23 Jan 2021
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Gig Review: Music in Parks: Fresh Takes @ Walmsley Park, Auckland - 01/03/2020

09 Mar 2020 // A review by Gaby Ivanov-Giraldo

Another humid Auckland day, yet, a cheerful turnout still showed up to support our local artists. A free event run by council to get everyone out of the house: Music in Parks - Fresh Takes kicked off at 1pm at Walmsley Park. The day session started with local rap duo Church & AP welcoming local community pieces on stage as well as promoting their locally held community group which channels art and music.

Next to take the stage was five-piece Sleepwalk Skeleton, a Japanese rock band hitting their set with a new energy to bring to the cultural table. The band shared the love of Japanese rock, pop and anime. All band members paid homage to different musical tastes which is easily picked up in their live performance. Sleepwalk Skeleton also all have a great aesthetic, which accents their sound. Their set was a real mix of upbeat pop-rock songs, with some thematic tunes, and even a few punk sounding riffs. They like to switch things up; bringing out a Gibson guitar for different songs, acoustics for others, a triangle played by the bassist, evolving drum tempos and keyboard melodies; all very skilful and spirited. They are a great live act, and hopefully this music continues to hit the roof here.

Then came the legendary Mazbou Q. Formerly known as Unchained XL, this UK-born, Nigerian/Kiwi hip-hop artist is the next shapeshifter, bringing forth the glory of his journey so far, and now the future expansion as an artist. As per a recent interview with Radio BurgerFuel, Mazbou Q explains his name change as “freeing, releasing and relieving”; now on a more personal journey, exploring music that his former self may have stayed away from. Displaying, still, a strong connection to his ethnic roots and afro hip-hop sound.

Mazbou Q played his new single To The Gates, demonstrating a new style with running themes of rebirth, faith, and identity. His band brought a dynamic live experience, getting everyone up off their feet. A “party band now in the park” who played a classic set with well-known tracks such as Don’t Say Everybody Be King, Pass It On, That’s My Folk and What You Said. Mazbou Q’s textures and rhythm are deeply inspired by his African roots. He has a resonant soulful voice, a jazzy R&B/hip-hop sound with a characteristic rap flow. His energy is creative, original, interactive and it definitely makes you want to know more about this artist and his journey with music.

The last act was another Kiwi Afro artist Triplelan. Born in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, he showcased a warm, slick sound with rhythmic afro dance beats, creating a very hyped crowd. Each song of his had catchy vocals and a dance pick-up that definitely stuck for the ride home.

Events like this remind us of the constant work behind the scenes; those who promote and encourage New Zealand musicians, provide the groundwork, stage and sound for all public to have access to.

 

Other Reviews By Gaby Ivanov-Giraldo

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