Homegrown sounds off

More than 14,500 attended Saturday's second annual Vodafone Homegrown concert in Wellington, packing five stages.
More than 14,500 attended Saturday's second annual Vodafone Homegrown concert in Wellington, packing five stages.

Wellington's waterfront became centre-stage for thousands of music lovers as the sound of Kiwiana filled the city, for Saturday's second Vodafone Homegrown concert.

It was a party whichever stage you chose to spend the final hour of this day-long celebration of New Zealand bands and DJs.

Concord Dawn closed the "Atmospheric Stage" with a barrage of beats, Shapeshifter's smooth-building drum and bass sealed off the dub and roots stage, the rock stage was headlined by Supergroove's unique brand of pop-funk and Kiwi-accented rap.

BAD DESIRE: Head Like A Hole singer Nigel Beazley blasts the crowd at Vodafone Homegrown.
JAY BROOKER
BAD DESIRE: Head Like A Hole singer Nigel Beazley blasts the crowd at Vodafone Homegrown.

And, closing the indie stage was the reformed Head Like a Hole nearly 10 years after the band called it quits.

Led by Booga Beazley's rock-star antics, they pumped out a full-on set of sleazy, sludgy rock and metal with the iconic cover of Bruce Springsteen's I'm on Fire following their original "hits" Faster Hooves, Comfortably Shagged, A Crying Shame and Fish Across Face.

It was nice to have the Wellington rockers introduced to a younger generation even though it seemed to be mostly the older Homegrown fans watching Booga and the boys.

Earlier, Shayne Carter's Dimmer worked through songs from the group's diverse set of albums, Carter wringing his guitar for all it was worth.

The huge live sound of Kora was a winner for the dub and roots crowd while Opshop and Evermore played accessible pop-rock, a bit bland and uninspired for me but the bands seemed to be mostly preaching to the converted.

Another reunion for the day was Blindspott. I'm not sure that such reunions should be celebrated - generic nu-metal was never anything to rave about and hearing the group again just brought back bad memories.

Part of the problem with Homegrown is that for all the good intentions of wanting to celebrate New Zealand music it also highlights some of the weaknesses, particularly the fact that several of our bands, including very popular acts (The Black Seeds) are not good at writing songs.

And if someone could explain to me what is so "homegrown" about a DJ playing some house and trance records - featuring international artists - that would be appreciated.

I don't know why the concert had to end with four of the best acts effectively competing with each other for audiences.

That, again, seems one of the ironies in trying to lump different genres together under one Kiwi umbrella.

* What did you think of Homegrown? Post your comments below.

The Dominion Post