Category Archives: music

been | Naughty by Nature – 25th Anniversary Tour

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.

heard | Start planning your Soulfest experience!

Great news for fans that are unable to attend SoulFest for the entire event – there is a new release of limited offer special SoulFest Twilight Tickets – on sale now!

Soulfest Twilight Tickets enable entry from 6pm on show day, and allow access into the Rear Field GA area only.

These tickets will be available at the special price of $99.00**

Please go to: or 0800 111 999 for full information on offers.

**Please note: Transaction fees, processing fees and other charges may apply. Offers are limited and are strictly subject to availability.

And here is the SOULFEST TIMETABLE 2015 so you can start planning your SoulFest experience!


Tickets on sale now from: and

For your listening pleasure, the official SoulFest 2015 line up playlist can be streamed on Spotify here

Check out our favourite Soulfest collaborations here.

seen | An Evening with the Incredible Mr Capsis | Concert Chamber, Auckland Town Hall

images-3     Hot on the heels of such a rousing performance by the amazing Camille O’Sullivan, it was truly shaping up to be a hard act to follow ……….. But Australian cabaret extraordinaire Mr Paul Capsis certainly lived up to the challenge!

With a refreshingly satirical mood and an edgy ambiance to the show, it was a somewhat lighter, yet in no way less impressive, transition from the all encompassing show previous.

The heavily tattooed and made up Paul Capsis presents himself and in drag,  a surprise to my senses as I was not quite sure just what to expect from this 5 time Helpmann Award Winner, but was readily impressed.

Drawing inspiration from some of Divas’ royalty, (Garland, Janis Joplin, Nina Simone) and as clearly distinguished by his costume choice, the tragically young Amy Winehouse.  Paul Capsis has a definite affinity for the strong and influential soulful greats and delivers a show in the true style of Cabaret.

Among them included a contemporary rendition of ‘Sweet dreams are made of this’ and Nancy Sinatra’s classic ‘BANG BANG’.

Mixed with great comedic timing, simulated multiple personality disorder/exorcism, with intermittent references to the state of Australian politics,  Mr Capsis shows us that he is not only funny, but has depth and layers of character and is also very passionate about his heritage.

‘Lady Sings the Blues’ is an amusing irony that springs to mind whilst listening to the artist project such powerful gospel ballads in a lusty and feminine voice that defies his gender, traversing between costume changes with hilarious storytelling.

Closing the show with a beautiful performance alongside a live double-bass player and rest of band, echoing the sounds that of a didgeridoo reminiscent of Paul Capsis’s homeland and a quintessential tune from Lou Reed, this arresting and diversely entertaining evening proved that it may have indeed, been my ‘Perfect Day’ ………….


Monique Perera ~ 3/09/2015


been | Camille O’Sullivan – ‘Changeling’ | Concert Chamber, Auckland Town Hall


Wow.  Simple words just cannot express how a single performer was able to exceed my already lofty expectations of them,  but one such remarkable artist managed to do just that (a thousand times over), the delightful and extremely charismatic Irish/French chanteuse, Camille O’Sullivan.

The much lauded Auckland International Cabaret Season returns for its triumphant second year to titillate and tantalize our fabulous and flamboyant senses with 7 amazingly original (and some risque) acts and I was lucky enough to score an invite to two of these, beginning with an incredibly moving and stellar production of Camille O’Sullivan’s  ‘Changeling’.

In the elegantly set cabaret hall with its sumptuous and grand curtain backdrop, we are immediately brought into a very intimate and comfortable setting,  made even more so with the sudden emergence of the femme fatale herself, sleek and sultry dressed all in black, and surprisingly rather tactile with the audience, carrying the unmistakably warm and friendly air of the Irish.

Going by all previous reviews of just what one should expect from a show by Camille, with eclectic and soulful renditions of some of musics most revered; David Bowie,  Nick Cave and Leonard Cohen (to name but a few),  I was not left disappointed.

She is joined onstage with some pretty impressive musical assistance by a cool and collected backing band, opening with a hauntingly beautiful version of Nick Caves, ‘God is in the House’.  With such strength in her voice, faultless and smooth delivery, it is just a taste of what our ears will be treated to, throughout this one hour show, and so begins our musical journey ………

Camille definitely lives up to the flamboyant and dramatic expectations of a Cabaret artist, in ruby red slippers reminiscent of Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz, energy of movement alongside very effective lighting and set design, she is also however very unique in her ability to go beyond that, with humorous repertoire and diversity in her musical choices.  From one particular rock track executed in a style echoing the mood of an old Irish ballad to one of the more recognizable closing tunes, ‘Is that all there is ……..?’  All delivered with silky smooth precision in Camille’s uniquely raspy and  powerful, yet beautiful tone of voice.

A truly special and enigmatic performance, that left all those lucky enough to have been a part of it, incredibly moved and wanting more …………..


Monique Perera ~ 3/09/2015


heard | favourite Soulfest collaborations

With Soulfest only 14 weeks away we thought we’d compile a list of our favourite collaborations by some of the artists who will be performing at the festival this October. With such an impressive lineup, there was quite a selection to choose from.

Jhene Aiko has come a long way from being a backup vocalist for B2K, more recently she’s collaborated with Glasgow producer, Hudson Mohawke on a stellar track titled Resistance, about a doomed romance.

Eric Benet was a household name in 1999 when the following song dropped. Featuring Faith Evans who was in her prime with the Bad Boy family.

The undisputed Queen of Hip-Hop Soul has many collaborations under her belt so it was rather hard to choose one. Her recent venture into dance music with the likes of Disclosure resulted in some great tracks but she did join forces with another Brit earlier in her career which we loved. The video’s pretty awesome as well cause you get many Marys in the one video.

Jill Scott is such a beautiful poetic soul that writes intelligent, sassy and honest lyrics that hit you right where you need it the most. This track definitely does it for us with saxophonist Mike Phillips taking this track to another whole level.

Floetry are Natalie Stewart and Marsha Ambrosius who hail from the U.K. They’ve collaborated with the likes of Raheem DeVaughn, Mos Def and Common. It’s the track with Common that we can’t stop listening to. Ambrosius’ vocals are just beautiful on this track.

Miguel with his sexy smooth vocals could perhaps steal anyone’s heart. The collaboration that sticks out the most to us is the one where he sang with the only artist to have a number 1 single every year in the 90s.

When L. Boogie burst onto the scene in the early 90s with the Fugees, you knew there was something special about her. Embarking on a solo career in the late 90s, she released her debut The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill which became an instant classic and sold millions worldwide. She collaborated with a few artists on there including Mary J. Blige, John Legend and Carlos Santana. More recently she has worked on the soundtrack of the Nina Simone documentary where she’s covered a couple of her tracks. Her rendition of the Bob Marley track Turn Your Lights Down Low is pretty special, though.

Charlie Wilson has been described as the essence of soul. The former lead singer of Gap Band, his career has spanned forty years and has amassed quite a few collaborations. He’s been featured on quite a few Kanye West tracks, but it’s the iconic “Beautiful” with Snoop Dogg & Pharrell that we can’t get out of our heads.

Hip-hop legends De La Soul have been going hard for 20 years and they’ve collaborated with quite a few people and we couldn’t go past the Chaka Khan feature on All Good.

Soulfest will be happening on Monday 26th October (Labour Day Holiday) at Western Springs Stadium and tickets are still available from and with more information on