Feeling as if I've just flown to California and back to see The Madden Brothers perform, Benji and Joel Madden bring their ‘Greetings from California' tour to life, transporting those in the audience to their adored hometown of the Sunshine Coast.
Auckland's ASB Theatre, although not entirely full last night, was bursting with the growing excitement, energy and enthusiasm that radiated off each member of the audience, as our very own Benny Tipene, the man about town at the moment, it seems, performed a remarkable set featuring songs from his recently released album ‘Bricks,' and an exceptional cover of Elvis Presley's, ‘Can't Help Falling In Love With You.'
Sure enough, the time soon came for the favourite twin brothers to take the stage. As their band of eight, including a drummer, keyboardist, bassist and two guitarists, on a high riser to the right of the stage three backing vocalists all dressed in black, which Joel later introduced as their "Angels," stood.
Before any music begun, it wasn't hard to tell that it was going to be an impressive show not just musically but also visually, as the lights hanging from the ceiling and big screen situated behind and above both Benji and Joel, somewhat verified there was going to be a lot to look at, and that there was indeed.
As the lights dimmed and the stage blackened, you could vaguely make out the silhouettes of the brothers, as they took their positions behind two microphones which stood waiting for them, front of stage. The intro to their recent popular hit single ‘Dear Jane' began in full force, then there was no going back, as the room lit up with enthusiastic cheers from the excited audience members of all ages and the impressive light show and night of pure entertainment had begun, in no better, or more energetic way possible.
"How are you Auckland?" Joel Madden, the lead vocalist chimed, much to the crowd's excitement, who replied in screams and applause. "We're going to play you a bunch of songs from our album ‘Greetings From California'" he announced once more. The screen behind the two was lit with crazy moving footage of a historical California, changing to different images and colourful shapes behind them as the light bulbs hanging on strings from the roof lit up, as the band launched into ‘Brixton,' another upbeat and energetic track from their album that had the audience moving in their seats from start to finish.
‘Out Of My Mind' soon followed, as Joel encouraged the audience, who didn't need much convincing, to clap along to the upbeat number as he changed the lyrics throughout the song, admitting and announcing, "I fell in love with New Zealand once," which of course received an immensely positive response from the audience, who replied with screams and shouts to just about everything both Benji and Joel said throughout the night.
It quickly became obvious that the Madden brothers are born entertainers, telling stories and jokes, interacting with and entertaining the audience, even when they weren't performing music. "Thanks everyone," Benji spoke for the first time. Telling the story and meaning behind the next song, "We're away from our family a lot touring and travelling, so we wrote this song for them," he informed the audience before they launched into the heartfelt, melodic, 'U R.'
Benji seemed to take the role of introducing most of the songs throughout the night, and filling everyone in on the stories behind how each song came about. "Have you ever had your heart broken Auckland?" he asked. As Joel joined in playing off Benji's comments, adding his own touch of humour into the introduction, Benji went on informing the crowd, "It get's better. so lets take a chance on love and sing this one together," he announced. With a brief practice of repeat "oh ah woahs," this was one of the few moments and the first times throughout their set that the audience saw the guitar playing brother Benji take the reign on vocals, as he went on to sing the intro of the crowd favourite, ‘Love Pretenders,' on his own, before Joel joined in.
As the song concluded, the lights dimmed and the stage blackened, as the screen behind the band became the main focus for a short minute as it played some historical black and white footage from the 80s and 90s of people on a sunny Californian beach. The footage soon faded, and as the lights returned, Joel walked back towards the front of the stage, repeatedly saying, "California." After a few short minutes of talking to the crowd about California and telling the audience what a great place it is, it was Joel's turn this time to introduce the song, as he announced, "Our dad used to sing us this song and it reminds me of home."
As another male walked out on stage towards Joel, he introduced the new addition to the audience as his good friend Danny Ross, who "is part kiwi," he happily told everyone. "Today is actually Danny's birthday and this is his favourite song, so we're going to sing it together," he continued before the two of them launched into an exceptional version of Tom Petty's, ‘Free Faillin,' which also included a very impressive guitar solo that drew the song to an end.
Following this, the Good Charlotte covers came thick and fast, adored by the enthusiastic and loving audience just as much as their own ‘Madden Brothers' material. ‘Girls & Boys' was the first of these, and the first song throughout their set that actually had everyone standing up, out of their seats, dancing, waving their hands in the air and singing along as the drummer drew the song to an end with a striking drum solo that finished the song with a bang that left everyone in awe.
Outstanding stripped back, acoustic versions of 'Lifestyles of the Rich & Famous,' and the popular Good Charlotte hit, ‘Dance Floor Anthem' followed, both of which were accompanied with funny tales of the Madden Brothers childhood told by Benji, as everyone rose to their feet with excitement to dance, sing and clap along to these all time favourites.
"Ma'am, settle down" both brothers would say throughout the night, as numerous woman from the audience humorously yelled, "take your shirts off" at various points during the night. "We're having a New Zealand night," Joel went on eventually ignoring the requests to undress. "In the band we call them Auckland nights, but we got you Auckland, we will always have your back," he went on, much to the crowd's growing excitement whenever either of them mentioned New Zealand and Auckland. "Anyway, this song was written in Auckland and it's a true story," Joel finally announced, before going on to perform ‘Last Night,' what was to be the last of the Good Charlotte covers for the evening.
What happened next remains one of the highlights from the whole concert, for me and I'm sure many others. But coming from me whose not a big 5 Seconds Of Summer fan, I now understand why this song is so good. It was written by Joel & Benji for the young band who "remind us of ourselves when we were that age," Joel told the audience. "Sometimes there comes a time when you need to pass the torch on to someone else, so we wrote this song for these guys," he continued, before they sat down to perform the most stunning and striking cover of ‘Amnesia' I have ever and will probably ever hear.
Returning back to playing some more songs from their recently released debut album, ‘Bad' and ‘Brother'which saw Joel showcase his skills on the harmonica, while the guitarist jumped onto the drummer's riser and completely let rip. As the songs drew to an end, the stage disappeared into darkness as the screen behind them took the lime light once more, this time playing a brief few minutes of footage, with a voice over about how California is such a fantastic holiday destination for all.
This sparked the Californian theme, which if wasn't apparent to the audience beforehand, couldn't have been made more obvious as the band went on to perform tribute to their loved home and city, drawing their energetic set to an end with their popular hit ‘California Rain' which adorned impressive solos from both the guitarist and the drummer. With one final cover of The Eagles hit ‘Hotel California,' which saw not only the band but also the crowd go wild, jumping around, dancing and singing as Benji & the two other guitarists launched into the most epic joint guitar solo you could possibly imagine.
Then of course it couldn't be the end of the show without a performance of their #1 hit single ‘We Are Done.'Sadly the boys didn't come back for an encore, but the set they provided, finishing with of course their most popular hit, brought the outstanding show to an end perfectly, as everyone left the venue with nothing but contented and happy looks on their faces, from the brilliant show they had just witnessed.
One of our writers sat down with Amy Mansfield, writer of I Didn’t Invite You Hear To Lecture Me, ahead of the Basement shows. Most students throw out their study notes, but not Amy. She has kept hold of them for the past 20 years--vertibiam quotes from her lectures that are too good to ever get rid of. The play was shown throughout the Auckland Fringe Week 2018, and even in some personal living rooms, the vibe is very independent and witty.
It was a cold bleary eyed Saturday night as the clock struck midnight, and counted towards 1am… the time set forth to conjure Richard Shaw, guitarist for legendary UK black metal act Cradle of Filth. We talked ahead of their sold out, first ever performance here in New Zealand.
NZ is about to get OBESSED, with the newest in kiwi music. Local Tauranga sweetheart, Amelia McNabb comes to us fiercely, independently, and with more fire in her lungs than I've heard from any kiwi artist in while. THIS is what we’ve been waiting for.
Elgusto, one part of the innovative electronic/dance music duo, Hermitude, sat down with one of our interviewers this past week; chatting about their loaded schedule, the bands ethos, how they communicate an instrumental show, and their creative collaborations.
Catching up with friends who are musicians at their gigs is always an odd, awkward, rushed affair between sets, pack-down, or a series of inaudible shouts as another band plays. So with the release of the new Seas of Conflict single Monachopsis, I thought it was time I simply scheduled time for a chat, not only once but twice--due to technical issues--with guitarist Declan Storrie.
I recently ventured back to my old festival haunting grounds - or at least the successor thereof. It was a hot Sunday afternoon and after juggling band members between their Festival One main stage duties and their prior commitments off-site, I managed to sit down with the guys and gal from Amanaki - one of the few hardcore-metal acts to perform at the mostly radio-friendly festival.
The Red Jumpsuit Apparatus are gracing our shores on the 28th of November at Galatos. After a 4-year hiatus, they have burst back onto the scene and headed straight for the spot they are most familiar with, number 1 on the Billboard Christian Rock Charts.
Breakups are never easy - whether it's a romantic tryst, a teenage crush, or with a young Mark and his favourite band Dream Theater, that dark moment when founding keyboardist Kevin Moore left the group in 1994.
There's no denying that at my core, I'm a lover of progressive music - whether that means I love "prog" music or not is a question for another day, and is a topic which I touched on whilst talking to Steven Wilson the other week regarding the upcoming To The Bone show at Auckland's Bruce Mason Centre.
Auckland-based quartet Openside have added an extra date to their first, all-ages, nationwide tour. The group headlines The Seamless Tour will now perform a final show in Tauranga on July 20th featuring special guests DUNES .
Consisting of drummer/vocalist Cat Leahy and guitarist/vocalist Leisha Jungalwalla, This Way Northwill be a part of a very special night in Auckland called ‘Sass the Patriarchy’ an event they have been running in Australia.
As the days and nights get colder, we need something more to laugh about than the unpredictability of Auckland weather and lucky for us, The New Zealand International Comedy Festivalreturns (kicking off this Thursday 26 April).
I Am Giant’s have recently released their third and final album ‘Life in Captivity’. Featuring the singles ‘Dead Flower’, ‘Playing With Fire’ and ‘Don’t Look Back’, the band are currently touring New Zealand; their final tour and last hurrah in NZ.
Andrew Fagan returns with a satirical take on today’s social media preoccupied society. Being an amateur social anthropologist, it is a topic close to his heart. Listen to new track On Channel Me below, off Fagan’s forthcoming solo album Act Normal, due for release in October on Southbound.
Brisbane’s own indie rock royalty, The Grates, have been invited along for the ride, and will treat their hometown crowd to classics from their extensive and impressive catalogue of tunes including 19-20-20 and Turn Me On.
Pixies, one of the most influential alternative rock bands of all time, have announced a second show for Brisbane fans due to overwhelming demand. Following on from Melbourne’s second show announced on Friday (on sale 12pm today!), Brisbane fans have been just as eager to see catch the influential music pioneers, selling out the Fortitude Music Hall date on March 13. A second show has been added at the same venue on Thursday March 12 as part of their mammoth world tour, Come On Pilgrim… It’s Surfer Rosa.
The Ugly Kings, featuring Devil Electric guitarist, Christos Athanasias, are four powerhouse blues rockers drawing influence from an eclectic and dynamic musical background. They offer a powerful injection of energy and emotion to the modern rock scene, formulating what can only be described as power blues. They have released a new music video for Black Widow, featuring an award winning burlesque dancer Ferri Maya. Plus announced a live show this weekend!
Fame and fortune on the Kiwi music scene are a step closer for the top 10 acts just announced in Smokefreerockquest, New Zealand’s biggest live, nationwide all original music event for high school students.
Pluto’s nascent trajectory has covered the spectrum of the New Zealand musical stratosphere, bursting brightly onto the scene in 2001 just to have their star seemingly burn out just as abruptly in 2009. It would have been a suitably intriguing end to befall one of the finest, most exciting and alluring bands New Zealand has ever produced.
Exhilarating and high energy New Zealand rock band, Written By Wolves, have just released their killer new track, Tell Me What You’re Running From? This is the first single from the band’s upcoming new album, set for release later this year.
Australia’s foremost authority on progressive rock, Caligula’s Horse, are just weeks away from kicking off their Let It Grow tour which will celebrate their cult classic The Tide, The Thief & River's End and breakout progressive masterpiece Bloom by playing them back to back!
Within the four walls of The Fortitude Music Hall, lies The Outpost. Brisbane’s newest 300 capacity multipurpose venue that will feature a diverse program of artists, an impressive drinks menu featuring a cocktail list curated by the talented team at Proof & Company.
After spending the past year pulverizing the world with their stupefying live performances, Tropical Fuck Storm return home to tour their new album Braindrops and put the Antipodean public to the sword! Braindrops, the follow up to 2018's epic odyssey, A Laughing Death In Meatspace, will be released on Flightless Records in August
It’s been 20 years since The Flaming Lips released the one-of-a-kind aural hallucination that is The Soft Bulletin. To celebrate the anniversary of its release, The Flaming Lips will play a special show at Brisbane’s Fortitude Music Hall.
Backstreet’s back, alright! Get your group together, because the biggest selling Boy Band of all time (100 million albums), the BACKSTREET BOYS are heading back to New Zealand in 2020 for a show at Auckland’s Spark Arena on Saturday, May 16.
Platinum-certified independent singer, songwriter, producer, and pop visionary Lauv has released new single 'fuck, I'm lonely' with Anne-Marie today. The track will be featured on Lauv’s forthcoming debut album titled ~how i'm feeling
Frontier Touring and Roundhouse Entertainment are excited to announce that Norwegian pop icons a-ha are returning to Australia for the first time in 34 years, before heading to New Zealand for the very first time! They’ll be joined by very special guest Rick Astley at all February & March 2020 shows, taking in Sydney, Melbourne, and Christchurch, as well as a day on the green events in Australia and New Zealand.
Hitting a massive nine centres on his regional tour this September, Stan will take the stage to perform songs from his impressive catalogue plus his brand new pop smash single Give (co-written by Matiu Walters of SIX60) for his beloved fans. The Springboard tour will also boast three of NZ’s most up-and-coming new artists – Lepani, Niko Walters and Jordan Gavet.
TEG DAINTY and THE MISSION ESTATE WINERY CONCERT announced today that global superstar Michael Bublé will return in February 2020! Accompanied by a 36-piece orchestra and ready to to thrill his New Zealand fans for one night only; this will be Michael Bublé’s only show in New Zealand.
Elton John will perform a third and final show at Auckland’s Mt Smart Stadium, to satisfy New Zealand’s insatiable demand. It has also been announced that, due to a scheduling conflict, three of Elton’s sold out New Zealand concerts have been delayed by one week. Rescheduled dates affect the second show at Mission Estate Winery, and the first two Mt Smart Stadium shows in Auckland.
Vocal prodigy RUEL is returning to New Zealand for one show in Auckland at the Bruce Mason Centre in May. Counting Elton John and Khalid among his fans, RUEL is taking the globe by storm, smashing show records, and he’s only 16 years old.
Exactly six years to the day since the release of Vance Joy’s debut EP God Loves You When You’re Dancing, Liberation Records are pleased to reveal an extremely limited run of the EP have been pressed on vinyl for the first time ever for release on Friday 26 April. Vance Joy has also announced he will bring his Ukuleles For Kids program to Australia in a new partnership with Ronald McDonald House Charities Australia. Launched in the USA last year the program delivers ukuleles and how-to video tutorials lead by Vance Joy to children’s hospitals.
LA two-piece Moby Rich have announced two headline shows on their debut Australian tour this May. With their latest single Blink bringing further attention to the duo, this Australian tour is the perfect opportunity to catch two indie stars on the rise. Support on the tour comes from yergurl in Melbourne, whose lo-fi beats and unique pop style made her a Triple J Unearthed favourite. Sydney support will be from Hoodlem, a streaming sensation with her mix of experimental soul and future R&B.
Darren Middleton (POWDERFINGER), Mark Wilson (JET), Davey Lane (YOU AM I) and Kram (SPIDERBAIT) have joined forces to become ARC, one of the most collectively celebrated and successful supergroups in Australia’s rock history will be performing Abbey Road live, commemorating 50 years of existence.
Abbey Road, The Beatles' swansong and their crowning achievement as a recording group - is a stately, majestic, playful yet fiercely rocking masterpiece of pop music, regarded as one of the greatest records of all time.
On the heels of releasing several collaborative hit tracks this year, five-time Grammy Award-winning artist and producer Mark Ronson returns with a brand new single of his own ‘Nothing Breaks Like A Heart’ featuring Miley Cyrus.
TEG Dainty and Nice Events are excited to announce that Emmy-nominated television personality, podcaster and hairstylist to the stars, Jonathan Van Ness, will bring his Road to Beijing world tour to New Zealand
Colin Mochrie, Brad Sherwood and Greg Proops the popular stars of the Emmy nominated Whose Line Is It Anyway? have teamed up to present an evening of extraordinary improvisational comedy for one show only at the Bruce Mason Centre in Auckland.
In a New Zealand first, five of the stars of Twin Peaks, Sheryl Lee, Kimmy Robertson, Michael Horse, Al Strobel, Dana Ashbrook and the Executive Producer of Twin Peaks: A Limited Event Series, Sabrina S. Sutherland, will visit Auckland and Christchurch for an exclusive and unique CONVERSATION WITH THE STARS evening.