After a pleasant and relaxing opening set from the talented Steve Abel whose guitar and smooth vocals perfectly blended with the fiddle from Dave Kahn. The audience were lulled into the perfect mood for the rest of the night, as a petit, and smiley Tift Merritt took to the stage at Auckland's Tuning Fork on Wednesday night.
One of the great aspects of this venue is the fact that it's a fantastic place for the listeners. The seated audience tend to observe and listen quietly, absorbing the music and atmosphere without any chatter or background noise, which can be a nice change from the common over powering loud bars and venues. What was great about this gig I found though, was the engagement from the enthusiastic audience. They still sat in silence soaking up the stunning voice of Merritt, however due to her slightly awkward but completely charming stage presence this intimate venue felt even smaller as Merritt chatted back and forth with audience members from stage throughout her whole set, admitting she was "trying to become our friend."
Opening her set with ‘All The Reasons We Don't Have To Fight,' from her 2010 album ‘See You On The Moon,' she insisted on beginning her set over again after telling the audience and lighting man that the stage lights had made her feel seasick. With the lights soon re-adjusted she began once again, this time stepping away from the microphone to draw the audience in even more so, while singing an exceptional cover of Tom Waits‘Train Song.'Wonderfully setting the tone for what else was to come, the next seven songs, all from her 2012 album ‘Travelling Alone' saw Merritt switch regularly from guitar to keyboard while her stunning vocals continued to fill the room.
Similar to that of Lorde's claw hand trademark, Merritt had her own unique movement and way of throwing herself into her performance, moving her legs, arms and body in unexpected directions as she sang her songs, adding to her quirky stage persona.
Returning to the keyboard for a stunning rendition of Joni Mitchell's ‘For Free,' and her own ‘Small Talk Relations' both proved highlights amongst the audience, leaving fans in awe of her gentle, soothing vocals.
Concluding her set the way she began, Merritt stepped away from the microphone once more, to perform the beautiful ballad ‘Too Soon To Go,' written about her father, who taught her how to play guitar and introduced her to the music of Neil and Joni.
Before you could blink, the crowd had beckoned Merritt back on stage for an encore whereby she presented us with a new song ‘Love Soldiers On' which she admitted to having never performed live before. The evening wrapped up with ‘The Things That Everybody Does' and ‘Feeling Of Beauty,' which led to the well-deserved standing ovation she received from the audience before departing the stage.
Petit and sweet and somewhat shy, but extremely musically talented with the voice to match. Considering Merritt's own reaction to the show and love shown from the audience, I would be very surprised if we didn't see Tift Merritt again on our shores sometime soon, as I have no doubt she made a lot of new friends.
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!
Roger Waters is bringing his US + THEM tour to New Zealand this week, performing two shows at Auckland's Spark Arena on Wednesday Jan 24 & Friday Jan 26, before heading to Dunedin's Forsyth Barr Stadium on Tuesday Jan 30.
Central Otago was on song today, when the annual nationwide Summer Concert Tour kicked off in Queenstown with international music artists Colin Hay of Men At Work fame, Alanis Morissette and The Orchestra starring former members of Electric Light Orchestra performing to a 18,000 strong sell-out crowd at the Gibbston Valley Winery Summer Concert.
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.