Date / Venue: Monday April 24th, 2017 - Whammy Bar, Auckland
A number of years ago I wrote an article holding "It's not about the music, it's about the message" as an opinion piece over the fact that regardless of the genre of music - the key thing to take away, or in that instance - feed into yourself is the message being presented through the music.
More often than not lately I've been thinking of revising that sentiment with "it's about the emotion". Whether that's an emotional release that lets you vent anger, frustration, hurt, or even shame, but an emotional recharge - the power to build you up, inspire you with hope, confidence, a resolve to do... something; even it's just the escape of your problems and fall into a state of tranquility and calm for a few minutes. It's yet another aspect of the journey that music takes us on. As one of, if not THE pioneers of what is now dubbed "black gaze" - Alcest have perfected melding the tumultuous writhing of black metal, with the sombre, melancholic, and dream-like qualities of shoegaze - innocent songs begin before revealing in ourselves some hard truths about ourselves and we find ourselves coming face to face with those expressions of anger, frustration, or hurt - the tone and mood of each song drawing us in and having us face it head on - a cathartic release made possible by scathing black metal screams and rasping groans, but soon enough, we break through those feelings and find ourselves transported to what can only be described as a higher plane.
We're now at peace and drifting - clean melodic vocals guiding and lifting above the cacophony sitting precariously alongside us - it's a hard feeling/sound to describe accurately - but it's a euphoric state of mind often found in modern day Christian worship; it's an equally strange site to behold - a room full of swirling guitars and distortion, melodic clean vocals soaring above everything, and a crowd of metal heads - perfectly still.
But a well air conditioned spacious church we were not at - it was a hot, stifling Whammy Bar on Auckland's infamous K-Road, the room was packed, but not so that one could wander and move around to find those sweet spots beneath the godly air-conditioning fans, "The Dark Third" and "Mothra" had just finished setting the mood when Alcest took the stage with "Onyx", a mellow, oozing track calming us all, before shifting into the title track "Kodama" easing us into the oncoming set.
It was a strange experience to have a crowd slow clap in a song during an (albeit shoe-gaze natured) black metal show - bringing both surrealism and intensity to their act, I find it increasingly hard to put into words just what it's like to bare witness to Alcest live - I think it's something that you just have to actually witness yourself.
The emotional journey that each of us take away from such a show, and from such music - is deeply personal, and different for everyone. Regardless of what story, or intent the band themselves have for their music - it's our interpretation, that brings about our own euphoria and release.
Alcest continue their tour through Australia this week, hitting Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne, and finally Perth.
Rosetta finally tells New Zealand their story. Formed in Philadelphia in 2003 as a four-piece, Rosetta's first two albums—2005's The Galilean Satellites and 2007's Wake/Lift—pulled together elements from 90s hardcore, drone, doom, and atmospheric sludge metal.
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.