Homegrown Rock Stage 5 March 2011 @ Wellington Waterfront
I have wanted to go to Homegrown for a long time and this year I was not going to miss it. The line up for the Rock Stage was massive with Midnight Youth opening, some of my favouriteís in-between and Blindspott headlining. I was very biased and pretty much stayed at the Rock Stage all day and what a day I had. Kiwi Rock I think is at one of its peaks with some of the talent on show here.
Midnight Youth opened up the proceedings with a solid set. I love these guys and they didnít fail to shine today. The crowd loved them as they played through songs from their debut album plus the odd new song chucked in for good measure. The crowd sang along to a jammed version of 'The Letter'. We were even treated to a Led Zeppelin cover with Whole lotta love.
Next up are one of my favourites The Earlybirds. Filip knows how to sing and I love the passion and energy that shines through these guys. They play good solid rock with a pop edge. Low featured fairly early on in their set along with 'I Killed The DJ' and their latest 'Single Truth', but Filip really shines in my favouritesí 'Kill To Love' and finished their set with the haunting 'I Canít Live Without You'. Every time I see these guys I fall in love with them again.
Black River Drive was a band I was quite keen to see and they had a very polished set. They cranked through their set with songs like Bullet for your gun and their latest single 'Fifteen Minutes' getting the crowd bouncing and singing along.
The Checks were next and these guys have the full Rock n Roll swagger thing down to a t. Ed is a great front man always trying to get the crowd going and has an awesome band to complete the package. They played a set of older tunes with the odd song from their forthcoming album thrown in so fans felt treated. They have a great British rock sound that never ages and has their own distinctive flavour. The crowd started to come in once these guys hit the stage.
I Am Giant are a band I have wanted to see for some time. I really enjoy their guitar and vocal work and they put on an energetic performance. They played a fairly short set as they still only have a few songs but the crowd loved it and lapped up every second off it. I suspect I wasnít the only one keen to see these guys because the arena started to full up. The set was over far too quick but that just wet everyoneís appetite for next time they are in the country.
It feels like itís been forever since we have seen Elemeno P rocking our shores and these guys didnít let their fans down. They sped through a set covering all their old favourites like 'Everydayís A Saturday', 'Verona', 'One Left Standing' and a few new tracks. They finished with the crowd singing along and going wild to 'Fast Times In Tahoe'.
The Feelers to me are one of the great classic Kiwi bands that will forever be a part of us and I love there shows every time I get to see them. They did not fail to deliver after a few minor technical difficultiesí they gave us an awesome set. 'Pressure Man 'featured early in the set as well as Venus and my all time favourite 'As Good As It Gets'. 'As Good As It Gets' to me is a little bit of a Kiwi Anthem and it sums up some the Kiwi spirit it was such a joy to see them play it once again.
Blindspott was the reason I was there. I love these guys so much I almost cried tears of joy when I heard they were reforming for this show with the possibility of them recording again. When Damian entered the building the smile on my face was ten foot wide. I had been a little lucky and had been talking to some of their entourage before the show and it was suggested there would be a new song played in the set and I had to fight back the emotions. Opening with 'Mind Dependency' these guys showed they were back with a vengeance and I couldnít control myself. The hair came out my head started banging and I started singing along at full volume. Quickly they played 'Suffocate' and 'Nil By Mouth' and then paused to give the crowd an update on what was going on with them and their temporary name change to Black List. It was then we got the highlight of the day in the form of a new song. The new song is awesome in true Blindspott style and the crowd lapped it up. I was through the roof myself as I couldnít have wished for anything better. 'Phlex' for Canterbury came near the end of the set where Damian asked the crowd to dig deep and give towards the earthquake recovery. The ended the set with 'Room To Breathe' with the pyrotechnic exploding and the crowd going nuts. They screamed for more and we were told we would get more soon. Itís something I canít wait to see. Blindspott showed why they are one of New Zealandís finest rock acts and left the crowd smiling having just witnessed a lot of their dreams come true.
Homegrown is all about Kiwi music and today we saw the best New Zealand has to offer and man it was good. The fact that it sold out shows how good we have it here and I know this is a day I wonít want to miss next year.