R E V I E W
Future City Festival - Day 2 Review
Addendum by Gee Ttochs
Team tagging here with Ian who stayed at Creative Waikato for most of Day 2, gallantly taking on door and merch sale duties between bands, which meant he didn't catch all the bands that day. One of the best aspects of Captain Shirehorse's organisation, was no lull to the proceedings for a keen audience, as one band ended and another began 5 minutes later. However, being mere mortal, some of us flagged and had to do things like eat, so it was impossible to get to everything over the course of the 2 days. I however did get to see most of what has already been reviewed and a bit more. During the day Nivara wasn't as bright and airy as Creative Waikato, but come into its own more at night. Indeed, Creative Waikato was superbly transformed into a cool place to hang during the day with merch, crafts, photography and excellent sound despite those high ceilings (great job on sound by Terry and Steph across both venues).
Nivara that day saw Date Month Year start proceedings. A tough gig for any band, but these guys are going from strength to strength and were probably the safest pair of hands for this job. Perfect for those of us who were a bit slow from the night before. Well-crafted songs to get us going. Next up (after Half Eaten Pie) was Glass Shards, who gave zero fucks about easing us in. The hammer was pretty much implanted in face by this heavy-electro maniac. Again, another Hamilton act that has constantly evolved over the last few years, just getting better and better. He has mastered his craft and is sounding great. Slowly but surely, we are seeing and getting to know the person behind the noise. The mask was off, and the vocals are getting clearer. Someone is getting comfortable in their own skin despite themselves.
I too dashed across town to catch Elider, but Ian's Inchworm obsession has more than adequately covered that set. I bought the CD and have been playing it ever since. It was a treat to see an electric version of the otherwise more acoustic album. A live album is definitely required as the songs translated so well in a live setting. Enough brown nosing.
Back over in Nivara we were then treated to an overseas act in the form of Blankets. This set was a complete contrast to the otherwise traditional band set up of stringed guitars and drums. Set up on a table was a tape recorder and several effects pedals, manipulated and performed beautifully to transform all who were present to a much different sonic space. The performance too was captivating- watching an artist completely immersed in their sonic world was a delight. It was enchanting and beautiful and over all too quickly. A festival high point for a self-confessed gearhead who'd love to ditch the guitar and just play the pedals!!!
Next up in Nivara was fledgling H-town band Celebrity Death Hoax. Having just conquered Wellington, they returned home triumphant and with a bit of confidence. However, at this gig they were joined by some Gremlins who promised to mess up the festival schedule. The band had to abandon their first attempt at their now customary set opener, the CDH Theme Songs ("we are a Death Hoax, you are a death hoax, Celebrity Death Hoax) and take a second go at it. The set was plagued by technical difficulties, but the band set up on the floor in front of the stage and engaged the audience directly with singer Pip prowling around the venue amongst the audience singing through a megaphone. they gave it their all.
Invisible Threads returned to Hamilton having played the HUP 1st Annual Xmas Party. Jana having joined on drums in the interim. The switch of drummer had a huge impact, keeping the pace but creating more space for bass and guitar. They are a joy to watch and figure out. Sam Moore's guitar playing is mesmerising and cut through beautifully with the new line up, whilst retaining the pace of old. Great set.
Unfortunately, I missed The Recently Deceived as I ended up gassing to someone and I went off for a feed. So, sorry guys. Loved the zine entry. It was my favourite Q&A for sure. I returned for Rumpus Room who were clearly enjoying their set. While it was neat to see that exciting special edition version of the band, that interplay between the Newth bros. on guitar is clearly one of their distinctive features. There is nothing better than the way they combine as guitarists. However, this was a bit of a treat for sure.
Two Cartoons together with Spawts really embraced the festival spirit. Those guys deserve a bit of a special mention (together with members of Date Month Year, Halcyon Birds and Invisible Threads) for their presence throughout the festival, watching and supporting other bands on the bill. That is what it's all about, people coming together, being inspired by other groups and getting a chance to meet one another. It's a bit of a personal annoyance of mine, bands who just turn up and play without watching the people they are sharing a bill with. These guys were all over the place, down the front, taking it all in. Two Cartoons put in a great show, they really won over the crowd by the end of their set. Had it been later and few beers got involved I am sure there would have been people giving it their best moves down the front, but at 8pm after a hard day's walking to and fro, people were glad of a seat to enjoy their entertainment and they entertained.
I failed to make it to the very end, having been involved in both nights. Alexa Dexa was a sweet exit. Again another neat act that is just so open to the idea of using anything to make music. A real creative spirit that again was a great counterpoint to more traditional genres done well. Big shout out to HUP for having the vision and the energy to put this on for us. You did an amazing organisational job, but also note curated the whole event. You have immensely good taste in music and have introduced me to some of my new favourite acts over the weekend. So thanks and long live HUP and the Future City Festival.