Nigel Wearne

There’s a charismatic bearded man up the front with his guitars resting on the communion table, and a small audience facing: leaning forward from the pews. I’m not usually one for church on a Saturday night, or ever, but I could get used to this. Jamie Macphail’s Sitting Room Sessions have developed a sort of…

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…

Reb Fountain

23 July 2017, Sitting Room Sessions, Red Barrel Winery Another ‘sitting room’, another Sitting Room Session. Jamie Macphail has sent out the invitation and there’s the many familiar faces, the few new ones, who come whenever he calls, to wherever he says. This time we’re at Red Barrel, along the dark main road out from…

Chop Chop Hiyaaa!

11 July 2017, St Paul’s Church, Napier At this concert of Anika Moa’s the children outnumber the adults, the audience participation is high, and the bar is non-existent. It is 10am, and the cold hall is being warmed up by ancient heaters hanging from the walls. I am reminded of primary-school years attending pantomimes. I…

Kuijken Quartet

8 July 2017, MTG, Napier Mozart String Quartet No 18 in A K.464, Haydn String Quartet No  30 in E flat Op 32 No 2 (The Joke) and Mozart String Quartet No 21 in D K575 (“Prussian  No 1”).   Sigiswald and Sara Kuijken (violins), Marlee Thiers (viola) and Michel Boulanger (cello). The Flemish Kuijken family…

Oliver!

4-7 July, Hastings Girls’ High School Hall Oliver! must be one of the favourite musicals of all time. It’s certainly mine. I had the score as a child and read it like it was a novel. I knew all the words to all the songs and loved all the ins and outs of the story….

Mid-Year Concerts

30 June and 1 July, Old Mill and Karamu High School While bars are jumping and theatres humming, I spent this Friday and Saturday at a talent-a-thon of a slightly fresher, greener hue. The Napier Music Academy first, then the Hawke’s Bay Orchestral Society, with the Training, Youth and Community Orchestras all doing a turn….

Tiny Ruins

18 June 2017, Haumoana Hall It’s been over a week since Tiny Ruins played the Haumoana Hall and I know, I know, this review should have been long done and dusted… but I’ve been trying to pin the gig down as it slips under the Dream Wave, holding to that liminal moment created by songs…

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…