Words and photography by Shelley Te Haara
Night 4 of Sons of Zion’s 7 date Vantage Point tour took place at The Powerstation, and with 20-30 people already in line upon doors opening, the band proved themselves to be more popular than expected.
Entertainment for the night kicked off with Whangarei natives OTIUM. The young 5-piece came on stage and got straight into their reggae/pop performance. They offered incredible vocals and had great harmonies, and the colourful lighting accompanied their music extremely well, adding more emotion to the music and lyrics. Following a cover of Staying Alive by the Bee Gees, the crowd continued to grow, feeding off the positive and confident vibe, which the small crowd readily absorbed. OTIUM were clearly enjoying themselves as they grooved along with the crowd, most likely with the exciting notion that it’s not everyday a band from Whangarei get to open for a well-known band in a prominent Auckland venue.
Next to take the stage was Auckland local, REI, accompanied by Daniel Love. The crowd had packed in a lot more by this point, and Rei got stuck in, performing the first song entirely in Te Reo taken from his latest EP titled Rangatira. Rei’s music is hip-hop based and provided a different tempo to the night, and his performance of his remix of the song Waka Maori was a particular highlight. The original song derived from an artist going by the name Wakamaori who released a track of the same name. Rei confidently sang his words as he paced back and fourth across the stage, a stage he has always wanted to play after seeing Kendrick Lamar perform there way back in 2012 when he made it his goal to perform there. Based on the quality of the performance, you wouldn’t have guessed it was his 1st time but it surely won’t be his last.
The crowd took the chance in between acts to chat and get refreshments, but the music was interrupted briefly by announcement that they would be taking the stage in 10 minutes. The crowd’s buzzed with excitement and the music seemed to get a bit louder before the arrival of 5 minute announcement, after which the pace of the music seemed to pick up. The countdown began, 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1. Strobing lights lit up the crowd in parts as a Karakia played out and the band took the stage, wasting no time and getting straight into it, with the crowd following suit.
The crowd’s energy was high and there seemed to be a lot of love and positive energy in the room. Sons of Zion played a range of their material throughout the set, consisting of songs from the new album Vantage Point to older songs like Be My Lady, which prompted them to acknowledge the fans that had been there since the beginning. The set was interrupted with an impromptu hip-hop/rap DJ set which the band led to hype the crowd up even more and while you would think that the crowd slowing it down a bit to sing along to ‘Is That Enough’, led by Caleb Happu, would bring the energy down, the crowd seemed to love it.
And speaking of the love in the room, the guys clearly felt it was the right time to let everyone know that their album went gold on top of 5 gold singles and 1 platinum single, thanking the crowd before carrying on the show with In The Sky, which ended with a guitar solo by Caleb and Rio. Though it seemed like the show was coming to an end, the crowd knew it wasn’t, as the song that most had been anticipating finally came, Drift Away. Surprisingly that wasn’t the last song, choosing to end the set with Be My Lady instead before – with a “Haumi e! Hui !, Taiki e!” – leaving the stage.
The crowd definitely left on a high and there’s no doubt that that is how you want your Friday night to end.