For their second trip to New Zealand, Macklemore & Ryan Lewis pulled out all the stops, fresh from a gig atTSB Bank Arena in Wellington, the duo - along with their full band and dancers - made their way up toAuckland for a one night stand at the Vector Arena. It was a long night filled with tears, laughter and great music, and it will go down as one of the biggest, and brightest nights in Vector Arena's history.
After an hour of what I would consider one of the worst DJ sets I've ever witnessed - highlights included a dubstep remix of Queen's We Will Rock You, and a one minute speed mix of Lorde's Team - Tinie Tempah took to the stage to warm up the crowd. The man took his job seriously, not only warming them up, but wearing a lot of them out. By the time his 45 minute set was over, half the crowd seemed to disappear out the doors to get refreshments. Just him and a DJ, Tinie bought an insane energy and even more crazy noise level to the arena that left everyone there buzzing and ready for more to drown out the ringing in their ears.
After half an hour or so, the crowds long wait was over and the instrumental intro to the show began, as the band - which included a three piece brass section - came on stage the audience's cheers grew louder and louder, until Macklemore finally took to the stage with Ryan Lewis raised behind him. The feedback from the audience was immense and from the beginning the energy levels on and off the stage in the arena were matched.
Throughout the set the audience was taken through a journey by the rapper and producer. Whilst Ryan Lewis stayed mute when it came to stage banter, Macklemore opened up to the audience, inviting them to stay at his house so he could take them to the thrift shop, and even telling them about his battles with drugs and alcohol. The latter resulted in an a capella rendition of one of his most personal songs, just him and a spot light for two minutes. His talent and passion were not showcased any better throughout the night than during that song.
They threw in all their well-known hits, namely: Thrift Shop, Same Love, and Can't Hold Us. For the first and last of these the collaborators were bought on stage to sing their choruses, and dancers would join the stage to bring a full exciting atmosphere to the arena. It became a party, one with smoke machines, confetti cannons and streamers.
The night was split between comedy and personal songs, with three costume changes including one into a Mexican outfit for the radio friendly White Walls and a glittery cape and David-Bowie-in-Labyrinth-esque wig for their older song And We Danced. Macklemore knew how to take the audience where he wanted. He made us laugh, and he could bring us to silence with his stories and more personal songs like Wing$, which was one of the loudest sing-alongs of the night, the entire crowd was entranced and enthralled by the raw emotion the rapper displayed.
Though you could question whether the opening DJ was necessary, as were the half an hour of stories that were put to the audience by Macklemore, it is clear that the rapper is a master of his craft and delivering it to audiences. With the mega producer Ryan Lewis by his side he is unstoppable, managing to create songs that slay the charts together, and performing them together in a way that an audience can sit back and watch with joy, or can get into right in the middle of the mosh-pit.
Though I have never been the biggest fan of their music, tonight certainly turned me into one, I haven't seen many rappers perform at such a high level, and to see one doing that and doing it on their own terms brings out a whole new level of respect in me. They finished the show promising: "we'll be back very soon." And I for one certainly hope they are.
There's no denying that at my core, I'm a lover of progressive music - whether that means I love "prog" music or not is a question for another day, and is a topic which I touched on whilst talking to Steven Wilson the other week regarding the upcoming To The Bone show at Auckland's Bruce Mason Centre.
Auckland-based quartet Openside have added an extra date to their first, all-ages, nationwide tour. The group headlines The Seamless Tour will now perform a final show in Tauranga on July 20th featuring special guests DUNES .
Consisting of drummer/vocalist Cat Leahy and guitarist/vocalist Leisha Jungalwalla, This Way Northwill be a part of a very special night in Auckland called ‘Sass the Patriarchy’ an event they have been running in Australia.
As the days and nights get colder, we need something more to laugh about than the unpredictability of Auckland weather and lucky for us, The New Zealand International Comedy Festivalreturns (kicking off this Thursday 26 April).
I Am Giant’s have recently released their third and final album ‘Life in Captivity’. Featuring the singles ‘Dead Flower’, ‘Playing With Fire’ and ‘Don’t Look Back’, the band are currently touring New Zealand; their final tour and last hurrah in NZ.
To this day I still remember my introduction to Sepultura - camped out in the granny flat bedroom of long-time friend Kerry - a live version of their cover of Motörhead's Orgasmatron, and from there it continues to this day
The wait is almost over as Auckland City Limits is set to take place this Saturday (March 3rd) at Western Springs Stadium. Included on the bill are one of France’s most famous four-piece band's Phoenix.
“I find inspiration from people who are trying to do something different. There's a lot of producers trying to copy each other, eg Terror Squad. But it’s really cool to hear guys like SumthinSumthin, completely unchallenged in their own lane.” – Graham Matthews
John Butler Trio announce their return to New Zealand in March to play Nelson’s Trafalgar Centre on Saturday 2 March and an afternoon set outdoors at The Hunting Lodge in Waimauku, Auckland on Sunday 3 March.
British rock royalty Arctic Monkeys have ushered in a spectacular new era with their sixth studio album, Tranquility Base Hotel & Casino, and it has now been announced that the band will return to New Zealand for a mammoth arena show in March 2019.
Californian rock legends Jefferson Starship will join TOTO and Dragon on next year’s ‘A Summer’s Day Live’ series, which will take in some of the most picturesque locations and popular concert venues across New Zealand.
In celebration of the highly anticipated November release of their fourth studio album Delta,English folk conquerors Mumford & Sons today announced details of a massive 60 date world tour which will include a very special one day event in Auckland this Summer –their first New Zealand show since 2015!
George Ezra toured the world nonstop for more than two years following the release of his debut LP Wanted On Voyage, finally making it to Aotearoa for one of the standout sets of this year’s Auckland City Limits.
Following the release of her critically-acclaimed My Design, On Others Lives in April this year, Estère teams up with the poetically tongued NZ/Rwandan MC Raiza Biza, to take on the myth of an infamous figure in cross-continental African folklore, the Tokoloshe.
If Anika Moa was feeling ready to kick back for the remainder of 2018, then things haven’t really run to plan. In fact it’s about to get a whole lot busier for the multi-talented entertainer with a new album release, tv series and live shows all on the way.
Since achieving international recognition from Rollingstone.com and Billboard.com for hit singles Too Strung Up and Stone Cold, and amassing over 3 million Spotify streams for their releases to date, Alae now unveil All Gived Up.
'Call Me', the latest track by Wellington electro-pop singer and producer Josie Moon made last week's New Music Friday playlists from Spotify Australia/NZ and Japan and influential UK blogger Popjustice.
Colin Mochrie, Brad Sherwood and Greg Proops the popular stars of the Emmy nominated Whose Line Is It Anyway? have teamed up to present an evening of extraordinary improvisational comedy for one show only at the Bruce Mason Centre in Auckland.
In a New Zealand first, five of the stars of Twin Peaks, Sheryl Lee, Kimmy Robertson, Michael Horse, Al Strobel, Dana Ashbrook and the Executive Producer of Twin Peaks: A Limited Event Series, Sabrina S. Sutherland, will visit Auckland and Christchurch for an exclusive and unique CONVERSATION WITH THE STARS evening.
Singer Elaine Paige has announced an 8-date series of concerts from October 10 to October 25 2018, which will see her perform songs from her illustrious career along side an array of her favourite tracks by contemporary songwriters.
The critically acclaimed, award-winning comedian and actor, Catherine Tate, is bringing The Catherine Tate Show - Live to New Zealand for the first time, with shows in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch commencing November 28, 2018.
It has been announced overnight that Last Tapes Theatre Company's original production Valerie has been selected for a month-long season in the prestigious Summerhall programme at Edinburgh Festival Fringe this August.
Featuring Brouhaha: choreographer Malia Johnston, composer Eden Mulholland, AV designer Rowan Pierce; In Transit: choreographer Louise Potiki Bryant, composer/AV designer Paddy Free; The Geography of an Archipelago: choreographer Stephen Shropshire, composer Chris O’Connor.
The last hurrah of the Comedy Fest! The Season Finale! The bit at the end where the awards are decided, everybody relaxes and much fun is had. It’s the titled Last Laughs on Sunday 20 May at SkyCity Theatre.
The 13th Annual Doc Edge, International Documentary Film Festival opens today - Wednesday 9th May at Wellington’s Roxy Cinema followed by Auckland’s Q Theatre on Wednesday 23rd May, bringing an influx of prestigious directors and documentary subjects from all over the world.