Richter City Rebels

Friday 8 Dec, Common Room, Hastings It’s a stinking hot December night and, like lifting the lid on a pressure cooker, the Richter City Rebels have come to let off some steam. On stage they cut an impressive jib, seven brass instruments gleaming in the glow of the curtain of stars at their backs, their…

Peter Brötzmann & Heather Leigh – “Sex Tape” Tour

30 November 2017, Common Room, Hastings I stood at Common Room’s bar and spoke with Peter Brötzmann after what must have been a draining performance for the 76-year-old saxophonist, and not just because of his age. There’s a ferocious, urgent intensity to his music that begs the question of how he can summon up a…

Fire in the Meth Lab

29 November 2017, Common Room, Hastings It’s only been a couple of months since Jon Bennett’s hilarious Fringe in the ‘Stings offering Pretending Things are a Cock.  In my household we’re still cracking cock jokes and sniggering at pink Havaiana jandals in shop windows, so I was quick to put my hand up to see…

Lawrence Arabia

11 November 2017, Common Room, Hastings Tonight was a night, or rather an evening alone with Lawrence Arabia, an evening publicised by the man himself as a surefire “most satisfying” transaction. The transaction transpired with Lawrence Arabia, aka James Milne, standing alone on stage, bathed in a warm red light, in a blue boilersuit with…

Graeme James

4 November 2017, Common Room, Hastings The intense heat of a Hawke’s Bay evening hung about us as we waited for Graeme James to take the stage. It was a full house, Common Room was hot. Clearly the Nelson-born musician’s reputation preceded him as an expectant audience of men and women lined the walls, filled…

Devil’s Elbow

21 October, Common Room Celebrating their 10th year anniversary Devils Elbow returned to their roots in Hawke’s Bay to play – what turned out to be – a sell-out gig for an upbeat and dynamic group of fans. Common Room was buzzing with dancing bodies that included both new and long time loyal Devil’s Elbow…

The Extended Session with Fraser Mack

Saturday 14th October, Common Room I really like this musician. Self-taught. Picking up the guitar when he was sixteen. Fraser humbly smiled and said in a smooth voice “It’s not when you start, its how many hours you put in”. As a gardener is born with a ‘green thumb’ Fraser was born with ‘chicken picking…

Looking for Alaska vs Albi and the Wolves

19 August 2017, Common Room, Hastings Auckland folk (but not as you know it) band Albi and the Wolves have their biggest fans in Hastings, and Albi, in turn, is a massive fan of Common Room: “It goes without saying; this is the best pub in the whole damn country!” What is billed as a…

Grawlixes

23 July 2017, Common Room Some say work and love don’t mix, that it creates a world of complexities and problems and leads to inevitable break-up. Robin Cederman and Penelope Esplin of Grawlixes have taken their experiences as an ex-couple and have crafted music that is funny, intimate and refreshingly real. This was the last…

Revolutionary Arts Ensemble: Kung Fu Jazz

20 July 2017, Common Room Adrian Thornton has crazy, good ideas, and Anton Wuts is the music wizard who makes stuff happen… so… take 1960s free jazz, a massive dose of the avant-garde saxophonist, Albert Ayler, and speed it all up, give it a punk rock spin, two drum-kits, keys, guitars, enough brass, and you…

Cori Gonzalez-Macuer

19 May 2017, Common Room, Hastings Being a feminist killjoy, it can be tough to have a laugh. Once you’ve been on the receiving end of a social system that discriminates on the basis of factors outside your control, it becomes hard to poke fun at others under similar criteria. Cori Gonzalez-Macuer is a comedic…

Anton Wuts Quintet

4 May 2017, Common Room Hawke’s Bay is well-endowed with big talent, many of them Bay homegrowns who have flown and returned to ‘settle’, have lived elsewhere, been there, seen that and now just want a bit of peace-and- (dare I say quiet?). The size of their skill and experience can’t quite squeeze itself into…