Friday night I was lucky enough to head along to The Tuning Fork to catch Jon Toogood perform some of his favourite songs (including his own) solo and acoustic to a seated audience for the second night in a row. Both shows were sold out so I figured I must be in for a treat. Though to be perfectly honest I had no idea what to expect from the Shihad front man. Would he sing Shihad songs? Would he sing covers? Both, it turns out, including some of his own nuggets.
I arrived at around 8:15 thinking I'd have plenty of time to grab a drink and head to the WC. Shame on me! I barely had 2 minutes to make it to my seat. Then from out of nowhere he came and took his place on a stool at the front of the stage.
Jon Toogood has definitely come along way from being 'that nice guy who worked behind the counter at Tandys Record Store' in Wellington's old Manners Mall. There's no denying the music from Shihad defined my late teens/early twenties, and really has stood the test of time. So much so they had sellout shows performing their recently released FVEY album. But how would Toogood fair performing an intimate solo show? Kind of like baring all to a bunch of strangers.
The answer is good, no in fact great. Actually this has to be one of the best live musical performances I have seen this year. And as a music photographer I see a lot! Jon is as kiwi as they come and such a humble bloke, no pretence, no bullshit just someone who is down-to-earth with a real passion for making music. Also the vibe was very mellow which is something of a specialty for The Tuning Fork. You couldn't have picked a better setting.
After a brief welcome and thank you to the audience Jon tells us he still gets really nervous before a gig, even after 25 years. First up was a track called Every Day I Wake Up from collaborative affair The Adults, followed by the first Shihad song of the night, Missionary, from their self-titled album that was written after some religious door-knockers woke him up after a very hard night out! And a cover of Wilco's Misunderstood. Next up we heard Run from the album Pacifier, followed by a beautiful cover of Reckless by rockers Australian Crawl. Jon tells us he grew up in the eighties and these are the songs he remembers most from his childhood. At this point in the performance Jon asks the audience to join in and sing along whenever they feel like it but we are all too shy (or not yet drunk enough) to get that involved.
So on to The General Electric where we hear Brightest Star and then another cover, this time it's Bliss by NZsTh' Dudes with a few ad lib lyrics which actually get the audience singing along a little. To wrap up the set (or so I thought) Jon knocked out It Was You and Coming Down. Imagine my surprise and delight at hearing we would be getting more! A thirsty Jon adds he hopes he sounds ok so far and jumps off the stage.
Twenty minutes (and two glasses of water) later I still haven't made it to the WC, so sit cross-legged in my seat awaiting part two of this magical evening. Up first after the break is a song, Anniversary Day, written by Toogood and fellow kiwi rocker (and ex Fur Patrol leading lady) Julia Deans. Deans also spends her days in Melbourne and will be performing live in Auckland later this month.
Next an old song from Auckland band Voom called Isn't That Good, followed by an amazing acoustic rendition of Think You're So Free from FVEY, we hear the band are really happy with due to a return to Shihad's heavier roots. Then much to everyone's delight we hear a cover of Oasis' What's The Story (Morning Glory) where Jon admits he always preferred Oasis over Blur. But then didn't we all? Now the audience have loosened up and we are instructed to sing even louder if we can. I begin to hear the voices around me signaling it was time to join in.
Pacifier is up next, and maybe it's the alcohol but folks are well and truly into the spirit of the night. We are told this track is significant because it was written for a friend suffering from depression. Dragon's Rainstarted the whole crowd singing and ended with the crowd singing along with Jon sans guitar. I thought was on purpose but at the end he added, "That's the first time the crowd has sung to cover a broken string." Quickly followed by "It's all covers from now on fuck it!" After a quick guitar change, straight into Split Enz I Got You. My childhood favourite! And just we you think it couldn't get any better, out comes a cover of Ziggy Stardust's Suffragette City! Like me, Jon was introduced to Bowie via this album through and older sibling. Could thus night get any better? Wait yes! Lucky Man from 90s Brit Indie Pop moguls The Verve. What a way to end a show and what a show it was!
The encore is only one song, it's Long Way but I can't remember who recorded the original - I'm completely buzzing by now as are the crowd around me. We clap we cheer we clap some more. I am on a total high and so is everyone else.
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.
To this day I still remember my introduction to Sepultura - camped out in the granny flat bedroom of long-time friend Kerry - a live version of their cover of Motörhead's Orgasmatron, and from there it continues to this day
The 4-piece genre-melders Hellions are getting ready for their biggest Australian headline show yet. The tour will be taking place this May and stopping off in all the major cities; Adelaide, Perth, Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne.
It howls. It's grindingly beautiful. It's dangerously sentient. It’s The Sisters of Mercy returning to Australia and New Zealand this October and November. Due to demand, The Sisters Of Mercy will be adding Perth, Adelaide and Auckland to their tour in 2019.
Who Loves NZ The Most? Following a Sold-Out Winter Tour in 2018, Kiwi icon's The Jordan Luck Band today announce their massive 19 date New Zealand Winter(ish) Tour. Trekking the whole country; the massive NZ tour begins the last weekend of April with shows through to late June 2019.
Psychedelic heavyweight Earthless have announce their supporting acts for their Australia/New Zealand tour. The support line up is heady and heavy, meaning that each show is going to be stuffed with rock n roll greatness.
Due to incredible demand, internationally renowned award-winning musician, comedian, actor, writer and composer TIM MINCHIN has today announced a third and final Auckland show as part of his Australasian tour of his live show BACK.
Legendary, GRAMMY-award winning band FLEETWOOD MAC today announced an Australian and New Zealand tour, set to kick off on August 9 with two shows in Auckland on September 16 and 19, along with a welcome return to Dunedin on September 21.
California’s radical sons, The Growlers arrive in the country this week for the start of the Australian leg of their mammoth worldwide ‘Beach Goth’ tour. In what is guaranteed to be a rollicking, majestic wave of movements all around our golden coast,
Timaru’s iconic Soundshell in Caroline Bay will host two of the most well-known bands in New Zealand in a one-day entertainment extravaganza this January. Katchafire and The Black Seeds will headline the R18+ event at the Soundshell on Saturday, January 26, 2019. They’ll be joined by The Butlers.
In true kiwi summer tour tradition Marlon Williams will now take The Tūrangawaewae Tour to a further six markets this February making it a total of 12 shows - Marlon’s most comprehensive New Zealand tour ever!
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.
George Ezra toured the world nonstop for more than two years following the release of his debut LP Wanted On Voyage, finally making it to Aotearoa for one of the standout sets of this year’s Auckland City Limits.
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.
Singer Elaine Paige has announced an 8-date series of concerts from October 10 to October 25 2018, which will see her perform songs from her illustrious career along side an array of her favourite tracks by contemporary songwriters.
The critically acclaimed, award-winning comedian and actor, Catherine Tate, is bringing The Catherine Tate Show - Live to New Zealand for the first time, with shows in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch commencing November 28, 2018.
It has been announced overnight that Last Tapes Theatre Company's original production Valerie has been selected for a month-long season in the prestigious Summerhall programme at Edinburgh Festival Fringe this August.
Featuring Brouhaha: choreographer Malia Johnston, composer Eden Mulholland, AV designer Rowan Pierce; In Transit: choreographer Louise Potiki Bryant, composer/AV designer Paddy Free; The Geography of an Archipelago: choreographer Stephen Shropshire,