Last week I saw Russian Circles (click here for the review). It felt like the first gig I had been to in ages - though I caught Earth reasonably recently. But, in the scheme of things, compared with the busy times, it has been quiet lately. We don't get a lot of shows across winter - and it felt like a long, cruel winter on the gigging front this year. I'm measuring this by gigs that I would attend as a reviewer. International acts - and the bigger-name locals, the established brands.
The European and American summer - aka our winter - tends to be a time for festivals overseas so New Zealand gigs all but dry up.
But Russian Circles was a great re-introduction to gig-going. It was superb. And in walking around town the day of the gig - and then later that night at the venue and outside and around and about, posters up everywhere, I realised that it's the start of a busy time. Lots of interesting gigs this month...
We pushed the clocks forward an hour this Sunday just been - spring forward - and it's on. Loads of gigs...
I thought I'd mention a few of the ones coming up in my neck of the woods (Wellington) that I am aiming to see. And then you can do the same. You can mention any that I've forgotten or don't know about - or the ones you're excited about if they happen to be different from the ones I've listed (so, there you go, a chance for fans of Mumford & Sons to not feel so picked on).
Later this week Rick Wakeman will play his solo show - click here for my interview with Wakeman. I'm really looking forward to this gig. I think he'll be a great raconteur and entertainer for the evening. And it's a chance to see a great musician tell some stories and play some of the hits he was involved with; his helping hands that caressed the keys for Cat Stevens and David Bowie and many others beyond Yes and his grandiose-concept solo albums.
Later that same night, if the timing works out (and fingers crossed), I'll get to see Darren Watson play his regular spot at the Lido. (Click here for my interview from a couple of years ago with DW). We're lucky to have him doing what he does. Lucky to have him gigging so often. He is, to my ears, a world-class player. And it's an amazing treat to sit with a glass of wine and hear anything from Robert Cray or John Hiatt or from Darren's own pen. Check out this rendition of the Willie Dixon classic, My Love Will Never Die. Darren and his Real Deal Blues Band is a great live jukebox to sit down with. Some nights the wee blues fishbowl of the Lido gets a-rockin' with people boogying around the tables. It's always a great night.
Sunday, Paul Ubana Jones returns to Downstage - this time with percussionist Tony Majdalani. That will be one to see. Regular readers will know I've interviewed Paul - twice in fact. And reviewed previous Downstage shows he's played. Again, I think he's one of our greatest musicians; we're so lucky to have him. So that will be one to see.
This week Hollie Smith, Anika Moa and Boh Runga begin their Acoustic Church tour. They'll be in Wellington on Saturday and Sunday - with at least one sold-out show. I'm curious to see this show, it could be good to hear them share some of the material, reinventing it with new arrangements, added harmonies. But, hey, it could also be a disaster. Some gigs present that risk. And sometimes it's interesting to go along to see how it plays out - you hope for the best, always, as a reviewer, but you can only comment on what you see and hear; on how it plays out on the night.
So that's just this week. A lot of choices already.
Next weekend Billy Bragg is in town - and I'm really looking forward to that. After the show I'll pop down to Rocktober 2012 at the San Fran Bath House. I'll be doing some of the DJing between and after sets as tribute rock bands play for a dress-up rock event. The money raised goes to the Wellington Division of the Cancer Society of NZ. I've been involved with previous Rocktober events - it's a good cause and always a blast; a really fun event.
Gomez are back in Wellington near the end of October, with Delaney Davidson. You know, I mostly don't care at all about Gomez these days. I'll never ever feel like listening to a Gomez record. Although I have in the past. But every time I've seen them play there are moments that feel transcendent, breathtaking. There's something about them as a live act, multiple singers (and songwriters) taking a range of material down different paths. So I'll be up for that one more time.
And I just found out that Jojo Mayer is performing a drum clinic in Wellington on Friday, October 26. This is not your stereotypical octopus-of-metal drum-clinic replete with double-kick rumbling and slashing at cymbals while flashing lights come close to causing seizures and bored girlfriends shrug and chew gum and text their hairdressing friends to relieve (and/or relive) the boredom. No, no. Check this guy out. His clinic is one that I can imagine any musician being interested in.
That same night The Eversons will take the stage - same venue, after the drum-frenzy. They're a great local band, one with a growing audience - and given their brilliant LP, perfectly titled for summer, they deserve to be discovered by more people. Catchy, clever, funny songs that are tossed off with just the right mix of arrogance and nonchalance, a feeling that you've heard the sound somewhere before as you scour your record collection and confirm they're really good at ripping off 90s slacker power-pop because they don't really sound at all like Pavement or Weezer or any of those things. But there's something in the sound and style. And it's great.
I do want to see The Bootleg Beatles too. That might turn out to be something I'll egret - but I have to admit to being curious about it.
And that's just this month.
The start of the summer gigs.
So are you going to any of these shows? And what shows in your town are you excited about seeing - or playing? That's right, be shameless: pimp your gig right here, right now. Any show you're playing - or ones your mates are playing - in October, list it in the comments below. And don't forget to talk about the gigs you're excited to be seeing this month and on toward the end of the year.
Happy summer gig-going!