Blog

Little Simz


Even rapping in the heart of the mosh packed amongst her hot, sweaty fans Little Simz didn't miss a single beat. The ferocity and technicality of her rhymes are incredibly impressive in a live setting, she just does not stop.

This was just such a feel-good gig. Yea, the tunes were a hoot, and her band was excellent, but it was her stage presence that really did it for me. Beaming from ear to ear for the entire show, she just brought such a life-affirming vibe to the crowd. It's underrated when artists smile when performing; I feel it noticeably raises the energy of the show and the people who come out to see. Plus, it's just great to see an artist showing genuine love for their craft as well as the people who come out to see it.

Little Simz's album GREY Area is pretty stellar, if you haven't checked it out then get on it man what are you doing? Also, if you get the chance to catch her live I cannot recommend it highly enough.

-Buster Darragh Major

Photos by Madeleine Brighouse-Mayo

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The Streets


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The Streets just has such a great bunch of songs man. This debut, Original Pirate Material is an all-time favourite of mine, and seeing the songs played live was really a treat worth sharing with the middle-aged British ex-pats who packed out Auckland Town Hall on Monday night. Mike Skinner is the mastermind of the project which has lain dormant for the better part of a decade. From the early 00’s he has crafted a fairly unique sound in the UK Hip Hop scene. Rapping technicality or flow has never been Mike’s focus, but with a lot of emphasis on poetry and storytelling, he’s certainly an artist whose lyrics are worth digging into.

There’s also something distinctly grimy about Mike’s sound, the certain dirty UK kind. From anthems like Blinded By the Lights and Weak Become Heroes whose production illicit feelings of peaking at a rave somewhere in Birmingham, or loutish, tongue-and-cheek bangers like Don’t Mug Yourself and Too Much Brandy portray ill-behaved nights out with the lads, Mike brought something uniquely British to Auckland.
He was accompanied by a full backing band, which meant a very different sound from the studio versions of his songs. A personal highlight for me was Has It Come To This? (his best song imho). Overall, great git, great tunes, great guy!

-Buster Darragh Major

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Skegss!


I was really pleasantly surprised by Skegss and the show they put on. Going in I didn’t expect the show to be as relentlessly fun as it was. From songs about beer, surfing and literally nothing, I admired the way the band didn’t take themselves really that seriously. No one ever said Skegss makes the most original music but with their laidback attitude and crackup personalities, who cares? Sometimes you just need a gig with fast, noisy garage rock and a mosh of mostly underage kids to share it with.

The highlight of the show for me what when Tony, guitar and bass extraordinaire had a bottle thrown at his head then jumped into the crowd to have a scrap with the dudes who threw it. Yea, it probably wasn’t very professional, and he apologised afterwards saying he got a rush of blood to the head, but I thought it was pretty sick. If you haven’t seen Skegss live, I’d highly recommend. Just a lot of fun!

Same Name Confusion opened for Skegss with a set that was pretty nuts as well. These dudes are from Wellington and have an EP out ‘In Theory’, check it out its pretty dope. They have such a great stage presence, and I know for sure almost everyone in the crowd became fresh fans that night. Such a sweet find on such a mint night.

- Buster Darragh Major

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FOALS


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My mate suggested Foals to me when we were in year 13, which would have been around the release of their fourth album ‘What Went Down’ way back in 2015. He said he’d make me an irresistible playlist that would have me hooked from the moment I listened, a new favourite band he promised me. I was keen, of course. As a little suburban white kid why would I not want to expand my indie/art/math/alternative/post rock listening sphere? Well, the playlist never came, my mate went to live in Wellington and I never ended up listening to Foals, a trend which continued until, well, this last Friday night. It’s not unusual for me to go to a gig completely blind on an artist, but there was something about going into Foals which felt a little different. It’s clear they have an extremely dedicated fanbase, half of the crowd seemed to know 90%+ of the lyrics (something I can’t say I know about my favourite artists), which was made even more impressive considering the 1 hour 40 minute setlist. This show was for the fans, not bandwagoners like me. Yet despite being a Foals noob, I still had a really good time. It’s certainly not music that’s difficult to get into upon first listen, and it helped that that most of their tunes are danceable as heck. And the musicianship, damn, Foals are a tight band. Often seamlessly transitioning from one song to another, it sometimes felt like a single polished jam session. The single song I knew beforehand, about not having someone’s number (turns out it’s understandably called My Number) was a highlight for me, although there were plenty of other tunes I didn’t recognize that made the night special. The town hall is absolutely perfect for gigs like this. The reverb gifted by the great hall wrapped the sound in a warm blanket which really enhanced the sound of the band’s more atmospheric tracks. Aesthetically, there’s something pretty cool about watching a high-energy alt. rock band dressed in short sleeve Hawaiian shirts with fake ferns as stage decoration play in a 100-year-old baroque-style concert chamber. But hey, when is the town hall not subject to a clash of worlds like this these days?

The crowd was as sweaty and danced out as they could have been when the show finished. As I waited for my posse at the entrance, I happened to spy the face of my mate who’d failed to make me that playlist all those years ago. Funnily enough, that was the first thing he yelled out as an apology when he saw me. He was as sweaty and red faced as anyone else, and he was absolutely frothing the gig. Who knows how big a Foals fan I could have been by now if I’d had that proper earlier exposure? Ah, well, better start some time I guess.

- Buster Darragh Major

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I always enjoy starting the night off, dancing my heart out! And Daffodils are brilliant at getting a crow to do just that. When I found out that my mates were opening for FOALS, I got so excited for them! Playing a sold-out show at Auckland's Town Hall and opening for an international band, is no easy feat, but Daffodils deserved every minute of it.

- Madeleine Brighouse-Mayo (Images included)

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