Tomorrow is the official launch of Wellington's New Zealand Festival for 2014. It's always a busy time for me - out reviewing for the paper. This year I'm hoping to also review some shows for Off The Tracks too. So it'll be a case of being out every night - or second night - for the best part of three or four weeks. It never works to complain about being out of the house every night attending shows you don't pay for - so I won't. But it does become quite a deep challenge by the end of it. Much as it's often wonderful to see a great range of shows by the end of it you're pleased it's...well...the end of it.
My festival starts this Saturday night, I'll be reviewing Charles Bradley, should be interesting. I did not like his latest album at all but I really enjoyed the recent documentary. I should imagine that, like Sharon Jones, it's a great live experience. Here's hoping.
I'll also be seeing Yo La Tengo (interview with the band's bass player to come) and Neko Case. I'm looking forward to the new show from Strike and the Brel show (as per my earlier interview with Jon Toogood). And there'll be other shows to see - plenty. A busy, busy time.
But it's always a lot of fun - in and around the hard work, the late nights, the piling up of words on top of more and more words, squeezing them in and around other regular and ongoing assignments. It is, for the first couple of weeks especially, all a bit of a rush.
Are there any shows at the Arts Festival you're looking forward to seeing? Or that you wish you were going to?
February and March are the busy months in music reviewing - there are other non-festival shows too, like tonight's double bill of Uncle Acid & The Deadbeats and Eagles of Death Metal and I'm starting back at my occasional sideline of playing some records in public - or DJing as you might refer to it.
Remember, recently, I talked about doing another night of Prince songs - well that's definitely going to happen. Details to follow - but it'll probably happen in and around all of the festival shows, sometime in mid/late March.
And this Friday, tomorrow night, I'm back at Motel for the first time this year playing a bunch of records from 8pm right through until close. It'll be a mixture of rock'n'roll and country and surf music and the antecedents of punk - some R'n'B and funk and soul too quite possibly.
But the first priority - for now - will be that Arts Festival. And there's so much to get along to see.
What takes your fancy? Anyone else optimistic about Charles Bradley and looking forward to Yo La Tengo and Neko Case? Or are you off to see Madeleine Peyroux this Sunday night? The full program is here.
What's shows are you seeing across the rest of February and March? And what do you think of Wellington's International Festival line-up?
Postscript: If you're out in town tomorrow night in Wellington come on down to Motel for a drink and to hear a tune, come and say hi. And if you're wondering about the sort of music you might here you can search through the previous setlists from last year's nights at Motel; I even take requests. Kinda...
You can also check out Off the Tracks for The Vinyl Countdown, reviews and other posts