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By Barret Helander
April 28, 2014
By Barret Helander
April 28, 2014

All of sudden we’re into May again. For locals that means a few things, hopefully one of them is New Zealand music. Attending a kiwi gig in May is compulsory for those who go hard for their super-city. We have such a solid local scene and it only remains this way through support. But let’s not pretend it’s hard, there’s really no better night out than one spent listening to quality live tunes.

It would be easy to write a top ten must-see Auckland gig guide for any month, writing one for NZ music month is just cruel. But still it’s worth insuring no good gig goes unseen. So instead of breaking out the refill and racking your brain trying to figure out what has to be attended, we decided to do it for you. Leave your subjective taste at home and check out some unfamiliar local acts; if they made the list, they’re definitely worth seeing.

1. She’s so Rad, Paquin and Delete Delete

Tyler Street Garage, 120 Quay Street, Auckland

Part of the Beck’s Sets, this synth/ guitar based showcase is the launch night of NZ Music Month and… it’s free. All three bands have had really good reactions, winning critics choice awards and acclaim at a young stage. This gig is all about New Zealand Music Month, showcasing some really raw new talent. You can’t really go wrong with a free gig and because Beck’s is following it with a nationwide series of gigs, they’re sure to kick it all off well with this first one. So get it in early and say you were a part of it all.

The show's on May 1 at Tyler St Garage. Doors open at 8pm

2. Team Dynamite

Tyler Street Garage, 120 Quay Street, Auckland

Black Sheep are all the rave now and they're gathering down at Tyler St for Music Month. Part of the YGB (Young Gifted and Broke) crew, these boys are hot off the release of their debut album 'Shepherd's Delight'. The album received solid reviews and is definitely worth a listen.With consistent quality in their music and some seriously funny on stage chat, it's a safe bet for a good night out. Get along on Thursday May 8 it's a free gig and maybe you'll see why all the 'cool kids' wont shut-up about them.

3. Sherpa: Blue and Oranges Tour

Cassette Number 9, 9 Vulcan Lane, Auckland

Friday May 16 sees Auckland psychedelic pop powerhouse Sherpa take over Cassette Number Nine on Auckland’s Vulcan Lane. With a tasty set of easy-listening releases, it’s a great opportunity to get out and about and hear some easily digestible local tunes, all in the spirit of NZ music month. In their new album they received help from local music guru Kody Nielson (former member of ‘The Mint Chicks’, who no doubt would’ve pointed them in the right direction. This is a good pick for a good night out at the low price of ten buks. Get along, check them out and find a nice cosy spot on the band wagon, cause after this tour there wont be any room left.

4. Dad Jokes: US Tour Fundraiser

Whammy Bar, 183 Karangahape Road, Auckland

As the local Garage Rock scene grows, one thing remains constant, and that’s community.  Dad Jokes foster a rather prolific scene of upcoming like-minded bands Pals, PCP Eagles and The Muscle who collectively contains a lot of talent. I’ve attended a couple of shows put on by this scene and they’re a really good night out. With a generally loud output, it does require an open mind, but it’s well worth getting into. Set to take place at Whammy Bar on May 16 for only ten bucks.

They are accompanied by 3 other bands, busting their funky little tushies, to raise money for Dad Jokes’ US Tour. Now tell me that’s not heart warming. One of the bands is called Pals and is seriously one to watch out for.

5. The Phoenix Foundation: Tom's Lunch EP Release

King's Arms Tavern, 59 France Street South, Auckland

The fellas from the foundation are back. Following their release of Fandango last year, they decided to hit the ground running with their new drummer and created a series of short sharp gems, two of which were mixed by David Fridmann (MGMT, Tame Impala). Showing that it’s clearly not their first rodeo they quickly planned a nation wide excursion, with a new set list and drummer in toe. Not a bad way to start the year at all. These boys are local veterans who actually give back to the musical community, recently playing having a jam at Real Groovy Records Auckland in support of International Record Store Day.

So if you’re keen on a good night out check them out at The Kings Arms on May 17 and have listen to their new EP on Bandcamp.

6. The Naked and Famous

The Powerstation, 33 Mt Eden Road, Auckland

The Naked and Famous really sky rocketed after the release of their single ‘Young Blood’. Causing huge noise in The U.S. they quickly hoped on a plane and left our shores in search of greener pastures. Although they found international success, they still make it home from time to time to perform for their local fans. Rest assured, they have plenty of those, selling out their first show. They bring their Rolling Waves tour home for NZ Music Month, to once again electrify kiwi crowds.

So grab a ticket to the second show on May 17 before it too sells out.

7. Janelle Monae and Kimbra: The Golden Electric Tour

Vector Arena, Mahuhu Crescent, Auckland

New Zealand songstress Kimbra has teamed up to do a tour with soulful veteran Janelle Monae. A friendship sparked from a barroom jam at The Montreux Jazz Festival in 2013 led to collaborations and an international tour, set to hit Australia and New Zealand shores in May and Auckland's Vector Arena on May 24. Kimbra has shown consistency in her quality of music. With two Grammy Awards in her back pocket and enough youtube hits to start a revolution, she is slowly paving the way for young New Zealand artists.

This is an awesome match-up and shows a real work ethic with this tour, showcasing original collaborative works by the two. So grab a ticket for a guaranteed night of soul.

8. Lawrence Arabia

King's Arms Tavern, 59 France Street South, Auckland

Lawrence Arabia is the enigmatic brainchild of New Zealand artist James Milne. On May 28 and May 29, he returns home to play (in full) his three albums at The King's Arms Tavern. This is a must-see gig not just for fans, but also for people who haven’t yet caught on to his brilliance. If the name ‘Lawrence Arabia’ puts you to an overwhelming state of unfamiliarity, then study up on his catalogue and watch all his music performed live in May. It’s worth investing your interest.

If, like me, you’re strapped for cash then I’ll see you at his free outdoor lunchtime show at Britomart on May 1.

9. Arch Hill’s 15th Anniversary

King's Arms Tavern, 59 France Street South, Auckland

Arch Hill Studios was founded in 1998 and is really part of a duopoly co-created with Flying Nun. Both Labels fostered a bizarrely common type of New Zealand music. With artists swaying back and forth between these labels, they gave Auckland a strong local alternative rock scene. Arch Hill has always been the smaller of the two, which seems to make it more admirable.

As kiwis we always root for the underdog, so why stop now. ‘Beck’s sets’, is sponsoring their 15th anniversary show at the King’s Arms on the 30th, featuring; Don McGlashin/ Ghost Wave/ Street Chant, Transistors Surf City/ Doprah and Special Guests. That’s right, the guests are special and it would be a great show to catch. A lot of history and comradery is threaded within the lyrics of these musicians and it would be rude not to listen.

10. Nice N Urlich

Galatos, 17 Galatos Street, Auckland

Creating an extremely successful radio show on bFM, Nice N Urlich took their show to CD in 1999 through till 2002, releasing three multi-platnium selling albums. With an ability to redefine relaxed through a track list of lazy Sunday singles, the pair (Bevan Keys and Peter Urlich) are local legends. Known in Auckland for throwing some awesome gigs for a slightly older audience, it’s seriously not their first rodeo.

Hosting a 20+ gig with support from Soane/ Aroha/ Cam Harris/ Phill Tee and Brett Bronze, two zones and wood fired pizza; this one is not to be missed. What better way to wind down your NZ music month than with a couple of local heroes who just don’t get it wrong. Get your tickets here.

Published on April 28, 2014 by Barret Helander


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