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Festival Review: Homegrown @ Wellington Waterfront - 2/04/2016

06 Apr 2016 // A review by LilMizCharlie

Karl, my partner in crime, and I decided to go and see what all the fuss was about with Homegrown. Over the years, I had musical projects on myself so this was something I often couldn’t afford to throw in the mix. I was interested because all I have ever heard about this event is “you’ll feel so old, it’s basically 14yr olds running around drunk wearing practically nothing, hoping to get spotted by the next biggest NZ star”.  

I suffer with anxiety so I had no clue what to expect being surrounded by so many people but I knew I was outdoors for the most part. Even the times when I have watched bands like Devilskin, I have been that girl at the back in awe with just enough open space to head to the door and leave if I need too. No offence, I love watching bands who are doing great things in the industry but I feel more at home on stage then I do in the crowd. So when my first experience of Homegrown was of two young teens desperately trying to steady their extremely preloaded young friend as police were approaching our way I thought, hmmm I guess my friends were right?!

We looked around and decided to head to the locally sourced stage being run by the beautiful Vanessa Stacey. We were keen to hear Lord Echo so while waiting, Brightest Star by Julia Deans started playing and I smiled. Julia is one of those artists who had a positive influence for me while I was finding my songwriting wings in younger days. I took this as a sign that it would be a great day! Lord Echo (Mike Fabulous) approached with his crew, with a funky, African styled, disco fuelled, at times reggae sound and they totally worked the crowd. Lisa Tomlins was a friggin’ babe as usual, adding her sultry soul fuelled voice to create a live ‘Cafe’ feeling. My flat-white with no sugar, would have been so great at this point.

Avalanche City had the crowd eating out of their hands next, then I raced over to watch Anika Moa featuring Tiki Taane doing a couple of cool duets, it was brilliant. Tiki has such a professional approach, I look forward to seeing more of him.  They were lucky they got to play just before the rain kicked in.  

I was just about to go and find shelter and Karl said “Hold up, I really want to watch Jason Kerrison even if only for one or two songs.” I have never watched Jason live and although I’m familiar with some of his songs from TV ads and radio (shocking I know) the rain was getting the better of me alongside the rest of the crowd who vanished pretty much straight after Anika.  

I have to say, I hope you guys watched something way better cause you missed what can only class as “quite spectacular”. Jason Kerrison is an outstanding artist and I don’t say that lightly. Jason for me, you were the absolute highlight of my day. You are real, world class and you do what you do brilliantly. Your vocal approach was stunning live and if I was to ever asked to record in a duet styled situation again, I would be begging for that to be with you *wink wink nudge nudge. Not likely haha, but seriously a stunning all round honest performer which is what I personally love in an artist. I will be going out of my way to buy a ticket to come along and watch you in future!

After me “fangirling”, Karl and I went with hair and clothes sopping wet and my whole overall being feeling like sweaty wet dog, to The Black Seeds then back to Sola Rosa, who are both awesome. From here we juggled time to go watch some of our favourites, I Am Giant, a brief bit of Blacklistt before heading all the way back for a moment with Shapeshifter and hauling ourselves back to watch a bit of the awesome and well loved, Devilskin. These artists are definitely world-class and their stage shows just keep getting more professional and tight as time passes. They deserve to be on these big stages and we are proud to support them. By the way ... Jenny, congratulations you look rockingly radiant!

RANT: No offence Homegrown but prices for water were crazy. As a “sober” on the day I noticed that some places were charging up to $6 at the stages and many of your security were making us tip bottles of water as we left or before we entered new stages. I was asked to bin water at three stages, and not others which was confusing considering I witnessed many times over the day your security turning a blind eye to groups of kids smoking spliffs like it was ok. I’ve never had a problem with that type of thing 'til I thought about the fact that water is a necessity and weed is still currently illegal here. I understand that it could be mistaken for vodka but come on guys, there has got to be a better way to allow freely water at your event. With all this new-age technology, you can’t tell the difference between alcohol and water? Seems crazy.

So is it worth paying to go see Homegrown? Homegrown is an experience worth being a part of for sure. It’s not pricey at all when you look at the list of artists you are able to witness in one place and hell, I have paid more to watch one international artist. Yes Homegrown have a name for drunk kids but to be honest they were strict on the gates for alcohol, so it could have been much worse. I'm picking the girl who was preloaded would have been refused entry. If you look past the sprinklings of vomit here and there and drunk kids on the outskirts trying to contain themselves hoping to get back in, you can learn so much about who is doing what in the mainstreamed scene these days.


Other Reviews By LilMizCharlie

Gig Review: Devilskin @ San Fran, Wellington - 13/10/2017
27 Oct 2017 // by LilMizCharlie
Devilskin are being seen all over the world in ways that we as New Zealanders should be extremely proud of. You only have to attend one of their shows to see that for yourself.
The Gemini Effect - Album Review: Atomic Blues
16 Oct 2017 // by LilMizCharlie
That moment when Tom Petty passes yet something else seems to emerge.It’s was one those days.
Stefan Wolf - EP Review: Creep No. 1
01 Mar 2017 // by LilMizCharlie
When I first listened to this EP, I felt that Stefan Wolf was opening up a personal diary and sharing a piece of his mind with me.  Creep No.
Jayson Norris - EP Review: Eroded
29 Sep 2016 // by LilMizCharlie
There is something delightfully soothing yet sea-stormy about Adventure It Seems Is Easy from Jayson Norris' new EP Eroded. I found myself listening to this as “cool down” music at the gym.
Gig Review: Shihad @ Meow, Wellington - 1/05/16
12 May 2016 // by LilMizCharlie
Shihad, a force to be reckoned with. There is not a person I have talked with who doesn’t know this familiar name on the streets.
Gig Review: Hollie Smith @ San Francisco Bathouse, Wellington - 8/04/16
20 Apr 2016 // by LilMizCharlie
I have often been in awe over Hollie Smith’s tracks. Her voice comes across as humble yet commanding and at those precious moments, heart-wrenching.
Super Narco Man - EP Review: Dank Mammoth
18 Mar 2016 // by LilMizCharlie
Will in all instances cause stereos to malfunction... Maybe I was just in the mood for some rough as guts, raw, sweat drenched madness.
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