13 May 2021
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Articles By Kev Rowland

Barnaby Weir - Gig Review: Laughton Kora and Barnaby Weir @ Auckland Museum, Auckland - 10/05/2021
12 May 2021 // review by Kev Rowland
Up until tonight, I am sure the most unusual venue I attended for a gig was the Canadian Embassy in London, when they put on a media showcase for a Canadian rock act. I remember then looking at the walls and candelabra, trying not to spill my wine on the posh carpet, wondering what I was doing there.
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Beastwars - Gig Review: Beastwars with Earth Tongue and Demons of Noon @ Powerstation, Auckland - 08/05/2021
09 May 2021 // review by Kev Rowland
I was a little concerned when I made my way to the Powerstation just 15 minutes before the doors were due to open, as there was no-one else there! A quick check of the billboard confirmed I was in the right place on the right date, but possibly this was somewhat indicative of the poor weather combined with so many great gigs on tonight.
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Emily Rice - EP Review: Auhua
06 May 2021 // review by Kev Rowland
Over the last few months Emily Rice has been building up to the release of this EP, and of the six songs included on Auaha (which means to shape, create, form, fashion), four have already been released as singles, and I have reviewed three of them myself, so the EP feels already very much like an old friend, but for anyone yet to come across Emily and her work then this is a wonderful place to start. I first came across Emily and her husband in the wonderful folk duo Aro, but here her music is far more dance oriented as she brings in lots of different styles such as soft jazz, RnB, dub, and even a little touch of folk, but always with her wonderful vocals front and centre.
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Living State - Single Review: One Sided
04 May 2021 // review by Kev Rowland
Whenever I hear anyone bemoaning the state of music on the radio, I tell them to get out to places like Ding Dong and actually live and breathe what is really going on in the scene, not what some people just want to tell you. Last Saturday I was there at yet another gig, and while I was having a chat with one of the musicians a guy came up and joined in.
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Stealphish - Single Review: Auri
04 May 2021 // review by Kev Rowland
Here we have the latest single from Cafe Fistfight guitarist Josh Barker in his alter ego as Stealphish. The only other person involved on this recording is his wife Nicole who provides piano for the first 35 seconds of the nearly 7-minute-long song.
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Dan Sharp - EP Review: Water Went Away
03 May 2021 // review by Kev Rowland
Proud Coromandel boy Dan Sharp is back with his latest EP, Water Went Away, and I can only concur with Corinne’s review of his last EP, Slack Tide, in that we really need an album! This collection of five songs loosely follows through the various stages of a breakup and the significant life changes that happen as part of that such as moving to a new house, moving town, being unable to access certain things, wondering what was going to happen next etc.
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Pencarrow - Gig Review: Pencarrow @ Dead Witch, Auckland - 01/05/2021
02 May 2021 // review by Kev Rowland
I have lost count of how many times I have been to Ding Dong in the last year, I think it is somewhere between “lots” and “loads”, so consequently it is starting to feel very much like a place where every barman knows my name (and what I drink). I have been looking forward to catching Pencarrow since I came across their debut album Growth In The Absence of Light which was released last year.
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Big Tasty - Gig Review: BOTB Winners Tour with Big Tasty & guests @ Anthology Lounge, Auckland - 30/04/2021
01 May 2021 // review by Kev Rowland
Back off to the Anthology Lounge for a 4-band bill, which I was really looking forward to. It was going to be the first time I had seen Cafe Fistfight in a while, I had heard good things about The Minnehahas (and I know drummer Neo from White Noise Mafia), I had reviewed the album by The RVMES while this was the last night of the tour for BOTB winners Big Tasty so it was all set for a great session.
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JoshDannMusic - Single Review: Just For A Moment
29 Apr 2021 // review by Kev Rowland
Josh Dann is a Hamilton-based multi-instrumentalist whose musical journey started at the age of eleven when he was inspired to pick up an instrument when he heard someone playing a clarinet. Since then, he has also taken up other instruments such as saxophone, piano and bass, and his latest single finds him playing all instruments apart from drums, which are provided by Luke Rodgers.
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Age of Destitute - Single Review: Voiceless
26 Apr 2021 // review by Kev Rowland
Age of Destitute are a new band formed by Rezwan Ashraf (vocals, lead guitar) and Sammy Iqbal (rhythm guitar, bass). The duo are both originally from Bangladesh, and only met by chance here in New Zealand, and were soon jamming and trying out different ideas.
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Plague of the Fallen - EP Review: Bleeding and Vehement
25 Apr 2021 // review by Kev Rowland
It has been a long road for Plague of the Fallen who released their debut EP Unleash the Vermin some 10 years ago, but the intervening years have seen line-up changes and even a hiatus, but now they are back with a six-track 15-minute-long EP, Bleeding and Vehement. This is brutal death metal, making for a wonderful attack on the senses.
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Grumblewood - Album Review: Stories of Strangers
25 Apr 2021 // review by Kev Rowland
A friend of mine in Cyprus put me onto this Wellington quartet who are signed to an English label, so I checked in with a Norwegian prog reviewer I work with to see if he had heard of them, and when he responded in the negative, I did not feel quite so bad. But I must confess to taking it personally if there is a progressive rock band in this part of the world of which I am unaware, given that I have spent more than 30 years singing the praises of the genre and bands within it.
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The RVMES - Album Review: Lifetime
14 Apr 2021 // review by Kev Rowland
The RVMES (pronounced “rooms”) are back with a ten-track release entitled Lifetime, following from their 9-track self-titled EP in 2019, plus numerous singles. Here we have a band who are determined not to sit within any particular genre, and while much of what they perform could fall under the banners of indie, alternative, pop and/or psychedelic, they bring much more than that into the mix.
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FYVEYES - Album Review: Elephant Room
12 Apr 2021 // review by Kev Rowland
FYVEYES, a young Hawkes Bay trio were formed by Harry Champion (guitar, lead vocals) with Harry Young (bass) and Harper Champion (drums) to play some gigs which had already been booked by Harry C prior to his previous band breaking up. The Champion brothers had already been in a band together called Elephant Room and loved the idea of picking out an elephant in the room when you are in a room full of elephants, so this time around they used it as an album title.
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Written By Wolves - Gig Review: Written By Wolves @ Dead Witch, Auckland - 09/04/2021
11 Apr 2021 // review by Kev Rowland
Tonight was going to be a few firsts for me, including that this was going to be my first time at Ding Dong for a sell-out gig, as well as the first time I had seen Written By Wolves in concert. For the latter, I had been told I was a WBW virgin, while a certain photographer commented he must be a WBW slut!
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Elidi - Single Review: Witches Brew
06 Apr 2021 // review by Kev Rowland
Christchurch quintet Elidi are back with their latest single, released just in time for their South Island gigs with Pull Down the Sun in April, before they head out on a NZ-wide tour with Stonehurst in a few months’ time. They describe themselves as progressive, but before you start thinking these guys are Genesis or Pink Floyd clones, understand they are talking progressive in its truest sense, which is blending together different styles and types of music into something which refuses to sit sedately within any particular sub-genre and instead goes wherever it leads, being taken on a journey in the same way as the listener.
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Album Review: The New Blue - Pixie Williams Reimagined
06 Apr 2021 // review by Kev Rowland
Before starting on the music on this tribute album, we first need to understand who Pixie Williams was and the impact she had on NZ music. Pixie was the first wahine Maori vocalist to reach number one on the New Zealand singles chart, with the song Blue Smoke in 1949.
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Sol3 Mio - Gig Review: Sol3 Mio @ Spark Arena, Auckland - 30/03/2021
02 Apr 2021 // review by Kev Rowland
Tonight was always going to be interesting, as this was the first time myself and my eldest daughter had been to a concert together for more than 16 years. The last time was for Bowling For Soup, and one of her achievements that night was reducing the average age of the audience, something she did again this evening.
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Bridge Burner - Album Review: Disempath
30 Mar 2021 // review by Kev Rowland
Following on from 2018’s Null Apostle, Auckland’s Bridge Burner are back with their second album, Disempath. Featuring guitarist Josh Hughes (Vassafor, Graves), vocalist Ben Read (ex-Ulcerate, In Dread Response), bassist Gary Brown, drummer Louis Malloy (ex-Anabyss) and guitarist Maxwell Gravelle (ex-Hexis, Setentis), here we have a group who are determined to push their music and their listeners to the very limits.
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Blindfolded and Led to the Woods - Album Review: Nightmare Withdrawals
25 Mar 2021 // review by Kev Rowland
I first came across Christchurch-based band Blindfolded and Led to the Woods some four years back when they released their second album, Modern Adoxography. It had a huge impact on me, and I described it as having a musical foundation built upon brutal death metal, elements of demented grindcore and bizarre sci-fi tones weaving their way into the complex structures, resulting in an engaging and damaging listening experience.
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The Wake Up - Single Review: House of Cards
23 Mar 2021 // review by Kev Rowland
Back in October I reviewed Palmerston North outfit The Wake Up's latest single, Worthy, which introduced new bassist Nathan Charles, and now here they are back with the seventh single of their career, and this time around they have a new guitarist in Trent Fairhurst. It sounds as if he has made an immediate impact as this is much heavier than their last one, and drummer Caleb Hickmott says, “it is the demon love child of Devilskin, Billie Eilish and Motley Crue”.
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Gig Review: Capital Theatre, Cherry Blind & White Noise Mafia @ The Tuning Fork, Auckland - 20/03/2021
22 Mar 2021 // review by Kev Rowland
On Saturday night it was back to The Tuning Fork, at an ungodly hour as this was an All Ages show. It was only from looking at White Noise Mafia’s Facebook page in the afternoon that I realised they were going to be onstage at 7:15pm, so if I had not seen that I would have missed their complete set!
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In The Shallows - Gig Review: In The Shallows @ Earth Beat Festival, Kaipara - 18/03/2021
20 Mar 2021 // review by Kev Rowland
I have been trying to catch up with In The Shallows for ages, but even though they have been touring nationally, I have somehow managed to always be in another part of the country so kept missing them. We were going to meet up at Spirit Festival a few weeks back, but thanks to COVID that was postponed, and then I heard they would be playing at another Auckland festival, so I contacted Danni and we agreed Earth Beat was going to be the one.
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Soul Circle - Single Review: Y.O.U.
19 Mar 2021 // review by Kev Rowland
Soul Circle describe themselves as a group of musicians dedicated to making music that touches the soul, and at least in this instance include Rhonda Hofmans (vocals), Chris Fish (guitars, keyboards, noises) and MPhatic (bass). The cover credits this release as featuring Moofish and Mphatic, so I really not much the wiser as to who Soul Circle actually are.
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The Saddleblasters - Single Review: Aupouri Ange
16 Mar 2021 // review by Kev Rowland
There cannot be many acts who can say they kept The Beatles off the number one slot in their heyday, but when John Grenell aka John Hore released Encore back in 1965, he did just that, outselling Help! and going into the charts straight at number one.
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Max Merritt & The Meteors - Album Review: i can dream
16 Mar 2021 // review by Kev Rowland
There is no doubt that Max Merritt is a Kiwi icon, seen as one of the region’s most important musicians to come out of the Fifties, with his impact on soul, rock and R'n'B meaning he was inducted into both the ARIA Hall of Fame and the New Zealand Music Hall of Fame. Sadly, he was diagnosed with a rare auto immune disease in 2007, and died in Los Angeles, California, on 24th September 2020, at the age of 79.
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Emily Rice - Single Review: Arise
09 Mar 2021 // review by Kev Rowland
Arise is the second single from Emily’s upcoming EP, Auaha. During the first lockdown, Emily set herself a challenge of being creative everyday in April, and at the end of the month she had 26 songs, of which Arise is one of her favourites.
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Ezra Phoenix - Album Review: Ezra Phoenix
09 Mar 2021 // review by Kev Rowland
Ezra Phoenix is the alter-ego of Solomon Esera, who began songwriting some ten years ago when he attended Excel School of Performing Arts in Auckland. Some of the seven songs on this his debut album stretch back nearly as far, all inspired by what has been happening in his life, telling the story as he connects with listeners to have a real conversation.
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Evan Rhys - EP Review: Flickering Stars
08 Mar 2021 // review by Kev Rowland
Evan Rhys first came to public attention when he was front man for Somersault, and after working on other people’s material and also with Maori Television, he is now back with an EP of four of his own songs. Recorded with Sam Johnson at Rhythm Ace Studios with drummer Ben Payne and bassist Nate Betteridge, this is a release where the music is brutally honest, and the singer wears his heart on his sleeve.
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Aro - Single Review: Baby Beat
08 Mar 2021 // review by Kev Rowland
Any parent will say that the feeling of hearing their baby’s heartbeat for the very first time is an overwhelming experience, but there cannot be many who turn that sound into the basis for a song. Less than three weeks after their appearances at Auckland Folk Festival, Charles and Emily Looker celebrated the birth of Olive Koanui Terangioteata Looker, who took the words of the chorus, "kaua e aukumea" (don't take too long) to heart and appeared three weeks before due date.
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Elmo Strauss - Album Review: Light and Dark
02 Mar 2021 // review by Kev Rowland
Elmo Strauss began his musical career on Waiheke Island with the B Squared Blues Band which he formed with Louie Bo Charles IV. Eventually they morphed into Vessel, making the Battle of the Bands final in 2012.
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Polaroids of Polarbears - EP Review: This Is What I Heard
02 Mar 2021 // review by Kev Rowland
This 22-minute-long 5-track EP is the latest release from Daniel Brown, proudly recorded in his shed, in Feilding with Daniel providing guitars, drums and vocals. For those who have previously not come across Polaroids of Polarbears, this is lo-fi which combines shoegaze, post punk, Simple Minds and ambient styles in a way that is naively engaging.
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Primacy - Gig Review: Primacy @ Ding Dong Lounge, Auckland - 27/02/2021
28 Feb 2021 // review by Kev Rowland
Saturday at the Ding Dong is always guaranteed to be a good night, and tonight was to be no exception with Primacy finally launching their album Seeds of Change. I say “finally” as previous gigs had been cancelled due to lockdown, and in fact this was going to be their first gig since 2019!
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Cafe Fistfight - Single Review: Pocket Change
16 Feb 2021 // review by Kev Rowland
Cafe Fistfight describe themselves as New Zealand's premiere Acoustic-driven Progressive Rock band, with their music fitting in somewhere between John Mayer/Six60 and Incubus/Tool. To be honest, that is probably as good a description as any, but before someone expects to see the latest Yes, Genesis or Pink Floyd clone, be aware that when they describe themselves as progressive, they mean it in the true sense of the word, in that they are blending and mixing  genres and pushing the music in unusual directions.
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Channeled - EP Review: Interpretation
05 Feb 2021 // review by Kev Rowland
2020 was a breakthrough year for Channeled. Instead of just being a studio project, multi-instrumentalist Ben Ruegg was convinced to turn it into a full operational live band which quickly gelled into an incredibly tight unit which grew with experience and confidence each time they gigged.
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David Sutton - Album Review: Planet B
04 Feb 2021 // review by Kev Rowland
This is the ninth album from David, and while he wrote all the songs, he was assisted in the performances by his son Joseph, and between them we get plenty of keyboards, electronic drums, acoustic, bass, Stratocaster, harmonica and vocals. The result is something that does not really sound like a multi-instrumentalist performance, but rather a band, and even before putting it on I had to smile as while the CD booklet itself is low key, I cannot remember before seeing a track listing for Side A and Side B for a CD, plus the album is less than 45 minutes long so it really is harkening back to the 70’s.
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Dragon - Gig Review: Dragon @ The Tuning Fork, Auckland - 3/02/21
04 Feb 2021 // review by Kev Rowland
When The Biggest Pub Gig In The World took place at the end of last year, I truly felt there was a band missing from the bill who would have made the line-up complete, Dragon. Not only are they an  iconic New Zealand band, with countless hit singles and songs to their name, but they have been a solid gigging unit since their rebirth around bassist Todd Hunter in 2006.
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Festival Review: Auckland Folk Festival 2021 - 31/01/2021
02 Feb 2021 // review by Kev Rowland
The final day of the Auckland Folk Festival 2021 started up, and I headed over in time to catch Being. at Midday.
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Festival Review: Auckland Folk Festival 2021 - 30/01/2021
01 Feb 2021 // review by Kev Rowland
The last folk festival I went to prior to this one was when I flew to the other side of the world, attending Fairport Convention’s 50th Anniversary Cropredy Festival in 2017, but for some reason I had never been just down the road to Kumeu to attend the Auckland Folk Festival, which has been running for a great many years. However, based on this weekend’s experience, I know I will be back.
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WHITE NØISE MAFIA - Gig Review: White Noise Mafia @ The Thirsty, Auckland - 28/01/2021
29 Jan 2021 // review by Kev Rowland
So, it was back to The Thirsty, who are starting to put on more metal gigs, and if they are all like this one then I am sure they are going to be deemed to be a raging success. Tonight, it was a three-band bill and a sensible finishing time, which made something of a pleasant change, especially as many of us would be working on the Friday.
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The First Child - Gig Review: The First Child @ The Ding Dong Lounge, Auckland - 22/01/2021
24 Jan 2021 // review by Kev Rowland
When I sent Mariner the review of their gig the previous week, singer Adam told me they were playing Ding Dong again on the Friday, so I thought to myself why not? So, for the second consecutive Friday I made my way into central Auckland to everyone’s favourite rock dive.
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Achilles Complex - Single Review: Vice
22 Jan 2021 // review by Kev Rowland
Achilles Complex started life in Hamilton as a 3-piece power trio in 2019, releasing their debut single Shut It in September of that year, and are now back with their new song Vice having transformed themselves into a quartet of Harley Flynn (guitar, vocals), Jordan Carpenter (bass), Zak Cole (drums) and Reece Gielen (guitar, vocals). They describe themselves as a progressive rock band with roots in rock, funk, indie and metal while also exploring ambient textures such as synthwave, trap, pop and more.
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Cafe Fistfight - Gig Review: Cafe Fistfight @ The Ding Dong Lounge, Auckland - 15/01/2021
16 Jan 2021 // review by Kev Rowland
After going back home to Canterbury for Christmas, it was back up to Auckland last weekend and looking forward to my first gig of the year. When I realised that Cafe Fistfight had organised a 4-band bill at the Ding Dong Lounge on the Friday then of course that was the only place to be.
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Colette Rivers - Album Review: Memory Lake
12 Jan 2021 // review by Kev Rowland
Colette Rivers is an American-born, New-Zealand raised, self-proclaimed 'Kiwi', with a deep connection to the earth and sea and has named her album after "the bonny, bonny banks of Lake Taupo" where she moved when she was just 11 years old. Her roots are in folk and singer-songwriter, yet while the acoustic guitar is always very important to the sound, she is not averse to bringing in other electric instruments to create soundscapes which mean the songs are very different to each other.
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Grant Haua - Album Review: Awa Blues
12 Jan 2021 // review by Kev Rowland
2020 saw me write more than 650 reviews of all manner of music, but the one song which for me really stood head and shoulders above the rest was This is the Place - Tenei Te Ao. It has a raw simplicity and passion which is hard to describe, yet is incredibly effective and grabs me each and every time I play it, and I still enjoy listening to it now as much as I did the very first time.
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Voodoo Bloo - Album Review: Jacobus
14 Dec 2020 // review by Kev Rowland
Voodoo Bloo is the new project from ex-Lucifer Gunne frontman Rory McDonald who has decided to take his music in a new direction, and consequently has created a new entity, where for this album he recorded it all himself. Mind you, he hasn’t totally left his old band behind, as the opening song on the album was also the opening number on the last Lucifer Gunne EP, One Day You'll Be The Best Thing That's Ever Happened To Someone, but here Pigs On Antibiotics (Exploding Song) is far more dramatic with the song being way more edgy.
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Solo Ono - EP Review: Now We Know Who to Blame
14 Dec 2020 // review by Kev Rowland
Wellington’s Solo Ono are currently operating as a trio, with guitarist/singer Frank Eggleton (Tidal Rave, Echo Beach, Kittentank) and drummer Jordan Stewart (Pleasant Surprise) now joined by bassist Birgit Bachler. It has been two years since their last EP Rogue Planet, which was released as a duo, and these three songs were all partially written that same year, being completed during the 2020 NZ lockdown.
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Gig Review: The Biggest Pub Gig In The World @ Spark Arena, Auckland - 11/12/2020
13 Dec 2020 // review by Kev Rowland
On Friday evening Spark Arena took us all back in time, to a period when many of the punters there that night were going out and having a blast. When I picked up my tickets, I was a little surprised to see they were General Admission, and then as we made our way inside, we had our wrists stamped (with a little guitar).
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Learning To Dive - Single Review: Falling Leaves
10 Dec 2020 // review by Kev Rowland
This is the second single released by Learning To Dive, the alter ego for musician, producer, vocalist and composer Bravo Bonez. By creating a new persona he is able to create music in a different style to what might be expected from him if he had released it in his normal style, allowing him a great deal of artistic freedom.
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Alien Weaponry - Gig Review: Alien Weaponry @ The Powerstation, Auckland - 5/12/2020
07 Dec 2020 // review by Kev Rowland
Saturday evening saw me head towards The Powerstation for the first time in years, and I must confess to really looking forward to the gig as although I interviewed the boys from Waipu a few years ago, this was the first time I was seeing them in concert. I bumped into Matt Holden from White Nøise Mafia outside the venue, perhaps unsurprisingly given he is acting as guitar tech on this tour and was soon chatting with Henry de Jong who really is still very down to earth, even though he has achieved more in his mere 20 years than many metalheads can even comprehend.
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The Finalists - Album Review: First
03 Dec 2020 // review by Kev Rowland
The Finalists may be currently based in Sydney, but ¾ of the guys are actually from prominent Auckland bands with guitarist Robert Young (Semi Lemon Kola), bassist Chris Familton (Fontanelle, Thorazine Shuffle) and drummer Matt Brown (Shaft, {SLK)) joining forces with singer/guitarist and songwriter Mark Tobin (Scarlet, Panic Syndrome, The Black Halo). The coming together of these musicians has resulted in jangly guitar-based indie rock, with elements of psychedelia, power pop, shoegaze and post-punk.
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Max Earnshaw - Single Review: Love It When You Hate Me
03 Dec 2020 // review by Kev Rowland
Love It When You Hate Me is the latest single from young Auckland singer Max Earnshaw, who has already received from recognition and radio airplay for his last release, Lonely Love. What we have this time around is a pop/rock number which is incredibly infectious and annoyingly catchy.
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Cafe Fistfight - Single Review: King Hit Quiche
03 Dec 2020 // review by Kev Rowland
For anyone who has yet to catch these guys in concert, they are probably best summed up by how they describe their debut single, "An oven baked heavy hitter packed full of protein and sprinkled with cheese." Here we have a band who refuse to take themselves or their music too seriously, yet are producing incredibly complex arrangements, and are a stunning live act.
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Stealphish - Single Review: Procidens
28 Nov 2020 // review by Kev Rowland
I was chatting with the guys from Cafe Fistfight before their recent gig at Ding Dong, when guitarist Josh Barker asked if I would be interested in his brand-new solo release, and I was definitely intrigued. Apart from classical pianist Caitlyn Abbot, and some assistance from Dan Barker who assisted in programming the hi hat rolls at the start and some of the fills, everything on this instrumental release is by Josh.
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Cafe Fistfight - Gig Review: Cafe Fistfight @ The Ding Dong Lounge, Auckland - 27/11/2020
28 Nov 2020 // review by Kev Rowland
Today was set to be the launch party for the second album by Channeled, I Heard Penelope Sing, but unfortunately singer and songwriter Ben Ruegg was rushed into hospital on Tuesday, only being allowed home on the Friday itself. The thoughts of everyone at Muzic.
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The Solomon Cole Band - Single Review: Lucifer's Rising
26 Nov 2020 // review by Kev Rowland
The Solomon Cole Band comprise Solomon (vocals, guitar), Fonnie Jo Davies (vocals), Lee Catlin (bass) and Loujean (LJ) Philander (drums), and one has to ask the question as to when did Waiheke Island become part of the Deep South and go back in time? Their latest release, Lucifer’s Rising, is taken from their second album, A Little South Of Heaven, and takes us almost 100 years into the past and geographically into the Southern states of America.
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Samuel Philip Cooper - Album Review: Breaking The Silence
26 Nov 2020 // review by Kev Rowland
Young Wellington-based pianist Samuel Philip Cooper is now releasing his debut album, which contains both of his earlier singles, Broken Heart Recovery and Hope In Your Heart. One of the problems I had with Samuel’s work is that it was too short, but hearing the 18 songs on this album (47 minutes long) it makes far more sense as here the different songs become part of one much larger work.
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Album Review: It's Already Tomorrow
25 Nov 2020 // review by Kev Rowland
This compilation is the brainchild of leading New Zealand composer, John Psathas, and past-student guitarist, electronic musician and composer, Jack Hooker. With everyone in bubbles around the world, the idea was to create a collaborative environment for New Zealand artists, where John and Jack created nuggets for others to amend and use as a base for their own musical adventures.
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Channeled - Album Review: I Heard Penelope Sing
25 Nov 2020 // review by Kev Rowland
I was at a gig the other night and bumped into Channeled's main man Ben Ruegg, and of course we soon started up a conversation. I introduced him to some other friends of mine and tried to think how long I had actually known him, and Ben promptly said, "Six weeks".
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City of Souls - Gig Review: City of Souls @ The Tuning Fork, Auckland - 21/11/2020
22 Nov 2020 // review by Kev Rowland
Tonight it was off to one of my favourite venues, The Tuning Fork, to see recent Aotearoa Music Award winners for Te Kaipuoro Rakapioi Toa (Best Rock Artist), City of Souls, at the launch party for their debut album, Synæsthesia. Outside the venue I bumped into Ben Reugg (Channeled) who had brought some of his music students from Waiuku College to see what a proper rock show is like while I spent the evening in the company of Jodie (Miss Peach and The Travellin Bones) and Te Matera Smith (AAA Records), also bumped into Chris Webb (White Nøise Mafia), Francis Wheeler (SIS Studios, a judge at the recent Ding Dong competition), and so many others from the local scene.
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On Tick - Gig Review: On Tick @ Ding Dong Lounge, Auckland - 20/11/2020
21 Nov 2020 // review by Kev Rowland
When everyone at Ding Dong greeted me by name, and soundman Dave asked why I wasn’t at the final of the bands battle the previous week, it made me realise that possibly I have been attending the venue quite a lot in recent times. But when they have bands playing who are as good as these, where else would I be on a Friday night?
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Kendall Elise - Album Review: Red Earth
19 Nov 2020 // review by Kev Rowland
A few weeks ago, I was fortunate enough to see Looking For Alaska at their album launch, and the opening act that night was Kendall Elise accompanying herself on an acoustic guitar. I enjoyed her set a great deal and was intrigued enough to seek out her debut album, Red Earth, which was released in 2019.
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Russell Harrison - EP Review: Something Over Me
19 Nov 2020 // review by Kev Rowland
This four-track seventeen-minute-long EP, Something Over Me, is the debut EP from Russell Harrison, who has been performing on stage since the age of nine. Listening to this is like stepping back in time, to a period where singers had no use for auto tune, and it was all about the voice and the performance.
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Looking For Alaska - Album Review: Light and Shadow
16 Nov 2020 // review by Kev Rowland
A few weeks ago, I was fortunate enough to see Looking For Alaska in concert promoting their new album, Light and Shadow. It was a very special event indeed, as while Aaron Gott and Amy Maynard were joined that night by a full band, there was no doubt indeed that the evening was all about the magic created by just the two of them.
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Alice Foulds - EP Review: The Quieter Ones
16 Nov 2020 // review by Kev Rowland
The Quieter Ones is the second EP from singer-songwriter Alice Foulds, following on from her 2018 debut Oxygen. This time around she has partnered with Emily Riordan who produced it as well as providing piano and backing vocals, while Noah Goddard is on guitars and bass.
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Sean Bodley - Album Review: Neon Daydreams
15 Nov 2020 // review by Kev Rowland
Sean Bodley was first inspired to pick up the guitar at the age of thirteen, being heavily influenced and inspired by Joe Satriani. He followed the normal route of playing in different bands, including cover outfits, and released his self-titled debut album as long ago as 1999.
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Motel Midnight - Single Review: Closer
11 Nov 2020 // review by Kev Rowland
Motel Midnight are Reuben Keeling (vocals, bass guitar), Bruce Ferguson (vocals, guitar), Ben Stanley (synths, beats, production) and they have just produced their debut single, Closer. When asked to describe their music they say they draw their influences from house, hip hop and indie rock, while combining shimmering synths with screaming guitars, fuzzed-out bass and stomping beats.
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In The Shallows - Album Review: In The Shallows
10 Nov 2020 // review by Kev Rowland
I was mightily impressed with the single Hold On, so of course jumped at the opportunity to hear the debut album by Wellington-based duo In The Shallows before the official release date. This finds Danni Parsons (vocals, guitar, percussion) and Lance Shepherd (vocals, guitar, percussion) on a musical journey; sometimes it is just the two of them while at others it can be a full band, or any combination with the likes of  bassist Andy Bain (Fur Patrol),  drummer Nick Brown (Eb & Sparrow, Vorn), cellist Bonnie Schwarz (Good Habits), Steve Rokosh (keyboards), Chris Winter (trumpet), Chris Peirce (sax), Pete Shaw (accordion), Davie Dubman (keyboards) and Matiu Te Huki (guitar).
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Spook The Horses - Gig Review: Spook The Horses @ The Thirsty Dog, Auckland - 7/11/2020
08 Nov 2020 // review by Kev Rowland
I had been waiting for this gig for months, but eventually it arrived so just before heading out I checked what time they were playing, which is when I got a shock, as Spook The Horses  were no longer playing at The Whammy Bar, but at The Thirsty. As I was on the guestlist I never received a notification that there had been a change, but a few minutes googling made it clear that there was indeed a venue change, which made me glad I had indeed checked what was going on.
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Looking For Alaska - Gig Review: Looking for Alaska @ Anthology, Auckland - 6/11/2020
07 Nov 2020 // review by Kev Rowland
This was my first trip to the famous Anthology in K Road, and I soon found a spot at the bar to be able to see and perch my notebook, which was immediately improved when the barman grabbed a stool and asked me if I wanted to sit inside the barrier. From there I could see Kendall Elise tuning her guitar and it was obvious she was incredibly nervous, due to this being her first live show in ages.
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Gig Review: Ding Dong Lounge Bands Competition Semi Final 1 @ Ding Dong, Auckland - 5/11/2020
07 Nov 2020 // review by Kev Rowland
For the second consecutive night it was back to Ding Dong, this time for the first semi-final of  the Bands competition, which is being sponsored by Dave Rhodes Productions, SIS Studios, Real Groovy Auckland and Muzic.net.
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Gig Review: Ding Dong Lounge Bands Competition Heat 4 @ Ding Dong, Auckland - 04/11/2020
07 Nov 2020 // review by Kev Rowland
So, it was back to Ding Dong for the final heat of the Bands competition, which is being sponsored by Dave Rhodes Productions, SIS Studios, Real Groovy Auckland and Muzic.net.
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In The Shallows - Single Review: Hold On
05 Nov 2020 // review by Kev Rowland
Over the last few years, I have been fortunate enough to have come across some wonderful female singers and folk/acoustic acts, and now I have just stumbled onto the Wellington duo In The Shallows which is Danni Parsons (vocals, guitar, percussion) and Lance Shepherd (vocals, guitar, percussion). This song also features bassist Andy Bain (Fur Patrol) and drummer Nick Brown (Eb & Sparrow, Vorn) and guest cellist Bonnie Schwarz (Good Habits, Manchester – UK).
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Sir Dave Dobbyn - Gig Review: Dave Dobbyn @ Spark Arena, Auckland - 01/11/2020
02 Nov 2020 // review by Kev Rowland
One thing I have never understood about attending a concert is why so many people turn up in time for the main act, but not for the support. True, sometimes they are dire, but there have also been times when for me they have shown up the main act so badly that I have the left the gig.
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Gig Review: Ding Dong Lounge Bands Competition Heat 3 @ Ding Dong, Auckland - 29/10/2020
30 Oct 2020 // review by Kev Rowland
For the second consecutive night it was back to Ding Dong for the third heat of the Bands competition, which is being sponsored by Dave Rhodes Productions, SIS Studios, Real Groovy Auckland & Muzic.net.
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Gig Review: Ding Dong Lounge Bands Competition Heat 2 @ Ding Dong, Auckland - 28/10/2020
30 Oct 2020 // review by Kev Rowland
Midweek saw me back at the Ding Dong Lounge, this time for the second heat of the Bands competition, which is being sponsored by Dave Rhodes Productions, SIS Studios, Real Groovy Auckland & Muzic.net.
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The Wake Up - Single Review: Worthy
30 Oct 2020 // review by Kev Rowland
Caleb, Chris and Laura are back with new recruit Nathan, and their latest single as The Wake Up: if there is any justice in the world here is a song which is going to be blasting out of radio stations all over Aotearoa for the next few months.Written by fellow Palmerston North musician Adam Lee, Worthy hits so many sweet spots it is actually quite hard to know where to begin.
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Gig Review: Ding Dong Lounge Bands Competition Heat 1 @ Ding Dong, Auckland - 24/10/2020
25 Oct 2020 // review by Kev Rowland
Saturday night saw me back at the Ding Dong Lounge, this time for the first heat of the Bands competition, which is being sponsored by Dave Rhodes Productions, SIS Studios, Real Groovy Auckland and Muzic.net.
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Hummucide - EP Review: Hummucide
15 Oct 2020 // review by Kev Rowland
The debut studio EP from Wellington-based jazz quartet Hummucide is the latest release in what has been quite a busy period for the band, as this is their fourth release in recent months. Both 8 Mullups (which has had more than 30,000 plays on Spotify) and Reacher have been released as singles, and this 23-minute-long EP finds them joined by I’m Just A Bag of Bones and The Mothership Left Without Me.
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Jan Preston - Album Review: Piano Boogie Woman
13 Oct 2020 // review by Kev Rowland
Jan Preston was born in Greymouth, and after discovering the piano at an early age she went the normal route of classical music exams and ended up taking a 5-year classical piano degree at Auckland university. Having determined she did not want to become a concert pianist or teacher she tried out various different musical styles, moving first to Wellington and then to Sydney where she still resides.
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Coridian - Gig Review: Coridian w/ Channeled & Mudshark @ Ding Dong Lounge, Auckland - 10/10/2020
12 Oct 2020 // review by Kev Rowland
First time at the Ding Dong Lounge since we went back into lockdown, and tonight was set to be a special night with Coridian and Outside In back from their wonderful sets on 11th July at the same venue. Unfortunately, Mikey Brown from Outside In was struck down with a lurgy and was unable to perform (although he valiantly attended tonight at least for a while, boy did he look crook) but Channeled stepped in at the last minute, having played The Thirsty Dog the night before, and were up for being part of the Dead Witch Relaunch.
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Samuel Philip Cooper - Single Review: Hope In Your Heart
08 Oct 2020 // review by Kev Rowland
Here we have the second single from Samuel Philip Cooper, the Wellington-based pianist who will be releasing his debut album Breaking The Silence next month. This was originally inspired when a friend of his told him he was suffering from cancer and was having to undergo chemotherapy.
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Jan Preston - Gig Review: Jan Preston @ Auckland Blues & Jazz Club, Auckland - 06/10/2020
07 Oct 2020 // review by Kev Rowland
I must confess that until this week I had never heard of the Auckland Jazz and Blues Club, but somehow, I do not think this will be the last time I attend. Situated at the rear of the Pt Chevalier RSA, I walked into a warm welcome, and was given a copy of the latest newsletter which detailed the acts they have coming in October.
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Darren Watson - Album Review: Getting Sober For The End of the World
30 Sep 2020 // review by Kev Rowland
Darren Watson originally became known in the Eighties as principal songwriter and frontman for rhythm and blues outfit Chicago Smoke Shop, with whom he recorded two albums. Since going solo he has released six studio albums, with his last, 2018’s Too Many Millionaires being his most successful, reaching #3 on the official NZ Albums Chart.
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Velvet Arrow - EP Review: Songs of Solitude
22 Sep 2020 // review by Kev Rowland
Velvet Arrow are creative musician/producer Dan Stenhouse and songwriter Hannah Jane, who both hail from Northland and came together as a duo in 2017. This four-track EP demonstrates that here is a band who approaches music with an unusual mix of Alt-Folk and Dark Country, capturing the listener from the beginning and rarely letting them go.
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Grant Haua - Single Review: This Is The Place
03 Sep 2020 // review by Kev Rowland
Grant Haua is probably best known for being half of the two-man blues roots band Swamp Thing, but in January 2019 he made the decision to leave the band after 9 years, countless tours and numerous acclaimed albums. He locked himself away with producer and engineer Tim Julian from Colour Field Studios for several months, with the end result being the album Awa Blues.
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Samuel Philip Cooper - Single Review: Broken Heart Recovery
27 Aug 2020 // review by Kev Rowland
Here we have Samuel Philip Cooper, a 25-year-old Wellington-based solo-pianist, who releases his first single, Broken Heart Recovery on Saturday 29th August. Cooper is planning to release this and one more tune as singles prior to the release of the album, Breaking The Silence, in November.
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Hadees Drudge - Album Review: On Your Knees
23 Aug 2020 // review by Kev Rowland
Hadees Drudge came together in Wellington in 2018, after a covers band featuring guitarist/songwriter Jason Keeler and drummer Jordan Hotton (previously in Bloodshot) disbanded. Hotton liked the songs he heard from Keeler, so they reached out on social media to find some musicians to form a new band and convinced singer Duane Frew (who had previously released some albums as Nort) and bassist Chris Ewers to come along for the ride.
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Coridian - Gig Review: Coridian with Outside In and Hospital Sports @ Ding Dong Lounge, Auckland - 11/07/2020
12 Jul 2020 // review by Kev Rowland
Tonight’s gig was a series of firsts for me; it was my first visit to the Ding Dong Lounge, my first gig of the year, the first time I had seen any of these bands play live, and my first ever gig review for Muzic.net.
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