By Jake Ebdale
Date / Venue: Thursday April 20th, 2017 - The Powerstation, Auckland
The Darkness and Push Push – now, that’s a bill I didn’t see coming. It’s been a while since both acts enjoyed their heydays – Push Push in ’91, The Darkness landing in ’03 – so Hawkins and Havo had a lot to prove last night.
This was Push Push’s first proper gig in over 20 years, so it was a big one for the former North Shore rockers. I was glad to see Mikey Havoc, former TV star and bFM/Hauraki host, still possessing some great pipes. That is no understatement – there were wails, screams, inane banter over the top of guitarist Andy Kane. He’s still got it. ‘Beating Up Bullfrogs’ and ‘Euphoric Plunder in Bliss’ had some real charge to them. Many were there for ‘Trippin’, their number-one smash, by far the best song of the set. But besides an energetic thrasher called ‘Change’, the songs from the new EP, Talk2Me, didn’t really hold up. I'll be looking out for that original multi-coloured vinyl of Trillion Shades of Happy, though. A welcome set from the Push Push boys.
The Darkness were absolutely shit-hot out of the gate. The change in pace from Push Push was formidable, kicking into the deathly one-two of ‘Black Shuck’ and ‘Growing On Me’, singer Justin Hawkins declaring, ‘Hi, we’re The motherfucking Darkness!’. He had a flipping purple open-chest one-piece on. Rufus ‘Tiger’ Taylor, Roger Taylor’s son, was a beast on drums. There were mid-air splits, blistering guitar solos, bras and jackets thrown onstage. Hawkins crowdsurfed during set closer 'Love on the Rocks With No Ice'. Insane, bro.
It was Rock Show 101. The singles from their debut, Permission to Land, still surprisingly sound fresh today, including ‘Love is a Feeling’, ‘Friday Night’ and ‘I Believe in a Thing Called Love’. The new songs were heavier and faster, like Iron Maiden with a wink in their eye. The only gripe I had was them only playing one song, the title track, from second album One Way Ticket To Hell…and Back, unfairly maligned on its release in 2006. 'Girlfriend', 'Dinner Lady Arms' and 'Is It Just Me?' would've been welcome.
The best kinds of gigs? When you walk away liking the band considerably more than when you walked in. This was the case for The Darkness. And good news - their as-yet-untitled album is due in September. A great night of ridiculous rock had by all.
By Gray Vickers
Released Friday May 19th, 2017 - Sony Music
Dead Cross, the SoCal band featuring Mike Patton (Faith No More, Tomahawk), Dave Lombardo (ex-Slayer, Suicidal Tendencies, Misfits), Justin Pearson (The Locust, Retox) and Michael Crain (Retox, Festival of Dead Deer) will release their self-titled debut album on Friday 4 August via Ipecac Recordings.
Iowa hard rock outfit, Stone Sour, has announced their long awaited Auckland headline show. Celebrating the upcoming release of their highly anticipated fifth album, Hydrograd, the band will perform at Spark Arena on Wednesday, August 23.
Metallica have announced ‘Now That We’re Live,’ a live rehearsal special from M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore that will stream exclusively on Facebook Live on Wednesday May 10th at 1PM NZ time (Tuesday May 9th at 9:00 PM EST)
One of Australia's most exciting and innovative instrumentalists James Norbert Ivanyi will release his eagerly anticipated 4th EP Denalavis on June 1st.
Drum wizard Mike Portnoy (ex-Dream Theater, The Winery Dogs, Flying Colors) brings the Shattered Fortress to Australia and New Zealand this November!
Legendary Australian rockers Wolfmother present their long awaited Gypsy Caravan Tour this June. In support of their fourth album, Victorious, Wolfmother will play two headline shows in Auckland and Wellington.
Danzig will releae the new album ‘Black Laden Crown’ on May 26th. It will be the 1st Danzig album of all new material in 7 years, since 2010's critically acclaimed 'Deth Red Sabaoth'.
The infectious pop sound of Auckland’s Openside has been catching on all over the place. The group’s debut recording was the single ‘Worth It’ released in mid 2015, and the polished four-piece have impressed with an energetic sound and subversive lyrical smarts since their debut.
By Mark Derricutt
Date / Venue: Monday April 24th, 2017 - Whammy Bar, Auckland