Future City Festival (March)
This seems like such a long time ago now. Our first crack at a 'festival' - two venues, two nights and an afternoon, and 26 sweet bands. The lead up was super stressful but the event itself went smoothly. There were so many highlights for me; meeting new people, being interviewed for a RNZ piece about Hamilton music, and listening back to friends talking about the Hamilton scene on Radio 101. Moments that stick in the memory are walking into Nivara Lounge after Alexa Dexa had started playing and seeing everyone sitting cross legged on the floor chilling out and getting into her music. I finally got to see Wizz Kids play and they were fantastic. Invisible Threads absolutely nailed it on the Saturday afternoon, as did Elider, which was such a fun set. I could've picked anyone really, all the bands were amazing and set the bar really high for each other. Show quirks - not too many actually, though the PA at Creative Waikato did crap out only to be expertly recovered by Terry, and a couple of bands had to withdraw, and the always amazing Carb on Carb hopped on the bill. Check out the photoset here.
Yukon Era (March)
One of the best young bands in the country played Diggers back bar to a small crowd. They were amazing. Hamilton just decided to have a night off.
Jess Locke (April)
Melbourne based Jess and her band toured NZ, playing Nivara Lounge with Carb on Carb and Ancient Tapes in the process. They were incredible, and the 'Words That Seem To Slip Away' LP that I bought that night has had a hammering since, with 'Another Year' being in my top five songs of the year.
David Liebe Hart w/ Nuggiez + The Recently Deceived (April)
One of the oddest things we've been involved with yet! Liebe Hart made his way to Nivara Lounge from the moon, which we were able to follow via his on-stage A.V. display. He then kicked off with the fantastic 'I'm in Love with an Insect Woman', which set the mood for the rest of his set. The songs and banter had us laughing out loud, confused, or both. Backed up by Jonah Mociun, on an instrument derived from space technology, highlights included the songs 'Teleportation Thru Space' and 'New Technology'. A truly unforgettable gig.
The Bats w/ Ancient Tapes + The Scones (May)
Things got really exciting somewhere around March when, after quite a few goes at agreeing a date that might work, Paul Kean came back to us and confirmed that May 19th was go. Huzzahs! The Bats were to play Hamilton for the first time in eons. The show eventually sold out and was an amazing night for everyone, the band included. Highlights were getting to meet the band and have a chat with Robert Scott about other bands, particularly Pavement, whose t-shirt he was sporting, and Super Furry Animals. Paul was also a lovely guy and what a bass player! Their set was incredible, and featured a decent chunk of their back catalogue as well as songs from their latest LP 'The Deep Set'. Show quirks - the raucous crowd, the enjoyment on the faces of every one of the band at the adoration coming their way, the singing, the dancing... just a brilliant night. I recall Ivan receiving phone calls to the venue to ask if there were tickets on the door and having to disappoint quite a few people. Special mention to The Scones' support; the audience were really appreciative of what they heard from the band, and they won a lot of new fans on the night, while Ancient Tapes also played an excellent set. A highlight of the year without a doubt. Check out the photoset here.
Another sell-out show. One of my favourite bands came to my adopted hometown and slayed. They say never meet your heroes. Load of bollocks. Do it, it's ace. SO many highlights, including their rendition of JPS Experience's 'Mothers', which The Wedding Present has released on three different occasions since 1991, and Gedge's introduction about it being the first time the band had ever played the song live...in Hamilton. The band left with far less merchandise than what they arrived with. Show quirks - bit of a mix up on the old gear front so ended up securing a strat (thanks Ben!) for David to use about an hour before soundcheck. Check out the photoset here.
This show had a distinctly Wellington flavour, featuring The All Seeing Hand, Disasteradio and Unsanitary Napkin, together with locals Hedge Fund Trader. It was a decent crowd for a Thursday night, the night before The Others Way festival in Auckland. HFT woke us all up before Unsanitary Napkin made sure we stayed awake and tuned in to the world around us. Disasteradio made us all dance and smile amid some technical issues, and The All Seeing Hand gently mesmerised us with their magic tones. Photoset here!
The gig with the best overall vibe, Japanese pop-punk band Shonen Knife played Nivara Lounge on a Wednesday night, and despite that impediment the venue was near capacity. The band were there to have fun, and so were the crowd. People danced, and despite the numbers in attendance everyone had their own personal space. There were plenty of songs about food; 1998 single ‘Banana Chips’ was played very early on, and was followed later by the likes of ‘Sushi Bar Song’, ‘All You Can Eat’ and ‘Ramen Rock’. “Are you feeling hungry yet?” Support band on the night was the recently reformed former-Hamilton band ‘5 Girls’. Photoset here!
An amazing Thursday evening $5 show at Creative Waikato. All three bands were really good. People came specifically to see Whitney, mostly because they knew her from her band Days N Daze. She was incredible. TGATP were excellent too, playing as a drumless 3 piece. The PA crapped out after a few songs so they continued acoustically. Lovely. Kitchenette, Julian and Greg from The Scones, performed a great set. A variety of instruments accompanied Greg's acoustic guitar wonderfully. Can't wait to see them again at Future City 2018. Shibby Pictures showed some excellent short films, the highlight of which was 'Baseball Punx', a doco that combines punk rock and baseball very effectively. Enthralling stuff. The night had started with Dan Inglis showing some of his (and Jeremy Mayall's) work, which was intriguing. All in all a lovely night, if a little weird at times.
Pavement founder Scott Kannberg (a.k.a. Spiral Stairs) played his first ever show in Hamilton, one of only two New Zealand shows on this tour. Highlights included new tracks Emoshuns and Angel Eyes, plus two of his Pavement songs, which he finished the night on, Kennel District and Two States. The latter was a much extended version from that on record, and became a massive sing-along for the crowd. Blowing away everyone in attendance, however, was The Naenae Express - featuring a few different members than the last time they played here in 2016 - who played primarily songs off their 'The Naenae Express Extended Player'. 'Sea Anemone' was a highlight. 'Asteroid Blues' was a highlight. 'Overlander' was a highlight. Pretty much everything the band did was a highlight. Wormstar also provided excellent support. Check out the photoset here!
And that was our 2017! Shoutouts to all those that have played a show, came to a show, or helped out/showed encouragement in some way - Phil at Free FM/The HUM 106.7FM, Ivan, Stephen and Rick at Nivara Lounge, The brothers Newth, Wairehu, Gareth and of course Ngamihi for the sweet photography. Thanks too if you've read/liked/shared our articles and posts...it all helps! 2018 has started well - new bands are being formed in Hamilton (huzzahs!), our new podcast '6 Songs' is in full flow, and another Future City Festival is scheduled for the start of March!