Spandau Ballet always had that air of posh James Bond to them. Their sophisticated style of New Romantique-Disco Pop and debonair suits probably helped perpetuate that myth, I guess also having the most influential songs of the 80s doesn't go amiss either. Who hasn't danced naked at home to Lifeline or lip-lynced the shite out of True? The band have always been the centre of the tabloids with the documented suing of guitarist Gary Kemp by band members or actor brother Martin Kemp's (of EastEnders fame) benign brain tumours. But here they were, the five original band members ahead of their appearance on NZ's X-Factor, as singer Tony Hadleynicely put it, "it's been five years, how're you doing Auckland?".
Wasting no time with formalities the band lunged into new tune Soul Boy however it was the golden oldies that the 40 plus crowd were gagging for, luckily they didn't have to wait long as Highly Strung, How Many Liesand teen fave Only When You Leave from their successful Parade album (shit 1984 scary) were duly dealt to before Hadley finally let burst with a shout of ‘Auckland!'.
Not a big fan of the Vector's acoustics, but I have to admit it was humming tonight. As the night progressed, the sound improved to the point I was tuned out totally immersed by the onstage spectacle. The band were on fire, Hadley's almost opera-resque vocals sounding just as good as I remember from my misspent youth. The pitch-perfect trademark backing vocals, John Keeble's solid time keeping on drums, Kemp's fiery guitar solos coupled with the sparse lighting and big screens enhanced the concert experience as the familiarRound And Round played with video footage of the group in their heyday. After the song a middle aged female's voice shot across the Arena "I love you" not skipping a beat Hadley fired back "I love you too darling".
Hadley is a consummate entertainer a funny bugger too, I've never seen a frontman bond with an audience so quickly. The group all smiles were enjoying themselves, it was hard to fathom the band having had in-house dramas as he quizzed the Auckland audience "Been alright the last five years? Good".
He recounted they've been busy filming a new movie called Soul Boys of the Western World which was an easy introduction into brand new songs This is the Love & Steal, the latter surprisingly good, emulating that pop feel good smooth the band are well known for
The night wore on like a good wine, getting better the longer they stayed on stage. Hadley remarking on how many English people he could hear on the streets of Auckland, while toasting the audience with beer in hand before the band rarked up the tempo with the Wham sounding Chant No.1 (I Don't Need This Pressure On)before transporting us back to their roots with a retro blitz medley of pre-loved 80s hits preceding True. It was stark dichotomy between their old and new music styles, songs such as The Freeze and To Cut A Long Story Short, classics that have finely stood the test of time.
As much as the guitar is central to any song be it a solo or rhythm, saxophonist Steve Norman is worth his weight in gold (excuse the pun) and more than most guitarists, his feel on songs such as the brilliant solo onSteal or the intro to Raw is integral to the groups sound. As the focus moved to the back of the Arena, Hadley and guitarist Gary Kemp did the unplugged thing wowing the crowd with stripped back versions of Empty Spaces and Gold, most people managed a few lines of the song much to Hadley's pleasure. From there the close of the evening was on nigh heading into festive mode the classics the audience had been waiting for slowly made their appearance, Communication, Lifeline, True, Through The Barricades and Gold all received warmly while Hadley & co took their final bow to a standing ovation.
Tony Hadley is one of the most likeable guys you could meet in a couple of hours and come away feeling like you've made a friend. Spandau Ballet seamlessly defy time, their music harkens a pining for the 80s. It was a great night of singalongs and reigniting those childhood memories - Superb, one to tick off the bucket list and for once with great sound, hey hey.
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!
One month on from the release of their third album [Wade Waist Deep], American rock band Thomas Wynn & The Believers are back on the road, breaking beyond the southern rock scene with complex, pulsing rhythms and breathtaking harmonies.
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.