When it seemed like the city was under the influence of 'Badu-fever', we headed out to join an electric crowd at the Powerstation to catch the return of this well-loved UK trip-hop trio.
Strangely, I think I've heard the term 'trip-hop' used more times in the lead-up to this gig than I did during their heyday in the 1990s. Maybe it's because back then (and in some part today) I never really went for the whole British tradition of 'over-genrification' of musical styles. More often that not, it spelled the end of many a good sub-genre to the clutches of the mainstream.
Trip-hop in the 1990s for me lended itself more to the minimalist styles emanating from the Mo'Wax andNinja Tune camps. Sparse beats where beauty lay purely in the paranoid. It also conjured up certain Bristolian influences, and from memory Morcheeba were always a lot more positive. Maybe that's why they still have a place in so many hearts, even 20 years on.
Kicking off proceedings with the dub-tinged Make Believer, the tone was set as lead singer, the beautiful Skye Edwards took to the stage. Her amazing floral dress (of her own creation it was announced) radiant at centre stage.
"Sorry that it has taken so long to get here," Skye proclaimed softly. "It does take a while to get here from London." It has been 11 years since Morcheeba were last on our shores. Now with four more albums under their belt (two of which were produced without Edwards), tonight was going to be a celebration 20 years in the making.
There were some goose-bump moments as memories of summer weekends in Brighton came flooding back to the opening bars of 1998's The Sea, and it was great to hear original classics Trigger Hippie and Part of the Process in all their wondrous glory. It was like yesterday when I first heard those tunes and judging by the vocal talents of the crowd, and the increasing waft of 'green' from the lower levels, I wasn't the only one basked in heady times past.
It would be fair to say that from the opening bars to the final throws of Rome Wasn't Built in a Day, the crowd was with them every step of the way. However, I wished that the newer material had the same fervour. Apart from the majestic Release Me Now which broke away from the slide-guitar ambience for something more up tempo, the newer Morcheeba sounded somewhat unfocussed, bereft of a distinctive identity. Perhaps when a band is formed so intrinsically through a movement in our musical history, re-inventing things on the other side of that genre must be almost like starting from scratch.
All in all, a pleasant trip through some of the music that helped define a thousand 'chill-out' compilations. For 90 minutes it was a warm, safe haven but nothing more. After the initial gush of nostalgia had passed, it all started to sound pretty formulaic. Even a bizarrely chosen cover of David Bowie's Let's Dance half way through proceedings, although popular with the shuffling crowd, did little to break the increasing monotony. Personally I would have preferred a little more experimentation, a retake on some of those tunes to bring their music up to date.
But that's the trouble with memories I guess; we prefer to remember things exactly as they were.
In the mid to late 90's, when grunge began to wither away and MTV strived to find the next easy to access label to attach to new batch of up and coming rock bands, global attention started to shine on the Alt Rock scene.
The I Love The 90s Tour returns to Auckland next year March 23rd at Auckland’s Spark Arena, with a completely off the chain lineup featuring classic Hip Hop crew Naughty by Nature. Vin Rock from the Grammy Award winning rap group speaks fondly of this country and love of our people.
The Soundsplash Festival is returning to Raglan in January 2018. Local reggae favourites Katchafire are returning to feature on the bill. We sent a few questions over to lead vocalist Logan Bell ahead of the festival.
Following 2015’s Kitty, Daisy & Lewis'The Third', the sibling trio are back stronger than ever, harnessing their ability to create pop-infused soul, blues, rock n roll and a large mix of genres to perfection, in the shape of their fourth studio album, Superscope.
Kylie Price has just released her new album Bones. Last week she appeared on theNZ Entertainment Podcast, where she sang a new song I Dont Want To Go off the album while talking shop about her dream gig to play with Ed Sheeran and her Philipino roots.
Last week I caught up withPeter Hook ahead of returning down under for Australasian leg of the Joy Division and New Order Substance tour. We had a great chat about the spirit of punk, what it takes to write a book and why shows like the X-factor are so unhealthy…
Long established as one of New Zealand’s finest acts, South Pacific reggae-soul legends, The Black Seeds are set to tour the country in September, following the release of their long awaited 6th studio album Fabric, (out today - Friday September 8th).
Jacqueline Nalpant is a Booking Agent for the Paradigm Talent Agency, and is heading to New Zealand early next month where she'll be one of the speakers for the Going Global Music Summit (Friday 1st & Saturday 2nd September at Roundhead Studios, Auckland).
Since making her musical debut with her song Drift early last year, fast attracting a solid fan base and over 1 million plays across Spotify and Soundcloud in just a few months, Madeline North, better known by her musical moniker So Below, has once again blessed us with a moodier, masterful electro-pop banger, titled Ruin.
Since forming in 1998, the Antwerp, Belgium based trio Triggerfinger have long become a mainstay on the rock scene, building a solid reputation across Europe, the US, Canada and beyond, as one of the hardest-driving and sharpest dressing bands around.
Popular metalcore group Northlane are on their way to New Zealand. The Sydney band are touring North America taking in countries like Chile and Mexico as they head our way down-under next month to play Wellington’s San Fran then Auckland at the iconic Kings Arms.
Returning to New Zealand for the first time in three years, Australian metalcore band In Hearts Wake are on their way to our shores next month for a quick run of shows supporting their label cohorts Northlane.
Courtney Marie Andrews has landed in New Zealand, and set to play two concerts this week with Joe Pug - tonight at San Fran in Wellington (Wed July 19) and tomorrow night at The Tuning Fork in Auckland (Thu July 20).
Auckland two-piece Skinny Hobos, Alex Elvis and Texas Holdom, are heading on a 5 date New Zealand tour with headliners Decades, Bakers Eddy and Dead Favours. Kicking off tonight in Hamilton (July 14), the tour will also take them to Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch and finishes up in Dunedin.
Have you ever considered sharing your most personal experiences with the entire world? Well come this Friday 14th July, that’s what Emma Cameron, the rocking front-woman of kiwi band Decades is about to do, when they release their long-awaited full length debut album, The Truth And Other People, so we sat down with the cheerful front woman to discover just what truth this album reveals..
Whilst Sonny Landreth is a well known slide-guitar master, zydeco enthusiast and phenomenal blues legend, what you may not know about him, is that he is one of the nicest gentlemen in the entire universe.
He was always the boy next door type energy, that type of person you just always wanted to be around. From day one, Shay Taylor has always been one to break the mold and live life in such a vibrant and contagious manner, that no matter who he spoke to, they walked away feeling great!
Anthonie Tonnon is taking his new Extended Player and single to Australia, and to New Zealand towns that missed the first run of dates, or sold out too quickly. He’ll also be appearing at three summer festivals this February.
After a stand of three Auckland concerts that sold out in minutes in January, Connan Mockasin is hitting the road across Aotearoa for the first time in eight years this summer for a select run of headline shows.