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…

Loud Ghost

25 November 2017, Paisley Stage, Napier Four bands in one night. The venue: Paisley Stage. This is a great new space for live music in Napier and it became the heart of Napier’s music scene on Saturday night. The opening band, The Counts, a three-piece metal band from Auckland, started the night off with high…

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…

Richie & Rosie

1 November, Urban Winery, Ahuriri. Listening is too often an under-refined practice in our social exchanges these days, so to feel received in it, in any given moment is a treat indeed. Once again, the etiquette of the Sitting Room Sessions delivered an energised reciprocal experience to performers and audience alike. The stunning Richie &…

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…

That Bloody Woman

17 October, Municipal Theatre “She’s not as innocent as she looks on the $10 note”, says my companion. Kate Sheppard that is, because That Bloody Woman is a musical about Kate, that Kate. It’s an anarchic rock opera of a thing that paints Kate as rebellious, militant, opinionated (like all good women should be). It…

Declan O’Rourke & Vishtan

7 October, Blyth Performing Arts Centre Hawke’s Bay Arts Festival 2017 “When you live by the weather every wind has a tale” A single line from one of Declan’s songs seemed to encapsulate this evening of music for me. The performance began with Vishtan, a Canadian trio from remote regions of eastern Canada, twin sisters…

Kiwi As

8 October, Spiegeltent Hawke’s Bay Arts Festival 2017 Festival folk are freaks and fantasists. It’s humanly impossible to do what they do or even conceptualise the things they bring to the stage. Yet, in us all there is a little freak desperate to get up and ‘have a go’. We sit in the dark, as…

Eb and Sparrow

8 October, Spiegeltent Hawke’s Bay Arts Festival 2017 A life without expectations is probably a happy one. Knowing really nothing about Eb and/or Sparrow, beyond the promotional description in the arts festival booklet, I nevertheless had a surprisingly fixed idea of what I was in for before the gig. This would be, I decided, a…