When the line up for Soulfest emerged on Twitter earlier this year, it looked too good to be true. So when the artists were actually seen arriving in Sydney for the first show on the tour, it became a reality. Maxwell, Mos Def, Common and the great D'Angelo on one bill - amazing stuff.
The venue of Western Springs was a perfect fit for the artists on the day. It was a bit grey, a bit windy, but spirits were high. There weren't many of the teething problems that new festivals usually encounter, besides over-zealous security and huge lines for alcoholic beverages. The food was great, with very accommodating staff. Overall, the vibe was a family friendly picnic with some seriously good tunes in the background.
Anthony Hamilton was surprisingly good, with a stellar rendition of ‘Charlene'. Hamilton later joinedCommon on stage for a snippet of ‘So Far To Go' (pity D'Angelo wasn't in the zone at that point, who sung on the original with Common). Common, the bald Chi-town rapper who has just released a great record inNobody's Smiling, was a force to be reckoned with, accompanied by a DJ and backing vocalist. ‘The Light' was a revelation on stage. Mos Def, who was on before him, wasn't as vital, but still a politically charged showman, scattering roses in the VIP area of the crowd.
There were some low points - including silent patches between acts. The DJ sets were OK, but it was criminal seeing an artist of Che Fu's calibre behind the decks - if we have anyone to showcase to these international soul superstars, he'd be the first pick. Instead, Aaradhna took the prize home for best local performance.
But when it boiled down to it, the big draw card was D'Angelo. I was lucky enough to attend his solo show inMelbourne, which was life changing. His slot on the festival went for just under an hour - considering his large following and influence here in NZ, it was a shame he couldn't close the festival or perform at a venue like the Powerstation, but a minor gripe - the man was here, and in fine form. He opened with a Funkadelic cover which morphed into funky single ‘Left & Right' - the crowd was definitely on his side at this point. ‘One Mo Gin', ‘Really Love', ‘Lady' - D hit the mark. Closing with ‘Untitled (How Does it Feel)' was the cherry on the cake - the performance of the day by far.
Maxwell closed the day's festivities, and unfortunately was a bit of a come down after D'Angelo's relentless energy, but still managed to hit the mark. In a suave white suit, Maxwell was the consummate crowd pleaser, with tracks like ‘Get Ta Know Ya', ‘Lifetime' and ‘Bad Habits' cranking up the heat. Light rain on Maxwell's blue stage lights gave it an ethereal vibe, especially when that falsetto made an appearance on ‘This Woman's Work'. Then all of a sudden, the show was done.
Honestly, this was a very unique offering in festival terms, something that definitely worked for an Auckland crowd. A lineup like this won't happen again -and if Soulfest does come back next year, it will hopefully still boast a stellar bill like this. Big ups to the promoters for capturing lightning in a bottle.
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.