Tami Neilson

 11 June 2017, Napier Conference Centre Her backing band, the Hot Rockin’ Rhythm Band, shuffles into rhythmic formation with the studied deference and sharp matching suits of “authenticity” we’ve come to expect of the Mark Ronson, Dap-Kings school of Nu Soul. The playing is effortless. People are clapping the beat already and they’ve barely started….

Skinny Hobos

19 May 2017, the Cabana, Napier Walking into the Cabana on a Friday night, I was confronted by a bunch of teenagers going hard to the Twisted Zips, a group of local school lads playing covers of their idols (and a tribute to the late Chris Cornell). This young band – really together, good stage…

Tiki Taane Mahuta

22 May 2017, Napier Municipal Theatre Created by Taki Rua artistic director Tānemahuta Gray, the production Tiki Taane Mahuta is set to live music from iconic musicians Tiki Taane and Shapeshifter’s Sam Trevethick, and combines theatre, audiovisual projection, aerial performance, contemporary dance, kapa haka, mau rākau and hip hop. Both the narrative and sound track…

Laura Collins and the Back Porch Blues Band

20 May 2017, The Cabana, Napier I make my way to the back of Roy Brown’s iconic venue. Laura Collins and the Back Porch Blues Band fill the small raised stage, glittering lights tinsel in drops to the floor behind and the familiar palm tree silhouettes black on concrete wall. Posters and memorabilia fill this…

Kathryn Stott Piano Recital

18 May 2017, MTG Century Theatre Ravel: Sonatine; Faure: Nocturne No 6 Op 63; Franck: Prelude, Choral and Fugue M. 21; Debussy: L’Isle Joyeuse; Faure: Nocturne No 4, Op 36; Dutilleux: Piano Sonata. With a wholly French bill of fare, a gastronomic metaphor was difficult to resist.  Lovers of French – particularly piano – music…

Oro

11 May 2017, Hastings City Art GallerY We were treated to a musical performance by traditional taonga pūoro (Māori instrument) maker, player and teacher, Matiu Bartlett, accompanied by fellow taonga pūoro player Layton Robertson. Together they created a soundscape using traditional Māori instruments, ranging from the eerie sounds of the koauau (blown flute), the striking…

The Chills

28 April 2017, Cabana, Napier Expectation was high and the crowd was swelling, the Cabana’s distinct smell of sweaty dancers and dissipated dry ice putting me in mind of great nights rocking out to some loud music here. I was looking forward to the renowned Dunedin sound from years gone by that I thought I…

Gemma Ray

5 May, 2017, The Old Mill, Napier The Old Mill, Napier, is quite possibly the perfect venue for the intimacy, drama, and retro-stylings of British singer-songwriter Gemma Ray. Main Street hides this local hacienda in a narrow gully that snakes up Napier Hill. Once inside the dated lobby, you take the stairs down to the…

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…

Paul Ubana Jones

27 April 2017, Common Room There’s something about Paul Ubana Jones that gives you a direct line to a whole other era of greatness. It’s not just his fabulous ‘fro (all grey now), his dapper ease and stories – watching Jimi Hendrix live in SoHo as a youngster, for instance. Or the fact that the…

Stretch: Bury All Horses album tour

15 April 2017, Common Room, Hastings Stretch returned to his home town to play a sold-out gig at the Common Room on Saturday night.  Described as an “alt-country” musician, there were definite tones of rock and hints of blues in there too. Stretch warmed us – and himself – up with heartfelt ballads before really…

Sam Manzanza and the Afro Beat Quartet

15 April 2017, The Cabana We’re seated at The Cabana’s distinctive collaged tables for the first song of the night: a lulling, bluesy number. Sam Manzanza, resplendent in his dashiki, kufi hat and glowing white sneakers, is joined by a merry and eclectic band of men, the Afro Beat Quartet.  Together through their music, they…