I never went to a rave in the 90's. For the majority of the 90's, I was more concerned with eating playdough than clubbing if I'm being completely honest. However, last nights gig by Canadian electro-punk duo, Crystal Castles, a band famed for their raucous live sets and glitchy, aggressive take on electronic music, took me there. At least in terms of what I imagined it to be.I left Auckland's Powerstation last night slightly dazed; an after-effect of being constantly bombarded by the flickering strobe lights that accompanied Crystal Castles performance. There were so many flashing lights - I cannot stress that enough. It was an intense visual barrage, befitting a band that matched it with equally outrageous and sense-shocking showmanship.
I hadn't seen Crystal Castles perform since they burst onto the club scene in 2008. Since then they released a number of well received records, changed their vocalist, and took a lengthy hiatus. I wondered whether new vocalist Edith Frances would be able to match the energy and charisma of the absent Alice Glass and whether the duo would be able to deliver on their reputation as being one of the most compelling and energetic live acts in music. I was wrong to ever doubt them.
The whole gig is a trance. The set is raucous and exhilarating. The music and lighting intoxicate, encouraging and intensifying the frenzied crowd. Edith glimmers and disappears repeatedly within the strobe lights, uncontrollably inundating herself with water as she moved around the stage with animalistic energy, her coloured hair dripping with sweat and water as she jumps around the stage encouraging the audience to move.
Edith's vocal range is exquisite, surprisingly outmatching that of previous lead singer Alice Glass. Her handling of the frenetic ‘Baptism’, a classic electro-pop classic from their second album is probably the best reflection of this. She hit the nerve-crunching decibels present in the thunderous chorus of 'Baptism' with ease, while also respecting the inflated glitches and often hardly coherent wails in the song - one of the vocal features that the band is most known for since releasing their debut album. Edith also did well to match the onstage energy of Glass, dousing herself and the crowd in a bottled water baptism throughout the song (I stopped counting at around four bottles - there were probably more). Watching people dance to songs, old and new, served as a reminder to me that the music of Crystal Castles is bigger than the line-up, and that the lure of Alice Glass wasn’t essential for the band.
Accompanying the jarring and hyper-presence of Edith Frances is Ethan Kath, a genius musician and calm mannered performer, who infuses Crystal Castles with their signature off-kilter beats. Kath silently blurs on stage, occasionally joined by Frances, remaining fixed to his decks throughout the concert; transfixed to his own creations of disjointed ligaments, ambiguous loops, and destructive inflections that have defined the band's sound for the last nine years. Kath must be praised for rising a band back from the ashes that many thought was dead in the water.
Other highlights from the night include the pulverising and ghastly fizz of 'Fleece', a song whose arrival was greeted by an energetic whirl of concertgoers colliding against each other in the tightly-packed Powerstation dancefloor, while the heavy bass of 'Enth’ crashed through the venue, thumping through the crowd. The sombre 'Char' - a standout from their latest outing, the politically-charged Amnesty (I), provided a nice counter-point to these tracks, as does the dark and gloomy 'Keronse'; and 'Kept', a song which saw everyone dancing rhythmically rather than jumping - that is until everything descended into anarchy again.
The band’s chart hit cover 'Not in Love', the song that saw their fame soar was predictably saved for the encore. The crowd dutifully danced and sung along to the track before heading off into the crisp cool night.
Joining the others out on the street I reflected on the last time that I saw Crystal Castles. They were as unpredictable and chaotic as they had ever been, all without abandoning the melodies that earned them their position as frontrunners of electronic noise. However, the band appears to be more creative and relevant as ever - in a climate of huge political unrest, angry protest bands such as Crystal Castles are becoming evermore popular, though what makes the duo different is that they have not abandoned melody in the process.
Today Moby launched his new song 'Mere Anarchy' along with its accompanying video, the second track released from Moby’s forthcoming album, Everything Was Beautiful, And Nothing Hurt, due out on Friday, March 2.
In November 2017, Young Fathers announced that they’d completed work on a new album. The trio – Alloysious Massaquoi, Graham ‘G’ Hastings and Kayus Bankole – marked the news by previewing a brand new song, ‘Lord’ and a subsequent accompanying video.
Leftfield - one of electronic music's all-time greatest acts - is returning to Australia and New Zealand with their incredible Leftism In Its Entirety show which has been selling out venues and causing a mass break-out of smiling faces across Europe.
They immediately sold out Sydney and Melbourne dates earlier this year, and now LCD Soundsystem are returning to Australia and New Zealand for their biggest headline shows ever this summer – touring February 2018!
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.
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!