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THE RAINFOREST WORLD MUSIC FESTIVAL (2014): A tale of two events

29 Jun 2014  |  5 min read  |  1

Every music festival likes to think of itself as unique, and by definition it is. The location and cultural context – which create the ambience – as well as the different roster of acts ensure that every festival is a one-off experience, even those which take place year after year. But it can be interesting and even useful to compare festivals which have nominally a... > Read more

Txori Erresinula

Larry Carlton. Bruce Mason Centre, Auckland. June 6 2014

7 Jun 2014  |  5 min read

There's an old joke about jazz promotion: if you want to make a million bucks, start with two mill. The amorphous audience is the great unknown. As some promoters have found, you can bring the greatest jazz performers here – for example Charles Lloyd in 2010 who not only had a massive hit album with Forest Flower in the late Sixties but has been delivering exceptional albums... > Read more

Gary Numan, The Studio, Auckland. May 23 2014

24 May 2014  |  5 min read  |  3

Many many years ago, I interviewed the British musician Thomas Dolby who had enjoyed a big hit with She Blinded Me With Science in '82. It was notable for having spoken word samples from the well-known and somewhat eccentric scientist Magnus Pyke on it. It was almost a gimmick hit, but Dolby struck me as a real smart cookie. (I was... > Read more

Peter Brotzmann; Silo Park, Auckland. May 3, 2014

4 May 2014  |  4 min read  |  2

There were a couple of key junction points where jazz parted company with its broad audience. The first came when it uncoupled itself from dance music in the post-war period and by the Fifties had become a serious, listening art form. The second occurred when – a decade later – musicians extended the jazz contract into what became the politicised “free jazz”.... > Read more

Kris Kristofferson; Civic, Auckland. April 30, 2014

1 May 2014  |  4 min read  |  1

Exactly 20 years ago I heard a song which changed the way I thought about how a song can be interpreted. It was at Carnegie Hall and the occasion was the 50th anniversary of the Verve jazz label. On the night an impressive roster of performers rolled out, but one man and one song he sang made such an impression I can hear it even now. It was Antonio Carlos Jobim and he sang his... > Read more

Elvis Costello and the Imposters; Civic, Auckland. April 27, 2014

28 Apr 2014  |  2 min read  |  2

Most artists understand their audience's requirement and expectation so include at least a smattering of their most famous or best loved songs. And so it was that Elvis Costello and his gifted Imposters fired off in quick succession I Don't Wanna Go To Chelsea, Pump It Up, My Aim is True, Oliver's Army, What's So Funny 'Bout Peace Love and Understanding . . . But in this exceptional show... > Read more

WOMAD TARANAKI CONSIDERED (2014): Three days of love, peace and percussion

18 Mar 2014  |  4 min read  |  4

The glee-cum-concern with which weather forecasters last week announced the impending tropical cyclone doubtless accounted for “calm before the storm” being heard as often on Friday, Womad's opening night, as frontman Ryo Nakata of Japan's enjoyably bizarre soul-funk band Osaka Monaurail shouting, “Are you ready?” The large crowd had been ready since the... > Read more


RINGO STARR AND HIS ALL-STARR BAND, REVIEWED (2013): All together now . . .

10 Feb 2013  |  1 min read

Given that previous incarnations of Ringo's All Starr Band included members of The Band, Joe Walsh, Nils Lofgren (a one-time solo act, now of Springsteen and Neil Young groups), Ian Hunter (Mott the Hoople) and other luminaries, this line-up looks like the B-team. Although they have fine pedigree -- Todd Rundgren (who played an indifferent and undersubscribed show here in late... > Read more

WOMAD TARANAKI CONSIDERED (2012): When the world comes calling

19 Mar 2012  |  3 min read  |  3

While many came over green and Irish on Saturday (St Patrick's Day), the Womad crowd typically enjoyed the bigger picture of a rainbow-hued, multicultural music festival with over 400 performers from 21 nations entertaining (and educating) under a cloudless Taranaki sky. It was a day of sunscreen, silly hats, neo-hippie interpretive dance and music from almost every corner (and sometimes... > Read more


Todd Rundgren. Powerstation, Auckland. September 26 2010

26 Sep 2010  |  1 min read

Before an audience charitably described as modest in number, American singer-guitarist Todd Rundgren delivered a show on Friday which veered between the peculiar and the perfunctory, the briefly soaring and mostly stolid. In interviews before this brief tour, his first visit here, he insisted his most recent album, Todd Rundgren's Johnson (interpretations of songs by the legendary bluesman... > Read more

Herbie Hancock. Aotea Centre, Auckland. May 8 2007

8 May 2007  |  2 min read

Auckland jazz audiences go a long time between drinks, as they say. The number of legendary musicians who come here - as opposed to Wellington for the International Festival of the Arts - has been paltry in the past decade or so. Wynton Marsalis stands out, but few others.  So there was high expectation and a large crowd for this concert by a genuine legend in the art. At a... > Read more

STEELY DAN AND STEVE WINWOOD (2002): Major dudes telling you

12 Nov 2002  |  1 min read

For a concert by artists who provided the soundtrack to many people's lives for more than three decades since the Sixties, this show at Vector Arena began remarkably low-key when Steve Winwood ambled on stage with no introduction, while the houselights were still up, to be greeted by only scattered applause from those in the front few rows who recognised him. But within seconds - the lights... > Read more