Mellowing out to the Sundial sound

23:00, Feb 22 2013

Music lovers of all ages packed Richmond's Sundial Square yesterday evening to listen to a diverse group of musicians from the Nelson region.

Nelson band Atma Collective headlined the Sundial Jam before an enthusiastic crowd of about 500.

Frontman Bruce McGregor said the group had technically played the event before, but he and bass player Aubs Pihema were the only members of the free-flowing lineup to remain since last year.

"Some of [the musicians'] visas ran out, some of them went back to their home countries," he said. "It's an organic sort of collective."

This year's lineup includes Venezuelan percussionist Hector Chirinos, Salmonella Dub singer Daniel Moon, and guitarist Robbie Gibbons.

Mr McGregor said he considered the current assortment of players "a perfect setup", saying they had a "real festival sound" going after playing at the Luminate and Karamea festivals this summer.


Their high-energy set got the crowd grooving to what Mr McGregor described as "schizophrenic" beats that could spiral off in any direction.

Nelson's Master Pilot Collective brought their hip-hop beats into the mix, with the recently reformed band Little Oceans and Garin College's up-and-coming band Oh Blok injecting a note of pop-rock into the mix. Upper Moutere DJ Mix Masta Moo Tree rounded out the evening.

Tasman District Council community recreation officer and event organiser Paul McConachie was pleased with the diversity of the audience, with parents and families attending as well as teenagers.

He said the Sundial Square concerts began as a series of lunchtime shows spread over two weeks, but evolved when he saw an opportunity to make the event more focused on young people.

"Sundial Jam provides an opportunity for young people to experience top-quality local musical acts in a safe and supervised setting," he said. "Quite often it is only at licensed establishments that you can see these bands perform."

The Nelson Mail