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Gig Review: The Others Way Festival 2017 @ K.Rd, Auckland - 01/09/2017

06 Sep 2017 // A review by Paul Goddard
If you live in Auckland you can "pay 1.5 for a shitty house on a shitty street" and you can also go to one of the coolest festivals to appear in recent years. The Others Way festival started as an opportunity to showcase local artists back in 2015 and is the brainchild of Flying Out records. It was an immediate hit utilising multiple venues on Krd with support from local services and providers.

This is my first time at the event and I know how difficult this would have been to organise so I wasn't quite sure what to expect. The list of bands is impressive just on sheer numbers involved and there is no way that you can get to see everyone so I decided to avoid the more "established names" and focused on acts playing at Wine Cellar, Neck of the Woods and The Thirsty Dog.

I picked up my pass early in the day and there was already a buzz around Krd. A pop-up shop was pumping via 95bfm in St Kevins Arcade and there were plenty of people checking out the merch and getting ready for the night. I arrived back at 7 and popped into The Thirsty Dog for a pre-gig drink and chat with Jonte the promoter there. It's one of my favourite venues and it was already clear this was going to be a busy night.

So back down to Neck Of The Woods to catch AC Freazy. First off what a great venue Neck Of the Woods is. A little hidden away as you head down some narrow stairs but once inside the set up is awesome and the free Nachos were much appreciated.

AC Freazy tick all the boxes for an "indie band" the look, the sound, the understated vocals. They open with a track that appears to have stolen the bass line from another one bites the dust by Queen but soon morphs into something else. They have a funky vibe and the crowd soon swells to around 100 and Kody (Silicon) and Bic Runga are also here checking things out. It was a great start to the night and what struck me was the happy vibe from everyone watching.

Next up I headed to Wine Cellar to catch Earth Tongue who were the only band I hadn't checked out before the gig but I just liked the name so why not? I arrived and the place was empty so I asked the bar staff if they had canceled but no, 30 seconds later the band walk on and start playing, 1 minute after that the room is packed!

What I do notice now is the mix of people in the crowd. I have never seen so many people (mainly men) in their 50's and 60's at a gig and that was a surprise given the genre of the bands performing but I guess with the location so close to Ponsonby, Herne Bay etc and this being a "cool" festival it was going to attract a few of the baby boomers. Not saying there is anything wrong with that, just saying!

Earth Tounge were great. Gussie and Ezra are a two piece whose take on grunge and Psych rock was a welcome surprise. Both sing and play and one minute they are tripping through some haunting melody and the next they are pummeling and snarling into and enthusiastic crowd. More of a stage performance than AC Freazy and the energy level and heat was building. Next, it was a race back to Neck Of The Woods for Kane Strang. There had been a buzz about Kane Strang with people telling me I had to go and see them so I wasn't sure what to expect. What we got was a very polished performance which reminded me of when I saw Radiohead before they were famous. The songs are there and Kane Strang are probably the most commercial band I have seen so far which could explain the popularity. As the set moved on it did get a little samey but there is huge potential. The venue was packed again and it was great to see so many people. One thing I was missing at this point was a full on mind blowing live performance.

That all changed when I headed back up to the Wine Cellar. Once again the room was empty as people caught bands in nearby Whammy and the Wine Cellar back room. I sat down to make some notes and looked at a loan keyboard and drum kit comprising of a snare, kick and a couple of cymbals. All very unassuming, the name Wax Chattels wasn't giving anything away and then it started. A simple drone/beat on the keys repeating and growing louder. The crowd piles into the room and then everything just explodes. Think joy division meets nine-inch nails with a bit of Dillinger escape plan thrown in and not a guitar in sight! The music is spiky, energetic and full of attitude. The band is feeling it, the crowd is feeling it and the 30 minutes that followed was worth the ticket price for the whole festival. You hope to see something like this at a festival, a band you know nothing about who completely blow you away. For me it was Wax Chattels for others it may have been someone else. It's why festivals like this need to exist. The set finishes and as I head out onto Krd I buy everything Wax Chattels have released on Itunes.

Next stop is The Thirsty Dog and Dictaphone Blues. I manage to catch the tail end of Arthur Ahbez and all I can say is what a voice! The Thirsty Dog is a great venue with a great atmosphere with great beer. It's is filling up and Dictaphone Blues are setting up Keys (there are a lot of keyboards at The Others Way festival). The set starts with a reggae/dance vibe and immediately the crowd is dancing. It is clear a lot of the people are here to see the band and know the songs. There is a mix of 80's synth and a pop element mixed with a healthy dose of cheese and the crowd are loving it. I must admit my mind was still back in the Wine Cellar comprehending what I had just seen but Dictaphone Blues do a sterling job of keeping the Krd party swinging.

I shoot back down to Wine Cellar to catch Sere but unfortunately, I couldn't get in as the venue was full. Nevermind I will catch them next time. So, tired but happy I call it a night. The Others Way festival is a great event, well organised and let's hope it continues.


Review written by Paul Goddard
 

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