A little bit of Texas descended on Auckland this weekend with the introduction of Auckland City Limits. Based loosely on the Austin City Limits music festival that originated in 2002 (which has now grown to a two weekend full festie in the States), A.C.L looked to be New Zealand's big-act musical answer since the disappearance of Big Day Out, which was canned due to ticket & merchandise purchases plummeting over previous years.
We were enticed months ago with murmurings of international bands, 4 stages, huge headliners and a full day of music set in a rather recently renovated festival location; Western Springs park in Auckland. Fizzing to hear the first announcement, you could almost hear a disappointed sigh across NZ when the 'holy-shit-these-bands-are-mind-blowing-awesome' panned out to be 'holy-shit-I-have-seen-majority-of-these-bands-before'.
None the less, early bird tickets sold pretty swiftly......and to be fair, you'd have to be silly not to jump on that band wagon. Less than $100 to see lyrical beauties The National and hip hop/rap legend Kendrick Lamar. Sales seem to have flat lined after that, with fans waiting to hear the follow up announcement, hoping to be enticed by bigger, better, faster, stronger musical acts. Modest Mouse most certainly are a draw card, but the second announcement seemed to be salt & peppered with even more NZ musicians who you might get the chance to listen to at Leigh Saw Mill any other given weekend.
With more information, and FOMO becoming more prevalent, music fans bit the bullet and paid out the dosh for what was overall a really good day. The sun was shining, and Auckland was being a sexy bitch, putting on the weather with a ridiculously warm Autumn day. Timing of the festival was great; not wanting to compete with Laneway, but also knowing that us Kiwi's want to hold on to the smell of summer (which comes hand in hand with outdoor music events) and pulling on our heartfelt memories of Big Days Out gone by.
Auckland Kiddie Limits was a fun filled area for the little ones, plenty of entertainment, while mum & dad could relax and catch up with friends. The Golden Dawn area hosted some killer comedians, including Peter Baecker and offered a more laid back vibe to the main stages.
It was a bit strange, negotiating meeting points without referring to some seriously heavy corporate sponsorship - which was liberally branded in every nook, cranny and obvious place possible. However, there were plenty of places to eat good eats (we all know sustenance is key). The ever frustrating drinks line was, well, really frustrating to put it mildly and the set up seemed rather archaic, which was a bit disappointing considering the amount of time that had been spent on the 'interactive' elements. It felt like more effort should have been put in to getting the fundamentals right, before worrying about the flourishes.
But these were minor semantics, and ultimately we were there for the music, and Ladyhawke hit the main stage mid afternoon having us all up on our feet with hits like 'My Delirium' - the sound bounced a bit with wind factor, but Pip was the shit and the crowd backed her Wellingtonia ways. .
Cutting Ladyhawke short due to a clash in the schedule, Kamasi Washington was dribbling with sultry jazz from afar and I had to make it to see the American saxophonist/producer and all round legend. From what I saw of the end of their performance, I felt sad I wasn't able to appreciate the full hour they were playing, but resided to the fact I can just listen to my friends Vinyl to pacify the sadness from missing the full set.
Quickly over to the other main stage, internationally acclaimed siblings Broods took us on a gorgeous angelic journey through their repertoire of hits, including 'Bridges' which we all sang and danced along to.
By this stage, it was time to eat and although there was plenty of food selection around the venue, I appreciated that pass outs were an option. A brief hiatus consuming food and watching one of the biggest foodies of all time Action Bronson, who really got the crowd riled up.
More fantastic musical acts from New Zealand followed, and included The Naked & Famous, and a dash of The Phoenix Foundation. Home grown and always a hit, they bantered with the crowd and made us feel proud of be Kiwis.
Then, finally, it was time for the big kahuna's.....
Having to toss up between Girl Talk and The National broke my heart, so I decided to divvy my time and saw 15 minutes of Girl Talk before heading way over the other side of the park to see Ohio's rock/indie prodigal sons The National. Seeing them perform several times before in NZ, I felt really lucky that we've actually made it on the map for these successful bands to keep on wanting to come back. As per usual, they put on a memorable, ethereal, charismatic and emotional performance... the crowd chimed in for the classics: 'Bloodbuzz Ohio', 'Fake Empire' and 'Vanderlyle Crybaby Geeks' along with so many other hits.
Really, the whole of the day was leading up to one man and the name of that man was Kendrick Lamar. Hailing from Compton, L.A. Kendrick's off beat rap style has had him rise to fame steadily over the years. His lyrical swag and genius speaks of confronting political and social issues, satirical in delivery, and stitched together in perfectly quilted albums, it's no surprise Kendrick tucks Grammy to bed at night.
We waited in anticipation for the small man, with big ideas to take to the stage. His presence preceding, oozing with confidence, He took to the stage later than scheduled, and due to some technical issues we didn't get the whole hour and a half promised. Still, it was a highlight when 'Swimming Pools', 'Alright' and'Bitch Don't Kill My Vibe' had us dancing like maniacs, yet our eyes were firmly locked on stage to the man who held all the power.
Exhausted and elated, it was lovely talking to others leaving the venue, and the general consensus was that Auckland City Limits shouldn't have any limits, and we were looking forward to pushing things even further for 2017.
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).
Certified maniac Donald Trump was sworn in as President of the USA, despotic leader Kim Jong-un threatened a nuclear war, and former household hero Bill Cosby was outed as a sexual predator: 2017 was a very dark year.
South African singer-songwriter Jeremy Loops has just announced a global tour, which includes two shows in New Zealand at Neck of the Woods in Auckland on Wednesday, May 30 and San Fran in Wellington on Thursday, May 31.
After more than half a century on the road and an unparalleled career that has redefined the cultural landscape and seen Elton John claim his place as a true global icon, the superstar today announced via an exclusiveVR180 live stream on YouTube, details of his final 'Farewell Yellow Brick Road' tour.
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.
Robbie Williams held a press conference in Auckland yesterday (February 13) on his Birthday, ahead of his New Zealand shows in Auckland ( Spark Arena Wednesday February 14) and Dunedin ( Forsyth Barr Stadium February 17).
Less than two weeks until the release of his hotly-anticipated sophomore album, Nation of Two (released on Friday 23 February via Liberation Records), and alongside the announcement of a colossal run of international tour dates, Vance Joy will be heading out on a tour on Australia and New Zealand this September.
The countdown is on! In just 4 days time, Robbie Williams will arrive in New Zealand, bringing his mammoth Heavy Entertainment Show World Tour to Auckland's’ Spark Arena and Dunedin's’ Forsyth Barr Stadium.
The love between Sam Smith and fans down under is stronger than ever, with thousands of pre-sale tickets being snapped up to the Grammy-winning singer-songwriter’s The Thrill Of It All Australian and New Zealand tour this November.
In celebration of reaching over 1 million streams on Spotify with their latest single release Too Strung Up, Alae deliver a brand new acoustic take on their digital streaming smash, with the video premiering today through youtube.com.
Gifted Australian singer-songwriter Vance Joy has big news for his New Zealand fans. The current Rolling Stone Australia cover star today announces a one-off solo show at The Tuning Fork on 28 March to celebrate the release of his sophomore album Nation of Two.
While in Auckland for St. Jerome’s Laneway Festival at the end of this month, Billie Eilish will also play an intimate all ages sideshow at The Tuning Fork on Tuesday, January 30th, which Laneway Festival are excited to announce as “a gift to Laneway’s Under 18 friends.”
SIX60 and Nico & Vinz’s Hawke’s Bay show at Black Barn Vineyards has sold out within minutes of going on on sale, but there’s good news for those who missed out, an extra show has been added for the following night, Wednesday 10 January.
SIX60 have landed back on New Zealand soil after wrapping up the massive European leg of The New Waves World Tour with Nico & Vinz. Now they’re getting set for another Kiwi summer, and they’ve got news.
Following the earlier announcement of the North American, United Kingdom and Ireland dates, ten-time Grammy winner Taylor Swift’s reputation Stadium Tour will land in Australia in late 2018 kicking off in Perth on Friday, October 19 then onto Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane before heading across to Auckland.
As the Auckland weather continues to impress, Silo Park continues to be the spot for your summer outdoor drinking from Friday night, right through to Sunday afternoon. We also have (arguably) Auckland Waterfronts largest area of public shade - the infamous ‘stretch tent.’
In a global first, documentary maker, author and actor Ross Kemp will reveal the truth about how the extreme world works live on stage, delivering remarkable insights into the 73 documentaries that he has made with his team across the world in the last 15 years.
Bringing together some of the city’s most impressive minds, the Puāwai Festival returns to Auckland from Monday 27 November to Saturday 2 December to champion honest and authentic representation of HIV in Aotearoa. The week full of events is timed to honour World AIDS Day on December 1.
The New Zealand Dance Company (NZDC) has announces its most provocative and poetic national tour yet, The Absurdity of Humanity to be presented this September in New Plymouth at the Taranaki Arts Festival,Marlborough, the Christchurch Arts Festival and in Wellington for strictly limited performances.
The Auckland Philharmonia will perform Harry Potterand the Philosopher’s Stone as part of the Harry Potter Film Concert Series at the Spark Arena this Sunday, July 2; while the Christchurch Symphony Orchestra will perform at the Horncastle Arena on Wednesday July 5.
New Zealand's own Hayden Tee returns to Auckland for his one and only local performance this year in support of Broadway Dreams New Zealand (BDNZ) at A Night of Broadway Dreams, an exclusive fundraiser at Rannoch House on July 2nd.
Born out of the Pacific Dance Choreographic Laboratory, the Pacific Dance Festival is now on at the Mangere Arts Centre in Auckland, providing an opportunity for Pacific choreographers to create, develop, and perform original dance works in a celebration of Pacific cultures.
From the soaring Jerusalem and patriotic Rule Britannia to iconic Brit pop and much-loved classics, Auckland Symphony Orchestra will take you on a musical journey that will have you dropping your cuppa and singing your heart out!
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