A miniature orchestra assemble around an unmade bed to perform sleep-inspired pieces.
Rose Archer
April 15, 2015

In partnership with


If Auckland’s sudden cold snap is getting you down the Blackbird Ensemble has the perfect cure for you: their latest show DREAMS – running every night this week until Saturday – offers a cozy, intimate reprieve from Auckland’s escalating winter cold.

The staging perfectly sets the scene for this entrancing performance. Players don their pyjamas and lay on beds under cotton ball clouds, creating an intimate ambiance and inviting the audience to embrace the sleepy atmosphere.

The song choice is excellent and creates a dynamic and varied show. Some songs were down right sexy, including little a section of The Cure’s 'Spiderman' by vocalist/ trombonist Kevin Keys, and many of Jessie Cassin’s (lead female vocalist) performances. Cassin’s voice is superb to listen to; she combines masterful control with an impressive vocal range. Mikey Brown (lead male vocalist) gives a surprisingly accurate rendition of Radiohead 'How to Disappear Completely', whose soft, sweet voice (along with Cassin’s) lead the majority of the songs. Wonderful harmonies were provided by Cassin and Brown’s voices joining together, and also at times by all nine band members singing in chorus.

The musical artistry of this group was excellent and created a hypnotic atmosphere. Impassioned solos from guitarist Jonnie Barnard and Saxophonist Callum Passells provide punctuation to the rhythmic jam, which often spreads out over several songs. Steady and precise rhythm came from bassist Jonathan Burges and drummer Tristin Deck. Charmain Keay on violin and Claire Cowan on cello bring a soft and at times tragically beautiful element to the music. This textural yet delicate string section often opens and closes the songs, and creates beautiful harmonies throughout.

If you fancy diving into the soft and cozy world that Blackbird Ensemble have created with DREAMS, go and book your tickets right now. Blackbird Ensemble seasons tend to sell out, so act now or you might have to wait for their next show.


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