27 Sep 2020

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Gig Review: Milk & Honey @ Whammy Bar, Auckland - 08/03/2019

11 Mar 2019 // A review by Lou Clement

International Women’s Day, in my experience, is often not marked by celebrations other than something official in the news – something with flowers and over-privileged celebrity-like figures at the mic. It’s the first year I’ve lived in Auckland for it though, and to find that celebrations planned for the occasion with music performances taking place as part of a curated event were exciting. I was at the Whammy on Karangahape Road, Auckland, which opened the cross-venue doors to include the Wine Cellar. It was a warren of bars, excellent music and celebratory vibes.

At one point, I was at the bar and Montel Jordan’s 1995 single This Is How We Do It was playing - there was one person dancing and singing her heart out; based on my experience of the evening, I agree. I was out tonight to celebrate the trials, tribulations and successes of women across the world; whether this was my sister working hard to complete her PhD and work two jobs or international media reports of women fighting for justice or just to be safe. I’m an optimist, it was a thumbs up not a thumbs down; a need to look towards better standards and more opportunities in the coming year, I hope.

The Milk & Honey event took place over three cities, in four venues and brought together over twenty artists. It was billed as a festival, albeit one where you can’t get from one ‘tent’ to another, which is a shame in some ways as there were also acts at the sister event at the Powerstation in Auckland, which I would have loved to see.

It was a really excellent almost non-stop evening of great music. One of the first high points for me was unexpected. If International Women’s Day is about something, it might be about giving all types of women a platform to be heard, but also about seeing yourself in those people. There’s an inspirational strength in that. For me Chaii was a fierce, authentic act that brought originality not only through the blend of hip hop and electronica, characteristic of her tracks, and obviously because she was fantastic and fully supported by a large enthusiastic crowd. But also because she is from somewhere different and she wore the traditional dress of her home country. I really needed to hear that voice, I can’t tell you exactly why. Chaii is one to watch, catchy and infectious dance-inspiring music. She has real presence and a sense of performance which was both humble and effortlessly professional.

The night continued with acts overlapping in different rooms, but it was fine to wander from room to room, I’d taken a picture of the poster with the line-up times and between glasses of wine was just about making it to all the acts I wanted to see. I wonder if I missed an event compere, or whether there might have been a chance for other types of women artists to perform, or otherwise get involved. Maybe crafters or Feminist groups could have also been there during the day; or even poets. I might’ve have missed this though – there may have been other events going on.

With Whammy, the artists wander through the crowds though, and having been at a dozen or so gigs at this venue, I realise this is the thing that is sort of magic about the place. Especially when acts are coming on and off stage throughout the night. Dead Little Penny gave a tight and inspiring performance as expected, I just love their guitarist and his skillful performance was great to watch. There were moments during the set when the members of the band looked at each other and smiled, connecting over the tracks, beats and sort of making you feel though you are part of their private warm-up. It’s charming. I love Depression and Honeycomb – although this time they seemed to lack the volume that they needed.

I then made it over to the Whammy stage for Wax Chattels. Wax Chattels are a three-piece who I am a bit hesitant to categorise genre-wise. For me, as I danced away, I was thrilled by some of the industrial influences behind their tracks and it obviously came from a rock background. It was a noise which was different from anything I’ve heard in a long time. It was loud, dark and just my cup of tea. I loved every second of this set and it felt great to see the band in the intimate setting of the Whammy; you simply couldn’t be closer to the performance here. I’d made it to see most of the acts I’d wanted to. My spirit of celebration was wine and the bill of three or so hours of music was continuing.

Next I went to see Wellington duo Hex who took us into the late night hours with their, folk-inspired jangly electronic tracks. This event had enough blood in its veins and gristle in its muscle to inspire the most lukewarm supporters: the patriarchy can be toppled. For women everywhere, I salute you, especially for those bravely moving towards their dreams in oppressed regimes; hampered by cultural conflicts and facing difficulties brought by unfair expectations.


Other Reviews By Lou Clement

Gig Review: Racing @ Whammy Bar, Auckland - 31/07/2020
02 Aug 2020 // by Lou Clement
Racing took to the stage on the penultimate date of their Flashback tour. The four-date stop off comes ahead of their highly-anticipated second album release.
Yumi Zouma - Album Review: Truth or Consequences
30 Mar 2020 // by Lou Clement
Yumi Zouma are a four-piece band who formed in New Zealand and have seen international success with their brand of dreamy beach pop – effortlessly upbeat and post-party feels. It’s music that I can always put on my playlist repeat loop.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
View All Articles By Lou Clement

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