23 Feb 2020
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Gig Review: Cross Street Festival @ Cross Street, Auckland - 02/03/2019

05 Mar 2019 // A review by Lou Clement
It’s a balmy March day and the sun lit the side streets of central Auckland. I arrived at Cross Street, a road parallel to Karangahape Road. It’s well known for its eclectic market and today it played host, for the first time, to a one-day street festival. The street was lined on one side by a car park and on the other side, by the back of the shops and bars which bordered one side of K Road. It’s sort of an unlikely space for a festival; it’s concrete, brutalist and with high rises on both sides. But it turns out it’s the perfect place for an ever so slightly hip street party takeover. There are colourful murals on the walls and the tropical themed graphics of the festival posters were the perfect contrast to the dark street corners. The line-up for this event includes hip hop and soul act Ladi6, psychedelic rockers Racing and creative and electronic music wonder Julien Dyne, amongst others.

The street had been set up with places to sit, buy food as well as a long bar, the stage filling one end of the street. The indoor market was also open, full of interesting ephemera, handmade perfumes and, for future note, an excellent spot for a coffee. There was a relaxed atmosphere as people danced to Auckland-based four piece Racing who took to the stage with their brand of big beat, raucous, energetic and noisy rock. Worth noting was that the sound system used throughout the event was spot on.

At dusk, the festival vibe really began to come alive. I think I felt and saw what the director envisioned when she designed this event. There was a fun, relaxed atmosphere. This was perhaps because the crowd had been warmed up and the place had really filled up, but not to the point where it was too busy; it was enough to get lost in your own dance moves, which I happily did. The benefit of attending an event like Cross Street Festival, was that I felt like I was in my own neighbourhood, and I was being treated to a well curated day of outdoor live music and an atmosphere which felt both jubilant, cool and exciting. As well as the acts there was a DJ playing remixes between sets, and a few hip hop classics were sampled which I particularly enjoyed.

Julien Dyne was an unlikely live act hit for me. I liked his clever and interesting electronic sound, but the performance was about entertainment and even more about an expert talent. In front of a backdrop of glamourous disco-influenced yellow lights a drum kit was set up. Dyne came on stage and unceremoniously began to play, while in the background recordings of his electronic compositions played. The dancing picked up pace. Soon after the set began a little girl dressed in pink came on stage. She started dancing. I assumed it was Dyne’s daughter, but I’m not sure. It was pretty charming, she was a little shy, but, reflecting the tone of the event, soon the crowd were happily copying her moves as she, encouraged, playfully jumped, swung her arms around and spun about. Surely nothing beats the joy of a child dancing around, and it was a vibe we all embraced. It was pretty wonderful. The music, I’m happy to say, was just brilliant.

It was time for food and drink, and then the evening continued and included a standout performance from Ladi6. Her vocals reminded me of a lot of my favourite soul and urban female singers. An after party was booked across the street at Neck of the Woods, where although I’m sure the party vibe continued, I didn’t make it to - next year I hope. Cross Street Festival was perfect pocket sized city event, with a varied and intelligent curation of artists, as well as the event overall, it offered a local celebratory summer experience. For me importantly the space to take a breather from the dancing too.

 

Other Reviews By Lou Clement

Sam Wave - Album Review: Rhetorical What
13 Jan 2020 // by Lou Clement
Sam Wave is the moniker of musician Sam Mehrtens. Sam's 13-track debut album Rhetorical What was released in late December.
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Gig Review: Fat Freddy's Drop @ Thames Racecourse, Thames - 28/12/2019
08 Jan 2020 // by Lou Clement
When Fat Freddy’s Drop announced their Summer Album tour, with dates across New Zealand, I had the feeling of the holiday season beginning. I went along to the first of the tour dates that began their extensive list of stop offs and took place in the lazy in between days of the Christmas-New Year break.
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Gig Review: Dead Little Penny @ Wine Cellar, Auckland - 15/11/2019
29 Nov 2019 // by Lou Clement
Dead Little Penny played their album launch gig at the Wine Cellar on K Road. Their debut album, Urge Surfing, was released the week of the gig and received many positive reviews, including my review for Muzic.
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Dead Little Penny - Album River: Urge Surfing
13 Nov 2019 // by Lou Clement
Dead Little Penny released their debut album Urge Surfing on 13 November 2019. It’s nine tracks of electro-industrial, synthesiser-infused melodic, dirge-drifting fun.
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Gig Review: Pitch Black @ Neck of the Woods, Auckland - 17/10/2019
18 Oct 2019 // by Lou Clement
The legendary Christchurch act Pitch Black whipped up an electronica storm at Neck of Woods, Auckland on their Third Light Tour on 17 October 2019. Taking the audience with them on a visual and musical journey, the duo kicked off their international tour, with this, their first date of twelve, which will take them to London, Amsterdam and Berlin over the coming months.
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Gig Review: Troy Kingi @ The Tuning Fork, Auckland - 26/09/2019
04 Oct 2019 // by Lou Clement
Troy Kingi delivered a mash up of reggae, funk and soul as he debuted an album of politically laced tracks and performed for an enthusiastic crowd at the Tuning Fork in Auckland. This was the first of a three date New Zealand tour, following the release of his latest album Holy Colony Burning Acres and tonight he played to a sold out crowd.
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Gig Review: JessB @ Raynham Park, Auckland
22 Sep 2019 // by Lou Clement
Artist JessB hit Auckland’s Raynham Park late on a Saturday night in September completing the third and final date of her New Views tour, following dates in Wellington and Christchurch. Special guests for the evening were Silva MC, Vayne and {half.
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Gig Review: Ghost Who Walks @ San Fran, Wellington - 14/09/2019
22 Sep 2019 // by Lou Clement
The venue was buzzing and continued to fill as the DJ warmed up the Saturday night crowd at Wellington’s famous music venue San Fran. On tonight’s bill was headline homegrown act Ghost Who Walks.
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