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Festival Review: The Others Way @ Auckland - 01/12/2023

02 Dec 2023 // A review 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. It’s one evening like no other… it feels like to start to the Summer festival season, and it took place on the first day of Summer!

As well as the regular venues, like Whammy Bar and Neck of the Woods, the festival branched out with acts playing East Street Hall, with a line up including Jess Fu and a closing DJ set from Flamingo Pier. I was most excited about the Pitt Street Church opening its doors (and its excellent acoustics) for a couple of early evening acts.

My first stop was the Wine Cellar. As a regular to Whammy, it was great to see the doors flung open and the maze of venues all playing music, including the back room. 6:45pm and an eager crowd welcomed the Salt Water Criminals (pictured above), the Dunedin band brought a dose of fierce post-punk energy. I heard someone say to their friend "they’re good, aren’t they?" They have a staunch lot of fans who sang every word for their 30-minute set. They brought the energy for dancing, getting fired up and the packed crowd knew they were on to a good thing. Their latest album House of Highs was released earlier this year, catch it!

Mary Lattimore (pictured above) was the second of only two artists playing Pitt Street Church. As well as an amazing line up of New Zealand artists the festival attracted experimental musicians like Lattimore. The Los Angeles based artist is a classically trained harpist. The harp is not one of those instruments you expect to see often but the skill and sound make it a very special event when you do. The crowds poured into the pews and the lights focused and on came a Lattimore to raucous applause. She welcomed the crowd and delivered a meditative set. Playing the harp looked like making and undoing at the same time. I closed my eyes, and it sounded like several instruments being played at once, in different places. It was serene. The track And then he wrapped his wings around me was inspired by being hugged by Big Bird from Sesame Street. It’s about escapism and having the best hug in the world, Lattimore shared. It’s not cutesy though it’s heartwarming. The layering and repetition developed delivering a reflective set.

I had a tricky time deciding which acts to see next I was keen on Motte, Vera Ellen and Fazerdaze (pictured below). All in different venues and crossing over timing wise. I started with Motte and caught some of the ethereal and dreamy music. Only I was a highlight, the song merged and flowed, flecked with guitar. I caught a little of Fazerdaze at Galatos outdoors, the crowds had poured into the space and the rain held off.

But I didn’t hang around keen to check out Vera Ellen playing indoors. I’d been meaning to see her before now and Galatos is one of my favourite Auckland venues (pipped only to the post by Powerstation). Vera Ellen was lauded by Rolling Stone for her songwriting and award-winning artist in the 2022 Aotearoa Music Awards. As soon as she sings I can see why. It’s dark and authentic. It’s not easy listening at times and even unapologetically difficult at others, a person I like, a good example. Great to see her in a festival space and at the fab venue. I finally also caught The Veils (pictured below) on the outdoor stage, a definite highlight of the evening. Again, one of those bands who I’ve heard talked about but haven’t managed to see. Lead singer Finn Andrews lived up to expectation and there was a rapt end of the night fully musically satiated crowd in attendance. I really enjoyed that the venues were really easy to get a good view in. If you just turned up a few minutes early, then you could get your spot of choice. I passed East Street Hall where a line-up of dance acts seemed to be taking affect, I’m pretty sure there were people dancing on the tables.

All evening streets were bustled as music lovers quickly crossed to and fro to get to see the next act they’d pencilled in. It was lovely to see every venue packed out. As well as bunch of fringe musicians who played outside shops and took the opportunity to share their music to enthusiastic passersby. One of the best things about the festival is the maze of venues you can move through. For example, when you got to Galatos the street was closed off and you were in an urban musical nook. Food served from trucks, seating, stages and bars all in east reach. It is the perfect stop off between the mad busy Karangahape Road on a Friday night and a relaxed venue space, a super event, taking place in regular destination for the heart of new music in Auckland and a hot spot for New Zealand, long may it last.

Photo Credits (in order of top to bottom):

Salt Water Criminals - David Dunham

Mary Lattimore, Fazerdaze, The Veils - Chris Zwaagdyk / ZED Pics

The Others Way Feature Galleries:

Gallery 1 with thanks to Danielle Hao Aickin
Gallery 2 with thanks to David Dunham
Gallery 3 with thanks to Chris Zwaagdyk / ZED Pics

 

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