By Wal Reid
Date / Venue: Saturday January 16th, 2015 - Villa Maria Winery, Auckland
"Can we sing the chorus again? Because it's f**king true" You can't accuse singer Matiu Walters of not being passionate. The young singer clad in an I Love Ugly baseball shirt pleaded to the sold out crowd at Mangere's Villa Maria Winery, briefly pausing on Last Ones Left under a spectacular Auckland sunset. Given the sodden wet start to the New Year, conditions were near perfect.
After American Mike Taylor's energetic set of amiable catchy originals & P-Money spinning tunes including some of his own hit songs, the crowd were primed & ready as the familiar intro of FTW swayed the audience into action jostling to find prime position. Cameras were ready at the helm to IG (Instagram to you & me) the night away with every hash tag imaginable under the sun.
Last year's radio darling Stay Together & the triple platinum hit Don't Forget Your Roots made for a solid start to the evening. Bassist Chris Mac with peroxided coif was like a rabid man, aided by the blues guitar riffing of Ji Fraser gave way for Walters to stoke the party up front.
The reggae of Hold Up was a precursor to a raft of hits including their 2011 hit Rise Up 2.0, the sugary twee pop of So High & the soulful Mother's Eyes dedicated to Walter's mother who was in the audience.
Trying to pigeonhole Six60's music is about as useless as trying to decide on a nation's new flag. Its flawed concept rarely gains agreement, but Six60's grasp fusing different genres successfully have seen the band go from obscurity to a flirting record deal last year with Capital Records.
Walters's soulful vocals were on point tonight, showcasing his powerful range on acoustic guitar during a solo set, he held the fort as good as any overseas artist including Ed Sheeran, the band sonically impressive as their recorded album have earned to right to position themselves as an international act, and this is no mean feat.
As punters revelled in the generous encore set that included Forever & Special, I couldn't help thinking they must be doing something right, even if blogger Simon Sweetman once coined them ‘BBQ Reggae' & said of their music "It's insulting to anyone with ears".
Personal taste is subjective however his views are laughable. ‘BBQ reggae' yeah maybe, some material may not be to taste, but there is a lot to admire that will ensure as long as Kiwis travel overseas there'll always be Six60 music accompanying them - ‘My family, my friends, the best, now f**k all the rest'. At the end of the day that's all that matters