27 Feb 2024

Remember Me? | Join | Recover
Click here to sign in via social networking

Arahi - Gig Review: Arahi: Te Tokotoru @ Big Fan, Auckland - 6/10/2023

08 Oct 2023 // A review by roger.bowie

My first visit to Big Fan, the new studio complex in Kingsland with a small gigging area out front. It’s the first gig on a brief NZ tour for Te Tokoturu, the latest project from Arahi, one of the most exciting new singer/songwriters to emerge out of lockdown. 

This is a special invite night, courtesy of Banished Music (thank you, Reuben) so I have my daughter Nicole with me, and it’s a bit of a wait for her as people drift in, and my reminiscing of back in the day when we always waited and waited and waited at concerts, and wanted to go home, until the music enraptured, falls on deaf ears, until Davidda steps up, and Nicole is all eyes and ears. Plus ca change…

Davidda Hikatangata comes from Paeroa, but has brought her worldview and her multi-instrumental talent to Tamaki Makaurau, and although clearly a little bit nervous without knowing why, she soon puts us at ease which in turn puts her at ease, and we are enchanted by another singer songwriter finding their way with refreshingly simple melodies and carefully crafted lyrics. Captivating. Nicole tells her she’s awesome., and she means it. It’s good to give back. Davidda has a few songs out on Bandcamp including a collaboration with Anna Coddington which is Slow Turn. Check it out. It’s not slow. A sweet set with closes with Eloquent, which is what she is. 

Davidda Setlist:

1. Song 1
Giving in Slowly
4. Days of Old
James Must Have Picked Me
Changing Colours
8. Eloquent

I first heard about Arahi just over a year ago, but this is the first time I have seen him live, aside from his cameos at the Come Together show back in June honouring Dire Straits. At the time I thought him a little tentative, but I now understand better that he just projects understated and humble. Listen to his recent EP Revelator and the revelation will hit you. There’s a wealth of talent here, across many genres, and tonight he is presenting his latest project, born of an impromptu coming together earlier this year in support of cyclone Gabrielle relief efforts.

Te Tokotoru, unbreakable three of a kind, and the other two are no shrinking violets. Willie Devine is a drummer who also plays bass, as he does tonight, because on the sticks is one of our best, Iraia Whakamoe, known all over Poneke for his efforts in Fly My Pretties and The Nudge, another power trio with a psychedelic bent. Let me just say that Nicole has never seen such drumming, and, at 14, she’s been around! 

Ok, get the picture?

No you don’t, not yet, because this is power trio antics full of 60's/70’s vibe, yes, think Jimi, and think Rory, but think different, because this is music in a contemporary context, where rock meets waiata, where the emerging power of our bi-cultural reality translates into universality, and in this case it’s mostly sung in Te Reo. Think awesome.

Arahi songs which we know as more soulful and laid back, are re-cast as hard and psych rock anthems. Arahi can play guitar. No longer understated, very ‘eavy, but still ‘umble. The comparison with Hendrix only breaks down because he’s no southpaw. By the fourth song I’m completely shredded. Old covers, from Prince Tui Teka and the more recent Little Bushman, take their place alongside the new single Te Hekenga, produced by Troy Kingi. Te Hekenga, migration, symbolic of the confidence of today’s generation of Maori musicians proudly walking backwards into the future. The future is bright. Everything’s About to Change and the best is yet to come.

Waiata and Karakia, prayers and incantations, savage drumming, thumping bass, incandescent guitar, music for the soul, music for our spiritual health, when, to cap it all off, this unbreakable three card flush burn it up with an experience, and I rest my case…

Arahi Te Tokotoru Setlist:

1. Haere Ake Nei
2. Everything’s About to Change
Worst Is Yet to Come
E Ipo (Prince Tui Teka)
Te Oranga (Little Bushman)
Te Hekenga
Me He Wairua Hiamo Mau
Fire (Hendrix)


About Arahi

Arahi is a young, up and coming New Zealand singer songwriter rooted in folk and blues. His music comes with a heavy dose of nostalgia, inviting influence from Paul Simon, Bruce Springsteen, Young and Dylan.

In a live context Arahi's music is delivered through intimate concert settings as a solo act, or with his band.

On their own the songs can still stand and once released can be heard through various music streaming platforms. (Spotify, Soundcloud, and YouTube etc.)

Visit the muzic.net.nz Profile for Arahi


Year: 2022
Type: EP

Other Reviews By roger.bowie

Album Review: Subset BC
16 Dec 2023 // by roger.bowie
Here’s an interesting little thing from Gisborne. A funky little band with three bass players.
Gig Review: The Best of Come Together @ The Civic Theatre, Auckland - 9/12/2023
12 Dec 2023 // by roger.bowie
Get your heads around this line-up:  The singers: Jon Toogood, (lead and backing vocals), Julia Deans (lead and backing vocals), Dianne Swann (lead and backing vocals and occasional guitar), Samuel Flynn Scott (vocals and guitar), James Milne (lead and backing vocals), Milan Borich (Mick vocals) The players: Jol Mulholland (guitars and vocals), Brett Adams (lead guitar and vocals), Mike Hall (bass), Matthias Jordan (keyboards), Alastair Deverick (drums), Finn Scholes (trumpet, clarinet and percussion), Nick Atkinson (sax and percussion).  Stopped spinning?
A Crude Mechanical - Album Review: Discourse
08 Dec 2023 // by roger.bowie
Shane Warbrooke doesn’t believe in lyrics, because of the risk of lyrics being hi-jacked and meanings bent to suit ideologies which he doesn’t like. Well, such ideologies which most of us don’t like, truth be known, but then again, Beethoven didn’t write lyrics, so the freedom of speech counter argument only goes so far.
Gig Review: The Phoenix Foundation @ Hollywood Avondale, Auckland - 24/11/2023
26 Nov 2023 // by roger.bowie
This is a first of many things. I’m not sure I’ve ever seen The Phoenix Foundation play live.
Velvet Arrow - Album Review: Songs of Solitude
17 Nov 2023 // by roger.bowie
A Song Of Hope & Fear would normally be a contradiction in terms unless darkness prevails and light shines through, which is an appropriate metaphor for the debut album from Whangarei’s Velvet Arrow and the opening song, with Dan Stenhouse’s husky voice helping us through the night against a ghostly horror wail from Hannah Jane. After all it’s just a song to help you through the night, just the words that speak, it’s not real.
Gig Review: Atomic: Women of Rock @ The Civic, Auckland - 11/11/2023
13 Nov 2023 // by roger.bowie
What a feast of nostalgia we’ve had from Liberty Stage (Simone Williams) these past few years, as New Zealand’s finest have Come Together to cover the classic albums which made the soundtracks of our youth. In addition to this, there have also been special tributes like Tami Neilson’s rock ‘n roll party with Dinah Lee, just last month.
Dimmer - Album Review: Live At The Hollywood
09 Nov 2023 // by roger.bowie
Wow, not very often that we see alive album these days, an unusual beast, but that’s we have, a 14-track monster from Dimmer, recorded from last year’s sold-out trilogy at the Hollywood Avondale. Which, if you didn’t get to go last year, you can still see on December 2nd at the Powerstation, unless, like me, you are going instead to The War on Drugs.
Killergrams - EP Review: Lonely Nights In A Little Town
27 Oct 2023 // by roger.bowie
Someone walked out, and Tom Maxwell has lost his mind, in a gentle, acoustic way. Then his mind explodes in a cacophony of chaos, which might just be what it feels like, losing something that important.
View All Articles By roger.bowie

NZ Top 10 Singles

    YG Marley
    Benson Boone
    Noah Kahan
    Teddy Swims
    Jack Harlow
    Taylor Swift
    Tate McRae
    Dua Lipa
View the Full NZ Top 40...
muzic.net.nz Logo
100% New Zealand Music
All content on this website is copyright to muzic.net.nz and other respective rights holders. Redistribution of any material presented here without permission is prohibited.
Report a ProblemReport A Problem