Category Archives: music

Been | The Miltones – Golden Dawn

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If you’re into Americana, early Seventies rock or the blues, then Auckland band The Miltones are an act you don’t want to miss. Playing at Golden Dawn last Friday, the five-piece group did not disappoint. Known for their unique sound, solid lyrics and infectious energy, The Miltones are a band that clearly love what they do and have a real passion for the art. This makes for some great listenin’!

The show opened with Firing Way, a catchy song which set the tone for the rest of the night. Upcoming hit Pursed Lips was a highlight, but the centrepiece of the night would have to be the foot-stomping country-blues tune Bleeding Blues. This is the sort of song that can get even the most dance-opposed person out on the floor, and in Golden Dawn’s smoky interior it almost felt like you could be in some dusty Southern USA joint. The gig finished with one of the band’s early songs, Gypsy Queen. An epic and emotionally strung-out piece, it was the perfect way to end the set.

The band work seamlessly together, led by vocalist and guitarist Milly Tabak, whose raw voice you won’t be forgetting any time soon. Lead guitarist Liam Pratt keeps the energy coming with banging solo after solo, while keyboardist and trumpeter Guy Harrison adds a touch of jazz to the music. Bassist Chris Marshall and drummer Tom Broome are solid, keeping the rhythm alive. While their sound is definitely original, fans of Fleetwood Mac and Neil Young would dig these guys for sure.

In sum: if you’re looking for a down-to-earth Kiwi band with a whole lotta soul, then The Miltones are it. Check them out.

the miltones

Been | Poppin’ my WOMAD cherry!


As I raced back to Auckland to catch the tail-end of another festival in what I can only describe as a tin can with wings, I paused to reflect on the WOMADness of the past day and a half, and I’m glad I gave into the FOMO epidemic that has gripped the nation (and my girlfriend).

heard | our top picks for WOMAD 2016


Leaves are starting to turn, days are becoming (somewhat) shorter and there’s a slight chill in the air – for the NZ Festival scene, it can only mean one thing – WOMAD is upon us!

In its 12th year, the festival returns once again to Taranaki, to showcase different cultures through music – this year, WOMAD will transport you to over 20 countries over seven stages, with 30 acts performing over 3 days. It’s a festival like no other. With so much choice, we thought we’d pick out some of our not-to-be-missed acts for this year’s festival.

been | Leon Bridges and the Texas Gentlemen – St. James Theatre


If you haven’t heard of Mr Bridges, you’re going to. The 26 year old Texan has been rapidly gaining attention since the release of his debut album, Coming Home, in June last year – and for good reason. ‘The kid,’ as backup singer Brittni Jessie calls him, is not just extremely talented, but refreshingly unique.

Blending raw soul and gospel with doo-wop and urban blues, Bridges’ sound takes you back to a time when music was about just that – music. With a nod to the great African American musicians of the fifties, sixties and seventies, Bridges’ style remains consistently ‘oldschool.’ Each number invokes a sort of nostalgia in the listener, a longing for a different time when things were more authentic. In keeping with the feel of his music, Bridges’ dress and mannerisms herald those of decades past. A single glance at his Instagram confirms this: monochrome photos of Bridges wearing trousers and collared shirts reveal a true dedication to his style and sound.

Ending his world tour in Auckland on January 9th, there’s no surprise that Bridges chose the St James as his venue. The historic building was a perfect match for an artist who has been hailed as a contemporary Sam Cooke or Otis Redding. When they arrived on stage Bridges and his seven-piece band, all immaculately dressed in fine suits, showed the crowd what a real concert should be like. There were no flashy sets, no costume changes and no awe-inspiring light displays. Bridges and The Texas Gentlemen simply played, filling the room with an energy and passion you really needed to be there to understand.

After an introductory song, Bridges proudly announced, in a purposefully Southern accent: “we are from Fort Worth Texas, and we rode in on our horses.” He then proceeded to play the entire Coming Home album, as well as a handful of new numbers. This was a foot-stomping, finger-clicking get-down-and-do-the-twist concert – everywhere you looked, people were dancing. While every song was amazing, there were of course highlights. The upbeat melody Twisting and Grooving, written about Bridges’ grandparents, was an instant mood-setter, as were new songs Let You Down and Mississippi Kisses. Bridges didn’t lose any power by slowing things down, however. The crooning number In My Arms was like something straight out of a 1950s dance party, while the rich, gospel song River was the climax of the show.

Ultimately, Bridges is well-worth going to see. And while he is clearly the star of the show, his band also has to be acknowledged. Without the amazing talents of saxophonist Jeff Dazey, who Bridges professed “has been with me right from the start,” and the flawless backup vocals of Brittni Jesse, the music would have quite a different sound.

A passion for real music is what immediately hits you upon hearing or seeing Leon Bridges and the Texas Gentlemen. Not one to let things go to his head, Bridges waited in the St. James foyer after the concert to take photos with fans and sign posters in an informal meet and greet. Did I meet him? Of course. He was soft-spoken and polite as he signed my poster with a quote from the album’s title song. More than that, he was appreciative. “Nice to meet you man,” he told my boyfriend. “Thank you.” Thank you, Leon, for giving us something to look forward to in the music world.

been | Naughty by Nature – 25th Anniversary Tour

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Last Sunday (15th November) hip hop heavy-weights Naughty by Nature touched down on our shores for the last leg of their respective 25th Anniversary Tour.

Hot off the plane where they have been touring most of the major Australian cities, the irrepressible trio of Treach, Vin Rock and DJ Kay Gee have reunited to bring back their enduring 90’s East Coast sound.

Being my first-time witnessing a live performance by Naughty by Nature, I was a little uncertain about what to expect.  But once finding myself amidst the densely packed venue among the throngs of dedicated fans, I immediately felt at home in this den of hip hop.

A surprisingly full-house for a Sunday night gig in which one, could undoubtedly feel the anticipation and energy of those who clearly regard the influential triad, as a staple in music history.

My patience did begin to wane somewhat, as I found myself loitering for an extended time whilst I awaited their arrival on stage,  and once they did, an hour or so after the set time, they proceeded to play a plethora of other contemporary rap artists which as a genuine fan,  I found a little vexatious …….  But once they did get into the vast catalogue of hits that catapulted their success, they were unstoppable and brilliant, creating an enigmatic energy that was at the same time too, quite intimate and familiar; as the stage became abound with those die-hard followers of their ‘Illtown’ sound.   Hands and roofs were most definitely raised!

Immersed in such hip-hop anthems as ‘Hip Hop Hooray’ a classic from their debut eponymous LP, and ‘Craziest’ (from their follow up record ‘Poverty’s Paradise’) in particular, was performed with such raw yet authentic power that clearly resonated with those devoted to the ground-breaking group at the height of their fame.   Drawing towards the end of the long but worthy performance; the omnipotent artists reminded us what they were made of, with the indisputable no.1 hit from which their phenomenal success and universal presence came into existence – “OPP”

The night wore on well into the late hours, but the exhaustion and bleary-eyes were worth it in the morning, for a night of hip hop genius that I for one, will be ever thankful to have experienced.  Yet still I have one persisting question………………  What ever was with the baseball bat???



heard | Naughty by Nature Kiwi by Nature 25th Anniversary Tour


This November brings to Auckland some of music’s best touring acts, Naughty by Nature being one such reputed group.  Comprised of Treach (Anthony Criss), Vin Rock (Vincent Brown) & DJ Kay Gee (Kerr Gist), these ‘Illtown’ boys hail from East Orange, New Jersey.  From where they became an influential force in the rise of hip-hop’s progressive sound

Grammy Award winning trio ‘Naughty by Nature’ first burst on the music scene in the late 1980’s with their widely successful hit track ‘O.P.P’ which sampled the universally popular – Jackson 5’s ABC and peaked at #6 on the Billboard Hot 100.

Friends from High school, they performed under the initial name of ‘New Style’ competing in talent shows where they networked their way to the attention of Queen Latifah, who played an instrumental part in their early success, securing the fledgling artists a record deal under the management of her company Tommy Boy (2)

‘O.P.P’ from their eponymous album, paved the way for this formidable musical union and catapulted their crossover from ghetto rap into commercial hip-hop notoriety.  They continued their reign over the East Coast hip-hop scene well throughout the 1990’s with their follow up album 19 Naughty 111, a collaborative effort directed by Spike Lee and featuring Eazy E, Run DMC, Queen Latifah and Da Youngtas and from which such memorable tracks were turned into no.1 hits; ‘Hey ho’ and ‘Hip hop Hooray’ to name but a few.  Subsequent to this was the equally successful 1995 album ‘Poverty’s Paradise’ which spawned another classic hip hop anthem in ‘Feel me Flow’.

The trio then hung up their recording hats not long after to pursue other creative endeavours:  Treach with a relatively prosperous acting career and Kay Gee in producing, where he found himself working directly with other prolific artists as;  Aaliyah, Krayzie Bone, NEXT.   Following this period, a number of controversial years ensued.  From financial disputes, which led to a decision by DJ Kay Gee to leave the group, to a marriage made in R&B heaven (if only for a few years) between Pepa (from Salt & Pepa) and Treach, and to charges pertaining to illegal firearm possession …

Since then, Kay Gee and Treach reunited and the group went on to release two further albums, one in 2002 suitably titled ‘Iicons’ and 2011’s ‘Anthem Inc’ celebrating the groups 20th anniversary

Hitting Auckland’s premiere venue The Studio this Sunday, the dynamic trio are back and as powerful as ever, to take us on a trip of 80’s/90’s rap nostalgia and concede their prominence in hip-hop royalty ……

Be sure not to miss your chance to become part of music history and witness a truly energetic live performance by securing your tickets to Naughty by Nature’s – ‘Kiwi by Nature’ 25th Anniversary Tour.



heard | Laneway 2016 lineup loves


Ah don’t we all just love this time of year when the weather starts to get slightly warmer, the days become longer and we discover new music through lineup announcements for the summer music festival 2016 circuit?! The latter is one of the many reasons we love St Jerome’s Laneway Festival. We thought we’d run through who we’re looking forward to the most at Laneway next year.

Beach House
This duo have in fact done Laneway back in 2011; visiting our shores when the festival was hosted that one time in Aotea Square in 2011 before finding its home at Silo Park. We were there in 2011 for their set where they played their signature dreamy pop that was absolutely perfect for such a festival as Laneway. Although next year’s would be that extra special we imagine just because it’s Silo Park and it’s by the water. Coming out with two albums this year, Beach House definitely have a decent size catalogue of tracks to perform and we can’t wait to see them again.

Last year in 2013 when Dru was living it up in Amsterdam, he covered the CHVRCHES gig for us there and wrote a review about it. They aren’t strangers to the Laneway festival having performed here in 2014. We look forward to their return with having released a very strong strong album Every Open Eye this year.

The 20 year old indie-pop sensation is someone to definitely check out on the day at the festival next year. Delivering high-energy shows and spreading the love to his fans, reportedly giving out hugs to those that hang out after each of his show. Releasing his debut album this year Ratchet, Shamir has spent most of the year touring with the band Years & Years opening up for them on their UK leg of the tour.

Having toured New Zealand in 2012 she is no stranger to this country. She releases her long awaited fourth album Art Angels this month. Her last one being the critically acclaimed Visions in 2012. Grimes has such an ethereal presence on stage to go with her sound and should not be missed.

Hudson Mohawke
The Scotsman HudMo toured New Zealand in 2013 as one half of TNGHT with Lunice. His latest effort this year was the album Lantern which featured some great collaborators including Miguel, Jhene Aiko and Anohni (formerly Antony Hegarty of Antony and the Johnsons). He’s got some great tracks in his catalogue that would just go off at Silo Park. We’re definitely looking forward to his set.

The Internet
The Internet comprises of Odd Future members Matt Martians and Syd the Kid and others. Releasing their third album this year titled Ego Death to critical acclaim, the band has grown from strength to strength. It’s their first time in New Zealand together and we’re pretty excited to be there for it.

Laneway festival is on Monday 01st February 2016 at Silo Park with tickets already on sale.