OPINION: Jim Beam Homegrown
Wellington Waterfront, Saturday March 2
Reviewed by Simon Sweetman
The Homegrown Kiwi music festival sprawls across Wellington's waterfront and it is now an institution, subject of both celebration and ridicule - for it has become, if it wasn't always, the equivalent for music as the rugby sevens is to sport; that is to say the event itself is a backdrop, the stars of the show - arguably/sadly - are the punters.
It's a see-and-be-seen scene and it was interesting to note that this year the idea of dress-up costumes has crept into Homegrown also. It seemed the most popular character was drunken-teen-girl-who-cannot-dance.
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There are some great bands every year, but they are the same acts - Shihad closing the rock stage by necessity following what passes for "rock" from Elemeno P, King Cannons, and I Am Giant. Shihad was, once again, in top form, stonking versions of Screwtop and You Again the mid-set peak.
Aaron Tokona deserves MVP with both AHoriBuzz and Cairo Knife Fight delivering the goods and Aaradhna offered smooth soul with a great showband vibe.
Once again it is the misleading branding that lets you know this is all just a giant party with a mandate to make money, not one single dub or roots artist appeared on the Vodafone dub and roots stage and the Lipton Ice Tea electronic stage simply sounded like someone had left a lawnmower running in shallow water for the afternoon.
Home Brew served up alleged home truths but their satire is taken seriously by the audience - chant-along songs about living on the benefit and welcoming the weekend because being young, gifted and broke are cynical to the point of being socially irresponsible. The band sounded amazing - but it's disheartening when you know the ringleader vocalist could walk away at any minute, reminding anyone and everyone that they weren't really in on the joke. Instead they were the joke.
DJ Sir-Vere played American hip-hop records and Che Fu told the crowd - of mostly teenagers - that they loved singing these songs while "wasted". You don't go to Homegrown for role models. No, you go because everyone else is going. And it is the one gig they will go to until next year's Homegrown.
It's successful, absolutely. But it is in a holding pattern, burying the true talent and relying on radio station playlisted artists. It's snide, cruel and artless. But hey, at least it's official that Midnight Youth will never play again. So, every cloud...
- The Dominion Post
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