It's been a bit quiet on the gigging front, usually the case in these cold months. Quite why we expect anyone to leave the comfort of their home - and/or the security of the European/American festival circuit/s during this time of the year - and venture down here to a dearth of venues (Wellington), lazy, reluctant ticket-buyers and people who swan in late, buy too many drinks and talk through shows is, well, quite beyond me really.
And then - some good news.
Kristin Hersh is returning to New Zealand. And soon. Ms Hersh will be playing Auckland and Wellington shows at the end of August. In between those dates she's appearing at Christchurch's Writers Festival, Word Christchurch as part of an author event.
This'll be my fourth time seeing Hersh perform - the second time I've seen her as a solo act (And I've seen her twice, leading Throwing Muses). That first Throwing Muses concert - they were touring their album, University and cannily played the university Orientation circuit - was a revelation. Sam Hunt had been performing earlier in the week. He finished his show by recommending people see Throwing Muses, he reckoned they "had the best lyrics". That was a good tip. I chatted with Hunt after his show. I was an eager first year student, these were my first (and almost last) days on campus. Certainly I never made it up the hill for more days in a row than I did during that first Orientation.
Copies of the Muses albums were devoured that week and then the show. I was in the front row, so close that when we scrounged for picks and setlists and whatever we could have as a keepsake we were handed Hersh's leftover drinks.
I've been a fan for 20 years now. I've never heard a Hersh album - solo, Muses, or with 50 Foot Wave - that I haven't liked. Sure, some are better than others but the most recent Throwing Muses album is a wonderful collection of songs.
You see Kristin Hersh solo and you'll get to hear some of the Muses songs as well as the material from her solo albums. It's all one big pot of songs. The three performances I've seen so far have all been different, vastly different setlists - seeing Muses in 1995 and then again in 2009 and in between times seeing Kristin Hersh solo. Just her and her guitar, that snake-weave as her head bobs, the ideas closing, the song taking her over.
So, yeah. Good news. Very good news.
I mean it was great news about Nick Cave but a) that's not until December. And b) tickets were snapped up straight away - good to hear though. We're usually a bit too casual. Then we complain that no one bothers to come all this way, that we don't get enough shows.
So we've got a bit more of the long, cold winter to go - any gigs you're looking forward to? What's the next show you're excited about? And are you a Kristin Hersh/Throwing Muses fan? Will you be heading along to see her in Auckland, Christchurch or Wellington? Do you have a preference - Throwing Muses or Hersh solo? And do you have favourite Hersh albums or songs?
If you've never seen her I'd thoroughly recommend checking out the show. She's one of my all-time favourite songwriters. And as a performer she's hypnotic, entrancing. But, if you've seen her before I'm sure you know that already, you'll be along again for a second, third or fourth dose too. Right?
See here for the Kristin Hersh NZ tour dates and here's Kristin Hersh's website.
You can also check out Off the Tracks for The Vinyl Countdown, reviews and other posts