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.
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!
After crisscrossing the Northern Hemisphere for over a year in support of their brilliant seventh studio album Ellipsis, Scottish rockers Biffy Clyro announce their return to New Zealand for one all-ages show at Spark Arena on April 24.
Evoking blues the likes of Hendrix, Rival Sons, Jack White and The Black Keys, the four piece Radio Coma formed in 2016, coming together in New Zealand from different corners of the world to create heavy rock'n roll grooves.
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.