'O' week gig draws thousands

01:10, Feb 21 2013

Macklemore and Ryan Lewis have notched up over 114 million views on YouTube of their song Thrift Shop and last night they played in Christchurch.

And we danced, and we laughed, and had a really, really, really great time.

Performing at CBS Canterbury Arena as part of the University of Canterbury's 'O' week, it was the most fun you could have while wearing your opshop clothes.

Originally booked to play at just a 500-capacity venue - or as Seattle rapper Ben Haggerty, aka Macklemore, described it ''a barbecue'' - over 4000 Cantabrian students arrived to party at the ''big ass gymnasium'' for their first New Zealand show.

Fresh from a raft of sold out Australian shows, they found their biggest Australasian crowd yet in Christchurch and Heggarty admired the crowd right back - from the ''beautiful ladies'' to our men's hairstyles.


''It feels good to come halfway across the world and hear people singing your lyrics.''

Macklemore and Ryan Lewis, producer and video director, didn't just rattle through their hits - this was a complete visual and aural experience from start to finish.

With two massive hit singles propelling the pair - Thrift Shop and marriage-equality anthem Same Love of debut album The Heist - crowd anticipation was high and the thoughtful setlist saw these two hits arrive in the middle of the set which was a pleasant surprise.

I expected them to peak with these two at the end but instead they built the set higher and higher until rocking out for the Victory Lap and high impact encore.

Completing the on-stage lineup were singer Michael ''Wanz'' Wansley - it's his voice on the hook to Thrift Shop, exuberant trumpet player Owuor Arunga and vocalist Ray Dalton, the star of their sure-to-be-the-next-hit-single Can't Hold Us.

They also played Crew Cuts and Killers, sampling Life is Cinema which borrows a line from the Killers, before crowd surfing a fan's fur jacket to the stage.

''This is New Zealand wolverine right here'' was the cry from centre stage and the jacket was worn throughout a high energy Thrift Shop - during which I put my hand in my pocket and found $20 I didn't know I had - before being returned to its rightful owner.

Anyone outside the venue would have heard over 4000 people chanting ''crowd surf the wolverine''.

Unicorns and wizard sleeves, hammer pants and make believe, pirate ships sailing off to the sea ... Lewis' visual and DJ-ing skills were mind-blowing, the vibe was one of the best I have ever experienced at the venue and the pair rocked everything from a flag celebrating Heggarty's Irish heritage to confetti cannons.

Returning for the encore, Heggarty, in the final of his many on stage speeches said ''thank you for letting me come here to hug your women'' and then we danced.

The encore, And We Danced, with Haggerty in a mullet wig and cape, was my favourite track of the night.

Although lyrically it's a silly LMFAO-esque song with double entendres about pulling hoses - I fell in love with the live version, I even got goosebumps such was the euphoria of the moment. What, what?

Then they played Thrift Shop again - ''unheard of'' students around me said - and students were scaling walls and being dragged back by security and the crowd threw their hands in the air wildly and danced like it was their last chance.

Students' antics during 'O' week often get a bad rap and the UCSA is seeking to change this with gigs such as the one last night and good on them.

Sure, there was the occasional drunk bloke smashing bottles out the back but you get that at every gig.

To paraphrase Macklemore and Ryan Lewis - this was f...... awesome!

*Photos by Dimitri Howard

The Press