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Gig Review: Cross Street Festival @ Auckland - 11/03/2023

19 Mar 2023 // A review by Lou Clement

Street festivals have historic origins and the Cross Street Festival really was about the music. It somehow manages to catch the haphazard chaos of a vibrant Saturday night Karangahape Road and yet complement the imposing city buildings which dominate this backroad. Its advertising is markedly vibrant, and it’s a festival I always hope to get along to. It helps that it’s also a 10-minute drive from home. After a Summer that’s felt a bit upside down and where many events have been cancelled or postponed, it’s great to see this little one-of-a-kind festival go ahead. 

You got the feeling you are entering a wonderland when you arrive' it felt homely and welcoming, which can’t be said for many events of this size. Most of the road was closed off and the pavements were transformed into bars, eateries and stalls. It’s quite a feat and it was pulled off wonderfully. A bustling, diverse crowd sat around on benches, beanbags or danced next to the stage. I was over the moon to find a Saison on tap, and more importantly, rarely a queue at the well-staffed event.

This event began in the late afternoon and the sunshine filtered through street providing an inimitable late Summer relaxing vibe. Each and every band stood for themselves, the line-up was excellent with so much homegrown talent. Often you go to festivals for one or two bands, touring around different stages and trying to navigate clashes. The good thing about Cross Street is that it is pocket sized - if you want food you can watch performances from the tables, and if you are set on drinking and dancing the night away then the front row beckons; that’s the best place to be to experience the whole day and evening of excellent musicians.

The stand out acts for me were Mazbou Q, who brought great energy and pace to the night. Makeshift Parachutes blend of psychedelic indie rock was a true delight. There were big breaks and crushing lows from Samoan singer/songwriter Mema Wilda as she added captivating magic to the event. Meanwhile Magic Factory filled the stage to cheers from the audience with their excellent guitar riffage and mix of punk, country, and blues. There was an incredible line-up of bands and it all seemed to be seamlessly put together. It was clear the audience were having a great time.

Cross Street Festival is a grown-up little festival. It is fun, fast paced, and full of good music. If Cross Street did clothes or cake, I’d buy them both. It's excellently curated and made for celebrating music.

 

Other Reviews By Lou Clement

Gig Review: Bach Musica NZ @ Auckland Town Hall - 14/04/2024
15 Apr 2024 // by Lou Clement
The historic setting of Auckland Town Hall, with its long and celebrated history of live music, was the ideal location for Bach Musica NZ. This was the first of a program of performances taking place throughout the year and bringing to the stage some favourite classical music pieces.
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Festival Review: The Others Way @ Auckland - 01/12/2023
02 Dec 2023 // by Lou Clement
Music venue haven that Karangahape Road is, it’s the perfect location for a festival takeover. Stopping short of closing the main street The Others Way festival seeks to fill every venue, at times simultaneously, with music.
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Gig Review: Ebony Lamb @ Whammy Bar, Auckland - 10/11/2023
12 Nov 2023 // by Lou Clement
Singer songwriter Ebony Lamb treated the tightly packed Auckland, Tamaki Makaurau crowd to a night of new music from her self-titled debut solo album. The gig was part of a seven-date Aotearoa tour which began October 27th, and finished in Paekakariki on Saturday, November 11th.
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Gig Review: Princess Chelsea @ Neck Of The Woods, Auckland - 19/10/2023
20 Oct 2023 // by Lou Clement
Princess Chelsea began her international Everything Is Going To Be Alright tour, at Neck of the Woods in Auckland with a full house on Thursday 19 October. Bringing her 2022 album of the same title in its entirety to the stage, with her band Jasmine Balmer, Joshua Worthington-Church, David Harris, Joe Kaptein, Kate Tindall, and Simeon Kavanagh-Vincent.
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Gig Review: Clementine Valentine @ Whammy Bar, Auckland - 16/09/2023
16 Sep 2023 // by Lou Clement
Clementine Valentine took to the Whammy stage in Auckland on the fourth and final date of their nationwide album release tour. Their new album entitled The Coin That Broke The Fountain Floor, was released through Flying Nun Records in August 2023.
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Gig Review: Sofia Machray @ Whammy Bar, Auckland - 19/08/2023
21 Aug 2023 // by Lou Clement
Sofia Machray brought her Language of Flowers show, the last of a five-night nationwide tour, to Whammy Bar in Auckland. Machray has recently released her debut 6-track EP and tonight was the premier of her music for Tamaki Makarau.
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Gig Review: Tom Lark @ Whammy Bar, Auckland - 5/08/2023
07 Aug 2023 // by Lou Clement
Tom Lark recently brought his Brave Star tour to Tamaki Makarau along with his band and support from K M T P. Lark has been absent from both touring and releasing music for a number of years.
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Gig Review: SKRAM @ Big Fan, Auckland - 22/07/2023
26 Jul 2023 // by Lou Clement
SKRAM blew up Big Fan in Auckland on their Strawberry Dream Tour. Billed as "an explosive pop music spectacle", they didn’t disappoint, the energy was palpable.
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