23 Mar 2023

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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: These Four Walls @ AUX, Auckland - 18/02/2023
21 Feb 2023 // by Lou Clement
Just off the bustling inner city Queen Street, round a corner and up a few sets of stairs Ding Dong houses an excellent live venue space: AUX. Tonight, it is packed out for the homecoming of much-loved These Four Walls.
EP Review: 0800 Belly Up
14 Feb 2023 // by Lou Clement
In this self-titled EP, 0800 Belly Up embrace the promise of their teaser single sounds while proving they are at their heart, punk rock. Their debut six-track release is emblazoned with foot-stomping and holler-inducing energy.
Jason Parker - EP Review: How To Be Lonely
10 Dec 2022 // by Lou Clement
Jason Parker has recently released his 5-track EP, How To Be Lonely and in doing so, he has brought his life affirming pop to our speakers. Parker has a history in TV talent shows and they are one of my favourite things.
Gig Review: Womb w/ Samara Alofa @ Wine Cellar, Auckland - 25/11/2022
28 Nov 2022 // by Lou Clement
Underground a bustling K-Road the Wine Cellar played host to Womb on Friday night, a three-piece comprised of siblings, Georgette Brown and twins Haz and Charlotte Forrester. Tonight, they celebrated the release of their new album, Dreaming of The Future Again.
Gig Review: Goodnight My Darling w/ Ersha Island @ Whammy Bar, Auckland - 10/11/2022
11 Nov 2022 // by Lou Clement
Goodnight My Darling played at Whammy Bar along with Ersha Island last night. Ersha Island are a sister-duo, playing a classic (but not often seen in their genres) accompaniment of violin and piano.
Gig Review: No Cigar @ Galatos, Auckland - 5/11/2022
09 Nov 2022 // by Lou Clement
No Cigar played Auckland on the final date of their Bienvenido Album Release Tour. Nestled behind Karangahape Road, the venue, Galatos, was sold out and packed to the brim on an electric Saturday night.
Gig Review: Troy Kingi and The Promises @ Powerstation, Auckland - 14/10/2022
17 Oct 2022 // by Lou Clement
Available on both vinyl and cassette, Troy Kingi’s (Te Arawa, Ngapuhi, Te Whanau-a-Apanui) new album, Year of The Ratbags and Their Musty Theme Songs, was debuted at the Powerstation, Auckland. It was a fun and fantastic return to live performance for 2022, following the years of COVID cancellations and absences.
Gig Review: Nadia Reid & Jenny Mitchell @ Auckland Town Hall, Auckland - 09/09/2022
11 Sep 2022 // by Lou Clement
Worth the wait might be the short summary of an epic and memorable evening with Nadia Reid with the Auckland Philharmonic Orchestra and support from Jenny Mitchell. Both acts were accompanied by their bands and a packed Auckland Town Hall cheered every song.
View All Articles By Lou Clement

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