We sent two reviewers & two photographers to Westfest on Tuesday night to cover as much of the action as we could! Check out reviews by Clare McCabe and Wal Reid below, with photos by Megan Moss and Lou Mitchell.
Ah the joys of a festival with loads of your favourites playing all in one place on the same day. Good times people. And perfect weather for it as well.
Welcome to Westfest 2015. New venue from last year and changed into a one-day festival with three stages. And that new BIG main stage was well worth the wait.
This was to be one heavy day and we were ready. Coming through security was easy although I did see one poor lad have his selfie-stick confiscated - love what is banned these days.
We sifted around the venue for a quick glimpse of where everything was laid out - then settled in for Lamb Of God. Oh yes. The crowd were already pretty excited to see Randy on stage and the sound was great from where I was standing. Oh and there were screens (you know how much I love the big screens). John was well into it on his bass, throwing that long grey hair around and Randy jumped up and down and owned that stage throughout the set. These guys were super energetic for so early in the day. It might have been 4.30 in the afternoon and full sunshine, but LoG played as if they were the Headliners of the evening. We got Walk With Me In Hell, Hourglass and Randy even dedicated one of the songs to Mr Rob Halford, the Metal God. As you do. The Lamb of God chant was ringing in our ears as we popped over to the beer tent between sets. The mighty Judas Priest were up next and we did not want to miss a second of it.
Must say loving the new layout here - beer queues up top were manageable, there was plenty of room in the "drinking" area and you could still hear the main stage, even though you couldn't see it. A quick sneak down to the back stage (almost deserted) and a beer stop at the Ding Dong Lounge stage for a glimpse of Devil Wears Prada, who were rocking a good crowd.
Then back we went to the main stage for Rob and pals. Judas Priest are in the house. To be honest I was glad it wasn't a sold-out event yesterday as this meant there was way more room to move round and you could get closer to the band - literally we were basically side-stage for the Priest. And that was a good place to be. Here's Rob in his full leathers - studs everywhere and creeping around stage with his cane. Richie stands to one side playing that great Flying V and loving the interaction with the crowd - looking like a young David Lee Roth, only with guitar. "Look at these heavy metal maniacs here tonight", says Rob after a song or two. Indeed. Most of this crowd have never had a chance to see these boys live and they are enjoying every second of it. They speed through all the ones we want to hear: Devil's Child, Metal Gods and Breaking the Law(my fave). There is guitar dueling and costume changes galore. What a treat.
And then there was Mike Patton. The boys take the stage all in white with flowers everywhere. Roddy punches away on keyboards to the left and Mike hammers those drums. They kick off with Motherfucker, one of their new tunes, and Mike is off on his own little tangent. Fingers clicking and megaphone in play. Evidenceis there. The fabulous Epic. Midlife Crisis gets an airing... It's getting older and so are you... Mike still looks grumpy a lot of the time but surely that just means he's enjoying himself? The contrast of the super angryGentle Art of Making Enemies swinging into the swoon of Easy just makes us want more. Mike throws himself around the stage and screams the place down on Cuckoo for Caca with plenty of megaphone-action. So glad these guys are chums and making music together again (new album out soon). The 90s are alive and well and playing on stage tonight. "Lovely job with the flowers" says Roddy as they head into a couple more fabulous tunes and then they end on a beautiful note with I Started a Joke. Thanks guys. Your set was absolutely the highlight of the evening. Come. Back. Soon.
A quick roundup of the other stages and with 8-Foot Sativa ringing in our ears (l.o.u.d.), we head back up to the main stage for Soundgarden. (Apologies if my review is slightly 90s biased, but someone is giving us Patton and Cornell in one evening...)
Soundgarden take the main stage and you can tell they are on form. Chris has all of his usual swagger, playing guitar on some tunes and letting Kim T take the lead on others. Been Away Too Long gets an airing. Spoonman, My Wave, Fell on Black Days all follow. These guys are cruising through this. Outshined is a highlight and everyone sings along. It is hard to believe these guys are in their 50s now when you see them up on stage together belting out old and new tunes. Chris is not so keen on loads of crowd banter but has a few stories to tell and sneaks in a tune, Birth Ritual, from the Singles movie soundtrack. Nice work. To be honest the crowd are pretty mellow this late in the evening and a lot are happy to sit and enjoy the fab tunes. Black Hole Sunhits a high note and then after a few slower, moody tracks, a rowdy Rusty Cage rounded up the set. A great way to end a huge day of music.
A big thanks to ODR Productions for bringing all these guys to NZ. The new venue and layout was a success. See you next year with a whole new set of bands.
It was like Auckland's ‘black day' as metal heads, bogans, punks & rockers made the pilgrimage to Westfest 2015 at Auckland's Mt Smart Stadium. Take your pick - ‘Breaking The Law' with Judas Priest, Lamb Of God,Spoon Man Chris Cornell & Soundgarden or the Last Resort of Papa Roach, there was literally everything here for the avid music fan, even a good showing of local talent like 8 Foot Sativa (Step Up Step UP for sativaaa) & Wellington faves Depths.
‘The Monster Energy Westfest' mecca it seemed of heavy music and tattooed bodies all ready to soak up the musical dirge of the festival, that by all accounts looked well attended, I mean it was pretty close to full house at Main stage and everywhere you went there were throngs of people pouring out of food stalls, and the Ding Dong Lounge stage which to do on a Tuesday night anywhere in the country is no mean feat.
The thing that struck me was the crowd behaviour creating a laid back atmosphere in the place, I mean it wasn't festive by any stretch of the imagination, god forbid that would happen, however it was plain to see people of all walks and life enjoying themselves. A noticeable low Police presence testament to the festival punters that added to the overall vibe of Westfest.
Ok, first up time to check out the Papa Roach boys at Ding Dong Lounge stage who by now had the crowd eating out of their hands, singer Jacoby Shaddix is an absolute crazy man on stage, his heavily tattooed appearance is almost as famous as the band. They ripped through their short but energetic set that had the crowd raising their horns and singing along P-Roach karaoke styles.
Their eponymous hit Last Resort hit stage rage, while crowd were encouraged to get a mosh circle going before dishing up hits Between Angels & Insects, Scars & new tune Broken As Me off their new album F.E.A.R. After Shaddix asked the crowd to raise their hands if it was their first time seeing the band they left warning the crowd they'd be back for more and a promise of a return.
Finding a flat white was like looking for a needle in a haystack, however I was successful this trip so ventured to check out the closing set of Faith No More, of course one of the biggest selling bands in the world at one time. My mind goes back to when I saw them play at the Town Hall in 1990 when Mike Patton had just taken over vocal duties on Epic. Now that was then and this is now. I mean have to say I was kind of let down by the mismatch of my youth sentiment. The band just didn't fire for me, I don't think the band had changed but I have to admit their cover of the Commodores hit song Easy is one of the best versions around and for me, one of the festival highlights. Oh that and Soundgarden taming the audience with Spoon Man was enough to give any rock fan a wee Tuesday night thrill and way cheaper than buying a hot tub time machine. Roll on Westfest 2016.
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.
Featuring Future of the Left members Andrew “Falco” Falkous and Jack Egglestone, with the addition of Damien Sayell from the St Pierre Snake Invasion, the Cardiff outfit will be playing venues in Wellington and Auckland this January.
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.
15-time Grammy Award-winning singer, songwriter, and producer Alicia Keys makes her musical return with the powerful track and visuals for “Show Me Love,” featuring Grammy Award winning singer, songwriter and producer, Miguel via RCA Records.
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.
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.