15 September 2011

My take on the Wellington Music Showcase

Last night I attended a showcase of Wellington music; part of the Going Global summit run by Independent Music NZ, the NZ Music Commission and the Music Managers' Forum to assist bands with understanding how to be successful marketing their music overseas.  You can see sets from the show here.

The showcase was the finale to a day of talks by industry representatives from the UK and USA, including BBC radio programmers and record label reps.   The format involved 6 bands playing short sets, around 25-30 minutes each, with a (supposedly) quick changeover between bands.

It was encouraging to see so many people turn out on a school night to support local music; it can only have given the foreign attendees a positive impression of the New Zealand music scene.

I really liked the idea of having a lot of bands playing in one night, but playing shorter, more focussed sets, and being able to put everything they’ve got into it.  I’d seen a couple of the bands before, so was keen to see them again, and got to see 4 bands I’d never seen, although I had heard of some of them.

The only thing that let it down was the transition between bands, which was sometimes longer than the set the band had just played.  I don’t know if it made much difference to the audience, although I did hear at least one complaint about it.

The bands all did themselves proud and put on a great show.  Iva Lakum, with her powerful soul singing; Glass Vaults with their atmospheric, moody electronica, interspersed with frenetic group drumming; Family Cactus with their folk infused rock; the Eversons playing retro feeling, saccharine pop ballads; Cairo Knife Fight channelling every rock god who ever lived as they wrestled their instruments into musical submission; and Beastwars rounding off the night with an epic display of sludge metal, and a stand in drummer to boot.

It’d be great to see more showcases like these – an early start and finish, some new names, and short sets full of energy. 

If you’ve been to anything similar I’d be keen to hear what you thought, or your experiences.  Leave a comment below.

This week I’ve been listening to:

Manic Compression by Quicksand – the underground band that should be been huge.  Post-rock, before it even existed, these guys played hard, fast, catchy rock songs, almost verging on hardcore at times, before vanishing mid-90’s with nary a trace.

Still Standing by the Goodie Mob – Cee Lo MCing?  Outkast’s Andre3000?  You know it’s got to be good.  At least it was on this record then they sort of imploded and it was never the same again.  But this album is awesome and shows Atlanta hip hop during it’s heyday.

Repeater by Fugazi – another 90’s masterpiece.  I saw Fugazi about 10 years ago and they blew me away by playing for over 2 hours, barely stopping between songs, with more energy that most bands muster on an entire tour.  This album brings that all back every time.

In The Raw by the Whitefield Brothers – this sounds like some crazy 70’s jazz porn soundtrack, but is only a decade old.  It’s funkified jazz and makes me smile whenever I hear it. 

General Patton vs. Executioners – Mike Patton is a bit hit and miss.  Faith No More and Mr Bungle are two of my favourite bands.  Every second Fantomas album is good.  And his weird voice albums I can do without.  But here he teams up with the Executioners for a hip hop album and it works.  Mostly.  Great hooks, big beats, Patton rapping… it’s supposed to be fun and it is, but at times it’s a little too much “old man” trying to be hip hop.  

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