A little bit of Texas descended on Auckland this weekend with the introduction of Auckland City Limits. Based loosely on the Austin City Limits music festival that originated in 2002 (which has now grown to a two weekend full festie in the States), A.C.L looked to be New Zealand's big-act musical answer since the disappearance of Big Day Out, which was canned due to ticket & merchandise purchases plummeting over previous years.
We were enticed months ago with murmurings of international bands, 4 stages, huge headliners and a full day of music set in a rather recently renovated festival location; Western Springs park in Auckland. Fizzing to hear the first announcement, you could almost hear a disappointed sigh across NZ when the 'holy-shit-these-bands-are-mind-blowing-awesome' panned out to be 'holy-shit-I-have-seen-majority-of-these-bands-before'.
None the less, early bird tickets sold pretty swiftly......and to be fair, you'd have to be silly not to jump on that band wagon. Less than $100 to see lyrical beauties The National and hip hop/rap legend Kendrick Lamar. Sales seem to have flat lined after that, with fans waiting to hear the follow up announcement, hoping to be enticed by bigger, better, faster, stronger musical acts. Modest Mouse most certainly are a draw card, but the second announcement seemed to be salt & peppered with even more NZ musicians who you might get the chance to listen to at Leigh Saw Mill any other given weekend.
With more information, and FOMO becoming more prevalent, music fans bit the bullet and paid out the dosh for what was overall a really good day. The sun was shining, and Auckland was being a sexy bitch, putting on the weather with a ridiculously warm Autumn day. Timing of the festival was great; not wanting to compete with Laneway, but also knowing that us Kiwi's want to hold on to the smell of summer (which comes hand in hand with outdoor music events) and pulling on our heartfelt memories of Big Days Out gone by.
Auckland Kiddie Limits was a fun filled area for the little ones, plenty of entertainment, while mum & dad could relax and catch up with friends. The Golden Dawn area hosted some killer comedians, including Peter Baecker and offered a more laid back vibe to the main stages.
It was a bit strange, negotiating meeting points without referring to some seriously heavy corporate sponsorship - which was liberally branded in every nook, cranny and obvious place possible. However, there were plenty of places to eat good eats (we all know sustenance is key). The ever frustrating drinks line was, well, really frustrating to put it mildly and the set up seemed rather archaic, which was a bit disappointing considering the amount of time that had been spent on the 'interactive' elements. It felt like more effort should have been put in to getting the fundamentals right, before worrying about the flourishes.
But these were minor semantics, and ultimately we were there for the music, and Ladyhawke hit the main stage mid afternoon having us all up on our feet with hits like 'My Delirium' - the sound bounced a bit with wind factor, but Pip was the shit and the crowd backed her Wellingtonia ways. .
Cutting Ladyhawke short due to a clash in the schedule, Kamasi Washington was dribbling with sultry jazz from afar and I had to make it to see the American saxophonist/producer and all round legend. From what I saw of the end of their performance, I felt sad I wasn't able to appreciate the full hour they were playing, but resided to the fact I can just listen to my friends Vinyl to pacify the sadness from missing the full set.
Quickly over to the other main stage, internationally acclaimed siblings Broods took us on a gorgeous angelic journey through their repertoire of hits, including 'Bridges' which we all sang and danced along to.
By this stage, it was time to eat and although there was plenty of food selection around the venue, I appreciated that pass outs were an option. A brief hiatus consuming food and watching one of the biggest foodies of all time Action Bronson, who really got the crowd riled up.
More fantastic musical acts from New Zealand followed, and included The Naked & Famous, and a dash of The Phoenix Foundation. Home grown and always a hit, they bantered with the crowd and made us feel proud of be Kiwis.
Then, finally, it was time for the big kahuna's.....
Having to toss up between Girl Talk and The National broke my heart, so I decided to divvy my time and saw 15 minutes of Girl Talk before heading way over the other side of the park to see Ohio's rock/indie prodigal sons The National. Seeing them perform several times before in NZ, I felt really lucky that we've actually made it on the map for these successful bands to keep on wanting to come back. As per usual, they put on a memorable, ethereal, charismatic and emotional performance... the crowd chimed in for the classics: 'Bloodbuzz Ohio', 'Fake Empire' and 'Vanderlyle Crybaby Geeks' along with so many other hits.
Really, the whole of the day was leading up to one man and the name of that man was Kendrick Lamar. Hailing from Compton, L.A. Kendrick's off beat rap style has had him rise to fame steadily over the years. His lyrical swag and genius speaks of confronting political and social issues, satirical in delivery, and stitched together in perfectly quilted albums, it's no surprise Kendrick tucks Grammy to bed at night.
We waited in anticipation for the small man, with big ideas to take to the stage. His presence preceding, oozing with confidence, He took to the stage later than scheduled, and due to some technical issues we didn't get the whole hour and a half promised. Still, it was a highlight when 'Swimming Pools', 'Alright' and'Bitch Don't Kill My Vibe' had us dancing like maniacs, yet our eyes were firmly locked on stage to the man who held all the power.
Exhausted and elated, it was lovely talking to others leaving the venue, and the general consensus was that Auckland City Limits shouldn't have any limits, and we were looking forward to pushing things even further for 2017.
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.