Friday night I was lucky enough to head along to The Tuning Fork to catch Jon Toogood perform some of his favourite songs (including his own) solo and acoustic to a seated audience for the second night in a row. Both shows were sold out so I figured I must be in for a treat. Though to be perfectly honest I had no idea what to expect from the Shihad front man. Would he sing Shihad songs? Would he sing covers? Both, it turns out, including some of his own nuggets.
I arrived at around 8:15 thinking I'd have plenty of time to grab a drink and head to the WC. Shame on me! I barely had 2 minutes to make it to my seat. Then from out of nowhere he came and took his place on a stool at the front of the stage.
Jon Toogood has definitely come along way from being 'that nice guy who worked behind the counter at Tandys Record Store' in Wellington's old Manners Mall. There's no denying the music from Shihad defined my late teens/early twenties, and really has stood the test of time. So much so they had sellout shows performing their recently released FVEY album. But how would Toogood fair performing an intimate solo show? Kind of like baring all to a bunch of strangers.
The answer is good, no in fact great. Actually this has to be one of the best live musical performances I have seen this year. And as a music photographer I see a lot! Jon is as kiwi as they come and such a humble bloke, no pretence, no bullshit just someone who is down-to-earth with a real passion for making music. Also the vibe was very mellow which is something of a specialty for The Tuning Fork. You couldn't have picked a better setting.
After a brief welcome and thank you to the audience Jon tells us he still gets really nervous before a gig, even after 25 years. First up was a track called Every Day I Wake Up from collaborative affair The Adults, followed by the first Shihad song of the night, Missionary, from their self-titled album that was written after some religious door-knockers woke him up after a very hard night out! And a cover of Wilco's Misunderstood. Next up we heard Run from the album Pacifier, followed by a beautiful cover of Reckless by rockers Australian Crawl. Jon tells us he grew up in the eighties and these are the songs he remembers most from his childhood. At this point in the performance Jon asks the audience to join in and sing along whenever they feel like it but we are all too shy (or not yet drunk enough) to get that involved.
So on to The General Electric where we hear Brightest Star and then another cover, this time it's Bliss by NZsTh' Dudes with a few ad lib lyrics which actually get the audience singing along a little. To wrap up the set (or so I thought) Jon knocked out It Was You and Coming Down. Imagine my surprise and delight at hearing we would be getting more! A thirsty Jon adds he hopes he sounds ok so far and jumps off the stage.
Twenty minutes (and two glasses of water) later I still haven't made it to the WC, so sit cross-legged in my seat awaiting part two of this magical evening. Up first after the break is a song, Anniversary Day, written by Toogood and fellow kiwi rocker (and ex Fur Patrol leading lady) Julia Deans. Deans also spends her days in Melbourne and will be performing live in Auckland later this month.
Next an old song from Auckland band Voom called Isn't That Good, followed by an amazing acoustic rendition of Think You're So Free from FVEY, we hear the band are really happy with due to a return to Shihad's heavier roots. Then much to everyone's delight we hear a cover of Oasis' What's The Story (Morning Glory) where Jon admits he always preferred Oasis over Blur. But then didn't we all? Now the audience have loosened up and we are instructed to sing even louder if we can. I begin to hear the voices around me signaling it was time to join in.
Pacifier is up next, and maybe it's the alcohol but folks are well and truly into the spirit of the night. We are told this track is significant because it was written for a friend suffering from depression. Dragon's Rainstarted the whole crowd singing and ended with the crowd singing along with Jon sans guitar. I thought was on purpose but at the end he added, "That's the first time the crowd has sung to cover a broken string." Quickly followed by "It's all covers from now on fuck it!" After a quick guitar change, straight into Split Enz I Got You. My childhood favourite! And just we you think it couldn't get any better, out comes a cover of Ziggy Stardust's Suffragette City! Like me, Jon was introduced to Bowie via this album through and older sibling. Could thus night get any better? Wait yes! Lucky Man from 90s Brit Indie Pop moguls The Verve. What a way to end a show and what a show it was!
The encore is only one song, it's Long Way but I can't remember who recorded the original - I'm completely buzzing by now as are the crowd around me. We clap we cheer we clap some more. I am on a total high and so is everyone else.
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!
Due to significant weekend rainfall, and the forecast of more rain over the next 72 hours, Coffs Harbour City Council, Frontier Touring, John Logan Entertainment and Midnight Oil management have met and reviewed the site for Midnight Oil’s show on Thursday 19 October.
After their 2012 Mercury Prize-nominated debut and 2015’s Top 20 follow-up Born Under Saturn, musical adventurers Django Django are back for 2017, exploring new sounds with their brand new album Marble Skies
After stunning, sold-out concerts across the US, legendary Led Zep drummer Bonzo's greatest legacy - his son Jason - brings his critically acclaimed concert, Jason Bonham's Led Zeppelin Experience, to New Zealand for just two performances.
Playing their breakthrough debut self-titled album in its entirety, pop rock sensations We The Kings will return to New Zealand and Australia to celebrate the 10 year anniversary of their breakthrough self-titled debut album.
Instrumentals, imagined soundtracks and cut and paste experimentation sets a bracing, perception-shattering course for Who Built The Moon? - the keenly anticipated, WORLD TOUR-triggering third album from Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds.