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  • Jia Sharma

Review: Cicada—Live at Valhalla

Words by Jia Sharma (she/her)

Attending this Cicada gig was an unparalleled experience. Standing amidst the crowd and watching them perform, I found that the review practically wrote itself. Cicada is a very interesting band because of its long and evolving history. Originally started by guitarist and lead singer Pat, the project has gone through numerous iterations, circling through different members before landing on the group of four they are now. As Bree the keyboardist describes, “Cicada as a concept was Pat’s idea in high school up in Whangarei, but this new iteration of Cicada is made of four uni friends that weren’t really friends to begin with and we all got roped into it”. Pat adds that “it’s a totally different band”. 

The gig itself was unlike any other show I’ve been to. My anticipation grew when I discovered that they were a folk-rock/folk-punk band, and they did not fail to exceed my expectations. Their sound, part of a genre that deserves much more recognition, was a breath of fresh air in a scene that can easily get repetitive. 

What struck me first was the lyricism. Each song was an in-depth narrative, so compelling that I found myself hanging onto every word. Cicada's storytelling power filled their music with depth, elevating the entire set. Their ability to encapsulate life's experiences in such a unique manner is truly commendable. I especially loved their song “I Think I Should Go”  and the lines “I'll hear your voice again in a few weeks or more / Mutter platitudes and an excuse to walk / I don't have one to make you stay / So let's just leave before I say / Goodbye.” 

Their blend of folk-inspired lyricism with a more punk sound was enthralling, and you can tell how authentic Cicada is to their sound. 

The lead singer Pat’s magnetic stage presence was undeniable—their passion for what they do just leaps off the stage. However, I longed for more moments where the other members could shine. I was grateful for the times when Thorin on the drums shone through, it really added more layers to the performance. While I would have liked to see more of Bree on the keyboard and Isla on the bass, I appreciated the skill that was clear in the glimpses I got. 

With such a talented group, I’m eager to hear their songs recorded. Cicada has several albums under their belt that were recorded by Pat and past members of the band. These recorded albums include songs the band still performs live, keeping the essence of the band consistent. Cicada has started recording a new album that refines and expands on their signature sound. It will feature a higher production level while keeping the same energy and raw emotion that defines their music. 

Cicada is a band deserving of so much more recognition and acclaim. They’re so distinctive with their sound and stories behind their songs. Personally, I would just read their lyrics if I could. Their upcoming releases are something I am greatly anticipating and I look forward to seeing how their recorded sound evolves. Fortunately, their regular gig schedule ensures many opportunities to experience their magic firsthand. Catch them live at Meow on April 17th – it's an opportunity not to be missed, be sure to grab your tickets and fill up that venue. 

Finally, Cicada has an important message they’d like to share: 

“If you are reading this and you are a musician, music is labour. Musicians are workers. And you should look up the E tū Musicians Union and get involved. It’s a really exciting new effort at organising our workforce and I really hope it turns into a really good thing.”


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