Review: 2017 Vodafone New Zealand Music Awards

NZ Music Awards 2017.jpg

By Daryl Habraken

Date / Venue: Thursday November 16th, 2017 - Spark Arena, Auckland

It’s the biggest night of the year for New Zealand musicians, the Vodafone New Zealand Music Awards held this year at the Spark Arena. The time when musos from around Aotearoa dress up - or in some cases dress down - to celebrate all that is great about the Kiwi music scene.
As well as silverware being dished out there were some *stellar performances (see what I did there)

The night gets off to a flyer with songs from Moana led by Opetaia Foa’i opening the evening, getting the crowd in high spirits and setting the scene for the next few hours. Everyone loved the Polynesian vibe and the new stage layout which is was another level this year technically.

The first awards are handed out and Lorde takes the first points and delivers a humbling acceptance speech but one can’t help but feel this will be a somewhat one horse race. Her confidence on stage when she's not singing has come a long way since the awkward breakout sensation of a couple of years ago…. she really is a treasure.

Best R&B goes to ladi6 a true lifelong pro of the NZ R&B scene a lot of hard work well rewarded.

It’s at this stage I should mention that artists are winning that aren’t even on the nominations announcement which is making it confusing for the audience. In fact it’s kind of cheapening the occasion as it feels disorganised.

Thiea and SWIDT gave solid performances

Devilskin showed their true rock pedigree with a fantastic hard rock performance, pyrotechnics and all.

A suprise act for me was TEEKS a great dose of soulful gospel R&B, with a magnificent voice and range that had the audience spellbound, not only for acoustic quality but effortless control.

Time for best worship and classical awards, congratulations to Curate Music, best gospel and NZ Trio for there efforts in classical composition

Tonight’s legacy, lifetime achievement award goes to Sharon O’Neil and *stellar paid a wonderful tribute with the performance of “Maxine”

International achievement award went to Opetaia Foa’i and his magical work on Disneys Moana. Moments like these are special, ethnic Kiwis conquer the world and being recognised at home.

It was Lorde’s performance of Green Light that brought the house down. Complete with choir, streamers and balloons. A great crescendo to an entertaining evening.  

Poi Boys, Truth, Israel Star, TEEKS, Devilskin and Aldous Harding all take home awards but the big winners tonight were Lorde and SWIDT, no huge surprises there, but also Kings with two . wins including best selling album.

A highlight for me was the great performance from *stellar, paying tribute to Sharon O’Neil. Its been a while since we’ve heard from these guys and their rendition of “Maxine” is a great way to close the night

The only downside is the perhaps overly self aware hosting from Jono and Ben. They started off well with great political humour but lost their way after the first act.

All in all a great fun evening. It seemed to go fast and didn’t drag on like some award shows which was a bonus. So it was a good bite sized chunk of what has been a fantastic year for NZ Music.