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Festival Review: Good Vibes @ Logan Campbell Centre, Auckland - 7/08/2020

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

On Friday the 7th of August, Good Vibes, Pato Entertainment and Mai FM presented to us the best line-up our Auckland Winter has seen to date! The Good Vibes Winter Festival is here; brought to us on a chilly Winter's night with no delay in action. It had been a rainy, overcast day until I turned up to this crowd. Everyone was pumped on entry, the dullness of the day left behind. The crowd are all laughing, smiling, and anticipating the night ahead.

DJ Cory spun the night into action; I already hear the right classics that will take me back. Lomez Brown (pictured) came on at 6:55pm; an independent, island-reggae artist. Brown’s voice is a sweet surrender, and you can tell by his lyrics he’s a soldier of love. He brought many skanking beats and bounces, a courageous rhythm with a good mix of R&B influence, heavy bass, horns and soul. He played a real crowd pleaser titled Tell Me; showcasing his delicate voice singing in smoothness.

Next up was legendary Aotearoa Hip-Hop/R&B artist Che Fu. His set was a memorable one; presented with scratching, freestyles and even a cheeky salsa dance towards the end. Che Fu has a very loveable stage presence; he definitely still has it! We heard Misty Frequencies, Fade Away, Chains, Waka and even the well-known Supergroove number Sitting Inside My Head. His honed personality and distinctive soulful voice really brought me back to the nostalgia of his originals.

Ardijah came on at eight, reminiscing the days of Polyfonk, 80’s dance, and old-school reggae band vibes. They opened with Silly Love Songs with a surprise entrance by lead singer Betty-Anne. These guys have saxophone, keys, and percussion, accompanied by vocal power notes, ukulele solos, and a rhythm that makes a joyful and organic statement. Moonlighting was played with real emotion; moments were definitely had in this set.

Three Houses Down came on next featuring the sweet soul General Fiyah (pictured). This set was particularly energetic. A classic line from General Fiyah’s song Here To Stay demonstrates his true love for music; ‘not for money or fame’. This younger artist has done very well with his music career so far and to have nailed a set with a big name like Three Houses Down, he really a true talent and his aura on stage was very uplifting to be a part of. We heard bongos, trumpets, keys, percussion and really felt their upbeat atmosphere. They hit us with a Pass The Dutchie cover and got everyone off their seats. The set ended with Love & Affection and kept the vibes high.

Up next was the acclaimed Stan Walker. He was a very big energy that night. He had synchronised backup dancers and a killer opening performance. Walker often has messages of hope in his lyrics; he tells a story but brings into motion and happiness at the same time. His voice is loud and epic, there’s no wonder he has become the star he is now. He is both a musician and performer and aces each of the two. He was very impressionable for a first-time viewer of his live sets. He tells tails of being a survivor, and a true soldier through his battles. He came on for a really emotional piece called Choose (feat. Hamo Dell) with Dell up onstage after recently giving birth. The two harmonised and enacted beautifully, really giving the crowd something special. He exposed his new single Bigger which had a real lasting resonance. He reminds us all to dream big, yet not forget our roots. He also played Take It Easy, then ended in a song in Te Reo.

Second to last that night was Katchafire (pictured). This band formed in the year 2000 as a Bob Marley Tribute band, who would have guessed they ended up one of New Zealand’s best live roots reggae bands. They’ve toured all over the world and made a name for themselves. All three Bell brothers (Logan on lead vocals, Jordan on drums, and Grenville on guitar) and the band reminded us of the warm vibes of Katchafire; keys, saxophone, skanking beats, rhythm and insane bass. They’re a people’s band with honourable musicianship and sentimentality. Down With You got the crowd really engaged, followed by Collie Herb Man which brought out the more old school fans. This bass heavy, skanking track is always a real fire starter; each song with a stellar lighting performance to go with. Katchafire are not just a brilliant live reggae band, they’re a band that makes you want to move every time. 100 brought out a real bop, by this point the lights are going crazy. Their final song descended with all hands in the air.

Finally came the iconic, heavy and bass ridden Kora. They gave us a dynamic fusion of their classics, and a modern mash-up of their most coined and recognised hits. A few new faces showed up to the party, blending and amplifying the band's versatility. They opened with Delivery Man, closely followed by Skankenstein. Francis Kora has such an electrifying voice which is personified brilliantly by the heaviness of their songs. They are the only band known to blend reggae, rock, electronic, dub and roots together so explicitly well. Classically, you also see Stu Kora having fun on stage. Him and his brother switch it up and glorify each moment with their charisma. Mid set Francis rectifies that ‘we are the only county [in the world] that can play live music. They then shared the magic of their new hit single Secret Lover; a more pop sounding beat with a heavier Kora message. The keys are always kept bubbly and fun, with metal grooves meshed in between. Number seven, Carolina, was played with less band and more of a heavy old rock feel. We then heard Politician and Drop Dead Killer. No matter where this band has toured, they always get their best hype for their home crowd. From their resonant melodies to their glorious distortion; Kora always brings the stagecraft and leaves us in amazement!

Photos taken from Good Vibes Whangarei on 8 August at McKay Stadium, courtesy of Morgan Creative.


Other Reviews By Gaby Ivanov-Giraldo

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