Housebus doubles as muso's stage

Swiss-born musician Andre Manella is auctioning a gig to be played in Nelson from the rooftop of his mortgage-free home - a big green bus.

The 35-year-old singer-songwriter has started a solo tour promoting his New Plymouth-based band's first album - Positive and Negative, which he describes as "funky loop pop" with acoustic guitar, vocals and effects.

He played the first gig of his tour at Dangerous Kitchen, in Takaka, and also performed at Toad Hall, in Motueka.

He heads to Picton this weekend, to play at Le Cafe, but first he wants to play for a group of Nelsonians - at their place.

He is auctioning a private gig on Trade Me, to be played this Friday, with no reserve.

"We'll rock up to somebody's house, and I'll play a gig from the rooftop. I won't need anything. I've got enough power to power the PA system. We just need somewhere fairly flat-ish to park up," he said.

The concept follows on from a series of Gig in Your Lounge concerts Mr Manella's band played in New Plymouth, also auctioned on Trade Me.

He said the concerts were "really successful", and the first one sold for $550.

"They were some of the best gigs we've ever done. People like the idea of having somebody playing at their own place," he said.

Mr Manella said he bought the bus because he wanted to tour New Zealand without leaving his family behind.

"The only way to do it is if we all go. It's great, they help me carry the gear."

The Manella family lived in New Plymouth, where Mr Manella played with his five-piece band - Sonic Delusion, before hitting the road two months ago.

They have been living in the former Ritchies Coachlines bus, No 429, for six months.

Their vibrant green home took Auckland children to school up until Mr Manella bought it for $6000 two years ago.

It has rimu floorboards, which Mr Manella made from an old fence.

Mr Manella's wife, Renee, said her husband was "a bit of a Swiss Army Knife of a man".

She said her husband loved playing music, and the Trade Me auction "wasn't about the money".

"If someone wins it [the auction], and they bring 50 friends along, it will be a good night," she said.

The Book the BusKing auction on Trade Me closes at 1pm on Friday.

Andre Manella is playing a free gig at East Street Cafe at 7.30pm tomorrow. See for more information.

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The Nelson Mail