By LUCY WORMALD
Auckland-based band Albi & The Wolves are hoping to get hearts a-blaze and feet a-stomping at their Arrowtown show next month.
The indie-folk trio is made up of guitarist and lead vocalist Chris ‘Albi’ Dent, Michael Young on the double bass, and Pascal Roggen, a ‘‘true virtuoso’’ who has played strings since he was three, on the electric violin.
Frontman Dent explains Albi is a nickname worn with pride from his teenage years, ‘‘because obviously I have albinism, if you didn’t know from the big beard’’.
‘‘I’ve been singing ever since I was a little kid, singing has been part of who I am and apparently, so my mum says, I’ve also been writing songs my whole life too.’’
Playing all through high school, it took Dent till his mid-20s to realise he wanted to take music seriously — a move to Auckland to pursue his dream quickly leading to the formation of Albi & The Wolves.
Since then the band have released two albums, toured New Zealand, Australia and Rarotonga, played Womad, and won Best Folk Artist Awards at the 2018 NZVMAs.
Cited as one of the most engaging live bands in the country, the band’s sound is ‘‘a little bit Americana, a little bit indie folk, and super-dynamic’’.
‘‘Imagine some of those really intimate sort of folk songs — if you aren’t familiar with the genre think Fly My Pretties and some of their early albums where Barnaby Weir is wearing his heart on his sleeve … and then we’ve got some absolutely stomping tracks that switch together the energy of Mumford & Sons, that type of really lively, dance-y feel,’’ Dent says.
The Arrowtown show is one stop out of a jam-packed six-week Arts On Tour circuit in May and June, and Dent can barely contain his excitement.
‘‘All I could say to sum it up is we are ready, we’ve had so many tours fall over, we’ve had so many interruptions in our plans and this is going to be full-on … let’s start tomorrow.’’
The tour will see Albi & The Wolves perform their most recent album, This Is War, which is full of ‘‘intimate stories and little capsules’’ of love and loss.
‘‘It’s a very personal album, I wrote a lot of the lyrics for this one and a lot of the melodies too,” Dent says.
While the tunes will make the audience “feel things”, the band also aims to put forward a sense of community, and they want people moving, singing and laughing along with the band.
‘‘It’s not necessarily the easiest thing to do but we try our very darn best to.
‘‘People can expect an engaging show, a world-class violinist — Pascal is truly a master of his instrument, you’re gonna hear some lovely harmonies, we’re going to interact with you, you’re going to get to know us through our stories and our song, and if we’re lucky we’re going to get you on your feet.’’
Albi & The Wolves, Arrowtown Athenaeum Hall, May 21. Tickets $20, via eventbrite