Category Archives: music

Been | Splore 2019

T’was the night before Splore and all through the house, not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse …. but I for one certainly was, as I tapped my musical toes to sleep, in eager anticipation for the 20th Anniversary of Splore.  ‘Celebration’ being the theme of the year and which took place amidst the magical spirit of Tapapakanga National Park.

SPLORE – The festival that delivers music, art, food and unexpected frivolity, around every kooky twist and turn. Where the wind literally blows you to a different creative experience throughout the entire weekend.

The three day festival takes place at the sacred home of the mana whenua, Ngāti Whanaunga and Ngāti Paoa.  Where tradition is upheld each year with a reverent powhiri, welcoming artists and attendees from all over NZ and the world to this blessed site.

Performing the sacred powhiri

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I begun the day, wary of the mud puddles that were soon encroaching upon us, but with my trusty glitter gumboots,  I was determined to set up camp before the rains came, well prepared for the days merry onslaught.  First musical treat of the day for me, was Tubbs – Christopher Tubbs.  A much revered figure of the Wellington dance scene. Also noteworthy, as the former owner of the cult vinyl-only record co. Untracked (supported by the likes of Mark Ronson and Gilles Peterson).  His upbeat and deep disco selection had even the most sleep-deprived and rookie reveler right back into the spirit of the festival, regardless of the showers that were about to fall …

A newbie to the Splore family was one Marco Alonso, a DJ definitely worth a mention after playing to a jam-packed audience within the Lucky Star tent.  A real crowd shaker with his deep funky house and soul pleasing vibes.  DJ Aroha gave 100% – her energetic and diverse dance music collection was at it’s absolute best at the Crystal Palace, followed by our other native gem, King Kapisi.

The much anticipated London-based drum’n’bass & dubstep outfit – Rudimental, lead the night with an extremely crowded main stage, and despite the persistent deluge that caned us that Friday evening; were completely owning it, with heavily charged performances of some of their more commercially successful tracks, and had the majority of the audience literally, pumping.

Also on the main stage, headliners Orbital’s light display and performance all-round,was phenomenal.  Brothers Phil and Paul Hartnoll (based in Kent, England) have been laying down the electronic goodness since 1989;  and whose early beginnings in the acid-house scene and subsequent techno fused dance tracks, combined with their iconic presence, created a euphoric moment that one could not help but feel throughout their dynamic set.

Amazing light display by electronic legends Orbital

Beginning the Saturday a little bleary eyed, I was ready yet again to get amongst it, with the weather and the winds since subsided.  Linda T was a joy to discover at the Crystal Palace stage, with her funky, soul and smooth mixing, and speaking of new discoveries ….  a definite highlight from the extensive line up for me were the R’nB/Soul/Hip-hop duo, Children of Zeus.  Hailing from Manchester UK – they were well supported by our much loved and adopted homeboy, DJ Hudge (if you missed them at Splore you can still catch them this coming Wednesday at ‘Neck of the Woods’ Auckland).

Children of Zeus featuring HUDGE – Main Stage

Saturday night played host to the much celebrated Jungle Brothers, consisting of members: Afrika Baby Bam, Mike Gee and DJ Sammy B, and who were down one Mike Gee on the night (due to an unanticipated return to the States) but the remaining two definitely did not let that stop them pushing the limits of their renowned hip-hop sound, and showcasing their solid history in creating some of the greatest musical collaborations with other artists such as; De La Soul, Mos Def and A Tribe Called Quest

Club Hedonistas Cabaret, hosted by club queen ‘Ronnie Rae-Gunn, was a curation of the most provocative and awe-inspiring burlesque, circus mastery and aerial dynamics – featuring Jair Ramirez, Flow Academy, Dust and the irrepressible Chris Oh! (to name but a few) a hedonistic night sure to push the boundaries of pleasurably risque’ entertainment!

An unexpected (but most welcoming find) was the hidden gem avidly coined ‘Portal’ (lovingly referred to by it’s residents as the ‘Womb’) a quirky pocket of a venue where Bali-based and Kiwi-born LADY FLiC, bestowed on us some of her finest and most vibrant eclectic house/electro for the lucky few that found themselves there in the late hours of the night.  Not one to be pigeon-holed, with her distinctly progressive musical selections, LADY FLiC has weaved a truly unique and impressive DJ career from the club/house scene of NZ to the Dublin Red Bull Music Academy, pirate radio in London and beyond ..

The impressive LADY FLiC @the Portal

Chris Oh! At his ‘boylesque’ best

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A surprise visit Saturday by Russian political activists ‘Pussy Riot’

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Closing the main stage and the most wowing performances of that weekend – we had the brilliant pairing of Brazilian DJ Marky and our very own Tali, who as MC did not let us down, combining her soulful instrument of voice with Marky’s superb scratching and drum’n’bass fuelled beats.
MC Tali in support of the legendary DJ Marky

There were also many heartwarming moments that I unfortunately missed capturing on film; one being witness to a tender instance of hula-hoop unity between a young family, in the warm glistening sun, surrounded by the chilled vibes of the Lucky Star tent, then rounding the afternoon off with some much needed cheesy goodness, provided in the form of the most delectable toasties, food-truck side.

It was to surmise, most definitely a ‘celebration’ and one that I was thrilled to be a part of, catering to both families and the most passionate party-goer with its multitude of art installations, stalls, music, workshops for both adults and kids alongside general good vibes.  Splore is constantly growing and evolving, and in doing so I just hope that it still manages to retain its intimate and quirky bohemian charm, without giving way to increasing commercialism, which is fast becoming a natural hazard for many a successful festival.

And to sign off my friends, it is fair to say that I am now officially SPLORED!

Colourful and whimsical art installations throughout the site …
Capturing the beautiful beginning of sunset as we depart the regional park.

 

 

 

 

 

SFS | 5 mins with Jess B

NZ Hip Hop Queen, Jess B is quickly making a name for herself on the NZ music scene. Racking up over 450,000 streams, she has quickly established herself as a powerful festival and international support act. Catch her in her coordinates as she makes her full live Splore debut this February.

Describe your perfect summer music festival in three words…
Sunny, colourful, collective

Name the top three artists who would make up your ideal festival line-up
Missy Elliot
Erykah Badu
Spice

What are you looking forward to most about playing the summer festival circuit?
Performing is something I love doing, and I also love to connect with people who connect with my music in any way 🙂

In your opinion, what’s this year’s Summer Anthem?
Toast by Koffee

Out of all your tunes, which one is the one that ‘never fails’?
Take It Down ft. Rubi Du

What’s are the top 3 tracks on your Spotify playlist?
Depends what playlist!

What’s your personal ‘guilty pleasure’ track?
I don’t have any guilty pleasures. I like what I like!

What’s your social media of choice?
Instagram

Who do you follow and where?
I follow no one anywhere, I am trying to create my own lane 😛

What’s your go-to festival outfit?
A co-ordinate set of some sort.

Word association:
MusiC – life
Festival – fun
Camping – family
Fashion – expression
Roadie – friends

Situated in a beguiling bay on the shores of Tapapakanga Regional Park, Splore is an annual, boutique and arts festival like no other. Described as New Zealand’s greatest dress up party, this three-day entertainment extravaganza promises a good time, good vibes, and hot showers! Better yet, this magical music festival is just a short drive from Auckland city.

Splore 2019 takes place 21-24 February. The 2019 edition of the festival has SOLD OUT.

been | Laneway Festival 2019

Another scorching Auckland Anniversary day and another Laneway Festival done and dusted. The fashion, the food and of course the music was on point on the day and so was the weather! Apparently there was a heatwave on the way! And it was their tenth birthday at the sold out festival, sweet way to celebrate and throw a party!

Having only recognised three of the acts in the 20 plus lineup we found some new favorites on the day! Gallivanting from stage to stage trying to at least catch a few of the songs was definitely a workout! Luckily we had access to the Friends & Family section so we avoided queues and mingled with fashion royalty, sipping on ciders.

Bene, images by Jess Gleeson

Arriving at around 3.30pm we were just in time for Aucklander Bene at the Thunderdome Stage. Delivering a sweet, chilled out set. Although there were some sound issues, the whole street was completely packed out!

Jorja Smith came through with the goods at the Rotunda Stage. Playing hits from her gorgeous Lost & Found album with her band and finishing off with the garage infused track On My Mind!

Jorja Smith, images by Jess Gleeson

Masego was one of the highlights on the day! Unfortunately slight clash on the schedule with Courtney Barnett which meant we only caught the first bit of her set! Great energy from what we saw and would love to have stayed a bit longer to catch the whole thing. Masego though was brilliant! Saxophonist, singer and rapper he was amazing to watch on stage!

Courtney Barnett, Florence & The Machine, images by Jess Gleeson

Headliner Florence & The Machine played at the first ever Laneway Festival here in Auckland. It seemed fitting that they returned on the festival’s 10th anniversary to as headliner. Florence Welch is always a delight to watch, commanding so much presence although she tells us on stage she is very shy. Transforming into a sprint queen that darts across the stage almost levitating in places to later appearing on the side among the crowd for a surprise performance. Definitely a great way to finish off the night.

Florence & The Machine, images by Jess Gleeson

We were guttered we missed out on Mitski, DJDS, Lontalius and many more but such is a music festival. Here’s hoping they return back to good old Aotearoa for more summer festiveness.

SFS | 5 mins with DJ Corysco

Brazilian native, DJ Coyrsco’s selections have been described as deeply funky and never cheesy. The globetrotting DJ has honed his skills all over the world; starting first in Los Angeles where his passion for skateboarding came along with the curiosity of the soundtracks. After a brief stint at home in Rio, he moved to Paris before further adding to his musical repertoire and touring Europe where he became a familiar name across clubs in Copenhagen, Berlin, Hamburg, Amsterdam, Barcelona, Madrid, Firenze, Roma, Brussels and other cities. His desire to explore the world eventually lead him to New Zealand where you can still find him spinning his favourite selections around Auckland. Come February, you can experience him live at SPLORE.

Describe your perfect summer music festival in three words…
Camping, Rain & Mud Swimming

Name the top three artists who would make up your ideal festival line-up:
Hendrix, Fela Kuti, Beastie Boys

What are you looking forward to most about playing the summer festival circuit?
It’s my first ever here in New Zealand, so everything will be new.

In your humble opinion, what’s this year’s Summer Anthem?
Dj Jazzy Jeff & the Fresh Prince – “Summertime” (Always!)

Out of all your tunes, which one is the one that ‘never fails’?
Haddaway – “What is Love”

What’s are the top 3 tracks on your Spotify playlist?
I still have never used Spotify.

What’s your personal ‘guilty pleasure’ track?
Arrested Development – Everyday People

What’s your social media of choice?
Orkut. (Popular only in Brasil)

Who do you follow and where?
I only follow two people on Instagram; my mom and my brother.

What’s your go-to festival outfit?
Same that Roger Daltrey wore at Woodstock

Word association:
Music – Bless
Festival – Union
Camping – Never did it.
Fashion – Skateboarding rules it.

Follow DJ Corysco on Instagram | Facebook | YouTube

Situated in a beguiling bay on the shores of Tapapakanga Regional Park, Splore is an annual, boutique and arts festival like no other. Described as New Zealand’s greatest dress up party, this three-day entertainment extravaganza promises a good time, good vibes, and hot showers! Better yet, this magical music festival is just a short drive from Auckland city.

Splore 2019 takes place 21-24 February. Buy your tickets here.

 

Been | Here Lies Love

If you love live musical performances, then this is a show for you.

The life of Imelda Marcos is narrated through the operandi of music, thanks to the writing genius of David Byrne and Norman Cook (aka.Fatboy Slim).  Directed by Sophie Roberts and with musical direction by Robin Kelly.

The anticipation upon arrival was palpable, and the energy high, as one looked around the lofty quarters of the Rangatira stage, to see a sprinkling of ‘who’s-who’ in NZ TV, Music & Theatre.

The disco themed concept was evident and most welcomely embraced, from the slick and sequin clad 5-pieced band, to the elaborate and glistening staircase, which reflected the luminescent costumes of the show’s star divas.

Ethereal lighting and a gospel-inspired backdrop fall upon songstress Ria Hall, as she opens the stage with powerful and intoxicating vocals, followed by equally as alluring performances by: Villette Dasha, Jennifer Ward-Lealand, Colleen Davis and Sarah Nessia.

The suave and polished band deserve a notable mention, with their acoustically flawless rendition of a concept most unusual,  keeping the heady disco rhythm shaking, to the very end ….  A standout for me in particular,  was the percussionist Antonio Karam, whose vivacity and mad musical ability had not only myself, mesmerized.

Conveying the remarkable rise (and subsequent fall) of such a politically controversial icon was never going to be an easy task.  Yet this unexpected collaboration from influential and allying artists (Byrne & Cook) combined with the stage and musical talent of our very own, individually successful artists –  ‘Here lies love’  is a production of great expectation and certain delivery.

By the end of the show, you will be literally dancing in your seats!

Here Lies Love is now showing over these following dates:
November 22 – December 08th
Rangatira @ Q

 

 

 

been | Imagine Dragons – Spark Arena

I must confess, I’m not too familiar with Imagine Dragons so wasn’t sure what to expect when they played to a sold-out crowd at Spark Arena on Monday night.

First up, was Australian Indie-Rock group The Temper Trap who have graced our shores before in support of Coldplay many years ago. Warming up the crowd and giving us a terrific set that covered their last few albums – most notably their iconic closing song, Sweet Disposition which seems to be on everyone’s playlist still, nine years after it’s release.

After a change of set which saw a few massive LED screens positioned over the stage, the crowd was ready for Imagine Dragons. The band arrived on stage to massive applause. I immediately noticed lead singer Dan Reynolds was in “Activewear” which is something I don’t expect from a pop-rock band from Las Vegas but hey maybe that’s the rock’n’roll thing to do nowadays.

Opening up with I don’t know why and transitioning into Believer I realised why he was in “Activewear”. Reynolds is the ultimate performer with vocals to match his physicality. He pretty much ran the perimeter of the stage, did some very low squats and high knee runs, muscles glistening with sweat, all while singing.

If you aren’t a fan of Imagine Dragons you would have definitely have heard their music somewhere. It seems to be the number one music choice for contestants who sing on The Voice, American Idol or some other generic singing competition that we all secretly enjoy watching.

The show had a few touching moments, with Reynolds and band dedicating Forever Young (originally by Alphaville, not the Beyonce/Jay-Z version) to the recent school shooting in America and Reynolds talking about managing his depression and anxiety with professional help. Forever Young wasn’t the only cover that night as they also did a beautiful re-imagination of Bob Marley’s Three Little Birds.   Towards the end of the show, the band relocated to the opposite end of the main stage to treat the audience in the back to a more intimate performance which was beautiful.

Peppered throughout the night were confetti shooting out of canons, massive white balloons bouncing around the arena (hello Coldplay 2008), and abstract video imaging on the big LED screens. The band definitely put on a massive performance and they were feeding off of the crowd’s energy; giving us an amazing show.

The band finished off their set on the main stage with their hit Radioactive, incorporating large perspex drums that all members of the band used to great effect. I think most people left the arena that night either feeling very impressed or turned on (or both).

I may not have been a fan heading into the show, but I definitely am now.

Did I mention Reynolds had his shirt off?!

been | Hopeless Fountain Kingdom Tour

Last night, Spark Arena hosted Halsey’s Hopeless Fountain Kingdom Tour, with special guest Kehlani.

It was clear to see how this was Kehlani’s third visit in 6 months; New Zealand is definitely not bored of Kehlani and it didn’t look like they would be anytime soon. With her fair share of fans in the audience, she was greeted with raucous rapture. Singing her chart topping tracks, she entertained the crowd her Distraction, CRZY, and Good Life.

With her enigmatic stage presence, she hypnotised the crowd with her sultry voice and sexy moves. It was perhaps her cover of Into You (Fabolous ft. Tmia) that was the most memorable, she performed with such finesse, I preferred her version to the original.

For 23 year old artist , Kehlani performed like a stage veteran, giving us a memorable performance. She also addressed her devoted LGBTQ fans; telling them not to change who they are and to be proud. A fitting message considering this week’s news stories. I wouldn’t be surprised if we saw her back here again within the next six months.

Now onto the headliner for the night.

Halsey had a plan for her Kiwi fans last night; it was to make sure everyone was having a great time. A plan she executed meticulously.

Halsey graced the stage as a silhouette hiding behind a great white sheet. As soon as she began singing the first verse of Eyes Closed, the sheet was pulled down and she commanded the stage.

Donning a sparkly spandex leotard, accessorised with a headpiece that can only be described as a glittered thin, translucent balaclava, she performed her next three singles with finesse. Amidst her set, she performed a piano version of Closer (by the Chainsmokers). Towards the end of her set, she surprised the crowd, by jumping off stage and walking the perimeter of the arena floor.

Her show and performance was nothing short of electric. She had iridescent visuals, accompanied with lighting, flames and CO2 cannons; and as the crescendo of the show, confetti bombs to end a memorable performance.

Halsey’s true talent as a vocal artist was showcased at the concert. Her vocal range was diverse and unique. Her stage presence is also unique. At point one of the show, Halsey and her dancer jumped into a shallow water pit, kicking water in the crowd, whilst visually stunning, may not have been enjoyed by the security team in front of the stage. Her story telling skills gave context to the chart topping hits she performed.

Despite being 23, Halsey performed put on a show like those with 20 years of performing experience. For Helsey’s first performance in New Zealand, she’s left the crowd wanting more and will be sure to sell out her next tour here.

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