The Invercargill trio bring their blues-rock/dub-reggae mix of originals to Revolver on Saturday. It’s a clever mash-up of genres, always with a heavier element, says singer/bassist Steve Marshall.

“We find with our stuff that people don’t often get the chance to find out what they’re doing on the dance floor,” he says. “One minute they’re skanking along to a dubby groove and then they’re hit with a barrage of gat, bass and noise.

“It’s quite fun – they don’t get a chance to settle.”

Left Or Right’s multifaceted sound was forged from experience in heavy rock outfits and covers bands. They settled as a dedicated originals trio in mid-2007 after four years based in Dunedin while Marshall, Callum Hampton (guitar/trumpet/vocals) and Metua Marama (drums/vocals) furthered their education.

“We’d be driving around with all these CDs in the stacker,” says Marshall. “It’d be an interesting mix, from a Marley CD to a Kyuss album to a Stevie Ray Vaughan album to Cornerstone Roots … we loved them all.

“When we initially put together some ideas for this new project, it was quite chilled out and a lot more like the rest of the dubby reggae New Zealand scene. But we thought, ‘No, we can’t forget what we used to do,’ and that was smashing it out.”

Left Or Right have spent four of the past 12 months on the road, honing their act and readying themselves to record their debut EP. So far in 2008 they’ve completed two South Island tours and a nationwide 16-date “Chilled Mish” winter excursion.

They are slated to hit Dunedin’s Albany Street studios at the end of this month but will hold the results in check until late next year.

With a slot at the Phat 09 festival on the West Coast secured and the prospect of more touring ahead, they’re chuffed to have been the first Invercargill band to have “gone the length of the country” in the past decade, says Marshall.

“We’re quite proud of that.”

Left Or Right play Revolver on Saturday from 9pm in a triple-header with the Flaming Assholes and Smokefree­rockquest runners-up The Slur-Tones.