Escaping an unseasonably dark and rainy Auckland evening, a friend (Jenanne) and I made our way to the ASB Theatre to check out ‘Another Frickin’ Festival’.
Presented by Comedy Central, the festival featured an intriguing mix of high profile local and international comedians including Rose Matafeo (Funny Girls), Paul Foot (Never Mind the Buzzcocks), Guy Williams (Jono and Ben), and Comedy Central’s own Rony Chieng (The Daily Show).
The festival arrived with a lot of fanfare and expectation via seemingly endless plugs on television and social media and although the show was brand new, the consistently brilliant line-up and venue (the ASB Theatre is a great venue for a comedy show) make me how that this event will be a mainstay on New Zealand comedy scene.
The night kicked off with Guy Montgomery. The moustachioed MC got the ball rolling right away, launching into rambling anecdote after anecdote with a pleasingly frenetic pace and urgent energy. You never quite know what you’re going to get from Montgomery (that’s all part of his charm) as he weaves in and out of what can best be described as comedic stream of consciousness.
The comedian, perhaps best known for his internationally lauded podcast, The Worst Idea Of All Time, was a great choice of MC for the festival. His quintessentially Kiwi persona offered a strong contrast to the international guests (hailing from the US, UK, and Australia), while his high energy delivery helped balance out some of the more deadpan acts (such as Angella Dravid and Alice Snedden).
The first act of the night was comedian and TV personality Guy Williams. Those that know him best from television will have expected the loud charm and quick-fire jokes that he brings to Jono & Ben, though as Jenanne pointed out, they may have been caught off-guard by his heavily political set that covered everything from Trump and Jacinda, to racism and immigration
While all the local acts on display delivered on the night, there were a few big highlights for me were Alice Snedden (it’s hard not to be won over by her impeccable writing and sardonic wit), Mel Bracewell (her self-deprecating quips of dating while being awkwardly tall had me in stitches), and Rose Matafeo. Matafeo’s performance deserves special mention. Her effortless charm and spot-on comedic timing ensured that she went down as one of the highlights of the night. Rose was probably Jenanne’s favourite Kiwi comic on the night, calling it “the perfect act”. She particularly loved the Michael Jackson-inspired lip-sync.
Rose Matafeo is a comic on the rise and last night provided further evidence to why she’s crushing it over in the UK (not that we needed any).
Angella Dravid and Two Hearts (Laura Daniels and Joseph Moore), rounded off the remaining Kiwi acts. Dravid took home the prestigious Billy T Award at last years New Zealand International Comedy Festival and fans of her deadpan delivery and anxious persona would have likely enjoyed her set. While not a polarizing comic by any means, neither Jenanne nor I seemed to connect with the performance with Jenanne going as far to say that she spent more time feeling uncomfortable than laughing. Two Hearts comic-pop act provided welcome contrast from the standard stand-up fare and they were certainly having a lot of fun on stage (their energy was infectious). Their writing is always great (especially a song which sees Daniels waxing lyrical about the late Alan Rickman), but I did find that of all the acts, their performance was probably least suited to the venue and could have benefited from the smoke and lighting effects that usually accompany their set. Jenanne commented later that while she enjoyed the set very much she felt it plateaued quickly.
The internationals included Ronny Chieng (the best on the night), Ray Badran (blokeishly charming), Sam Campbell (more miss that hit for me), and Paul Foot (charmingly surreal). Ronny Chieng was the pick of the bunch for Jenanne and I. Ronnie is a seasoned pro and benefited from his time spent in the Melbourne comedy scene which enabled him to quickly read the room and get the audience onside throughout his criminally short set. His misanthropic demeaner and penchant for a tirade (mostly at the expense of the United States) had Jenanne and I in stitches and you could tell that Ronnie was enjoying himself out there and was audibly disappointed to find out that his time was up – we could have kept watching him all night.
Ray Badran is unapologetically Aussie and his blokey demeanour was warmly appreciated by the crowd. Badran has a sort of pleasing aloofness which saw him muse about the everyday oddities of everyday life. Badran did enough to make me want to see how he’d handle an hour-long set. We were both impressed by what we saw.
Jenanne wasn’t as impressed by what we saw from Sam Campbell though. Ever the diplomat, I could see how his “loose” delivery could work for a lot of people – enough people to see him nominated Best Newcomer at the Melbourne International Comedy Festival – but honestly, it fell flat for me. Talking after the show, Jenanne’s take was a little blunter: “He seemed way out of his depth out there. I would have thought he was an amateur if I hadn’t googled him just now”.
The night wrapped with the enigmatic Paul Foot (UK) whose impish delivery and ridiculously surreal musings has seen him build a cult following around the world. At this point in the night Jenanne had a migraine so wasn’t really paying attention to what was happening, but I for one loved his mix of surreal observational comedy. Prancing around the stage, his beguiling stand-up had the audience equal parts confused and amused.
Leaving the show, thoroughly entertained, we could only marvel at the diverse range of comedians that Comedy Central had pulled together. There was a little bit in there for everyone to enjoy and enjoy it we did. ‘Another Frickin’ Festival’ heads down to Queenstown tonight, playing venues across town over Friday and Saturday before wrapping up in Wellington at the Opera House on the 11th.
US comedian, author and activist Chelsea Handler returns to New Zealand in October for the first time since her 2014 live tour. LIFE WILL BE THE DEATH OF ME: CHELSEA HANDLER’S STAND-UP COMEDY TOUR, taking the same name as her just-released #1 NY TIMES BEST SELLING sixth book, Life Will Be The Death Of Me, will see the disarmingly honest and riotously funny Handler head to Auckland
The Instagram queen of hilarious photo parody, Celeste Barber, is bringing her new raw, intimate and self-deprecating stand-up comedy show—Celeste Barber: Challenge Accepted—to Australian and New Zealand theatres this September.
Due to huge demand, five extra dates have been added to multi award-winning South African-Kiwi Urzila Carlson’s comedy tour, Token African. Having sold out multiple shows already an additional five shows have been added to the tour in Tauranga, Rotorua, Blenheim, Invercargill and Dunedin beginning August 16.
Fresh off the acclaim of his Netflix special Secret Time, Bert Kreischer, lauded as one of the best storytellers of his generation and with his ability to prove “that there’s a way to take his [party-boy] antics into middle-age” (Forbes), has announced his global Body Shots World Tour will launch in January 2019 in the US.
Steve Martin and Martin Short are bringing their critically acclaimed comedy tour Now You See Them, Soon You Won’t for the first time to Australian and New Zealand audiences this November. This celebrated comedy show redefines the form in unexpected and profound ways, from two of the funniest, most influential and acclaimed talents of the past century.
New Zealand finally gets the chance to see Dara Ó Briain in his brilliant new show Voice Of Reason in September 2019. Dara has taken Voice Of Reason through the UK and Europe with brilliant reviews. “His set is a masterclass in intelligent, no-frills stand-up” - The Guardian
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