It was two years ago yesterday that the first ever HUP shows took place. The very first was an afternoon show at Creative Waikato, which was followed hours later by the second show, at Nivara Lounge.
We published a short piece about the gig, on the Sunday that followed... click here to have a read.
The afternoon show was something of an odd affair. It probably speaks volumes that we haven't retried an afternoon show since, other than Future City which was a bit different. I look back on it fondly though, as a crowd of 8 year olds in ear muffs, their parents, and a selection of the more switched-on/able to attend Hamiltronians attended. Musically, it was outstanding, with Carb on Carb and I.E.Crazy playing captivating sets, Nicole Carb modifying the setlist before playing to make sure any songs containing swearing was eliminated. Ancient Tapes played that afternoon too, on what was thought to be their last day of existence.
Palmy's excellent Man In Rug joined the aforementioned three bands for the evening show, and a great time seemed to be had by all in attendance. I still have the Carb T Shirt bought that night, albeit with a very worn collar. The band has played two further HUP shows, as a late addition to Future City Festival in March of this year, and then back in April with Jess Locke.
HUP caught up with Jake from Hamilton's The Volume Collective to find out more about the 'In The Fridge' sessions that you may have seen appearing online of late. The sessions are recorded on campus at the University of Waikato, in the rooms of what used to be Contact FM many moons ago, one of which became known as 'The Fridge'. Skip on over to the ARTICLE to read more!
R E V I E W
The Bats, with Ancient Tapes and The Scones
Friday 19 May 2017, Nivara Lounge
The Bats returned to Hamilton for the first time in many years on Friday night. Hamilton made their return worth it, providing the band with a highly enthusiastic sold-out Nivara Lounge crowd.
The Scones kicked off the night around 8pm, with over half of the final crowd already present. The band played a diverse array of well-crafted pop songs. For many in attendance, this was likely their first introduction to The Scones, but the audience were very appreciative of what they heard; the conclusion of every song was met with very generous applause. Front-person Julian White pushed their ‘The Scones’ emblazoned pens in one song break, and by the time the set was over the crowd was buzzing.
Ancient Tapes followed, with at least one member stating they were worried about how they might follow the quality of The Scones performance. They needn’t have worried. The Tapes set was stronger than ever, with the band playing a mix of their best from 2015’s Hummingbird EP and some excellent new songs. Guitarist Gareth was more energetic than I had ever seen him previously, and Sam’s vocals were excellent, while the flailing arms and legs of recent addition Cam on drums is giving the band a greater drive (and noise) than they had previously. Between songs bassist Rob was his typical self-deprecating self, and managed to push their new release on an old-school format without resorting to using the word ‘tape’. Another great set!
The Bats focussed primarily on their recent songs, with a good chunk of their new album ‘The Deep Set’ getting an airing. Within a few seconds of starting, the floor was packed with a now full-capacity crowd, and it didn’t appear to thin out at any stage. In an extended set, the band threw in a few oldies, including Smoking her Wings and North by North. Of the old songs, the absolute highlight for me though was Block of Wood, which has always sounded so much better live than recorded. But then, pretty much every song tonight was a highlight. And this really emphasised the value of the band not falling for the temptation of relying too heavily on their excellent back-catalogue; the recent songs really are high quality, and the crowd loved them all. The Bats’ live sound was brilliant, and the addition of a ‘skeleton string section’ greatly augmented this. Overall, the band really seemed to be enjoying themselves, and the crowd most certainly was. We can only hope we don’t need to wait quite so long until they visit us again. An excellent night from start to finish! - Ian Duggan
To celebrate NZ Music Month (ha!), we thought we’d take a look – from our perspective - at the state of the original music scene here in Kirikiriroa, warts n all. In a city where the teaching of 'the arts' seems to be being compromised, it's easy to get down about how art and music in Hamilton are valued. It appears to some degree that there are a huge amount of people that are interested in having original live music in their city, but way fewer who actively support it or get involved. That's not necessarily a criticism, more of an observation, and of course there are often valid reasons why this is the case. Anyway...here goes with the good, the bad and the ugly.
Let’s open with the positives. Important this, because there are some, and that hasn’t always been the case.
Are these issues Hamilton specific? Who knows.
Again while some of these may not be only issues in Hamilton, they are real issues hindering the development of our local music scene.
Dunno really! Are we any worse off than other cities? We might be. Although for a city of 150,000 people I’m not sure. I can say from experience that it’s not a great place to be in a band or a lover of independent original live music, that’s for sure. Yes, we are only 80 minutes from Auckland and the neat shows and bands that they have. But it could be so much better. The big worry is where it is all heading, where will we be in five years’ time if the lack of new bands continues to be a thing. Ah well. What can you do eh?