With NZ music month drawing to a close, I thought it would be appropriate to acknowledge and celebrate the ever increasing talent emerging from within New Zealand. From up and coming local bands to artists that seem to be taking the entire world by storm, New Zealand is proving itself to be a force to be reckoned with. There are so many names that we drop into conversation today that we barely even register as hailing from our country. These are names that have achieved an overwhelming amount in the past year and only continue to do so as the second half of 2016 approaches. We have come a long way since Lorde first stepped into the limelight in 2013 and that momentum is only increasing. Our music scene show no signs of slowing down.
Broods, for example, were allotted a day time slot at the inaugural Auckland City Limits at Western Springs in March this year after having headlined a few of their own shows in NZ over the past couple of years. This June, however, they are embarking on a full US tour and, on their return, they will tour Australia before coming home for their career defining arena shows in Auckland, Christchurch, and Wellington. Indie/synth pop artist Ladyhawke – another familiar name that also appeared on the ACL bill – is touring the UK in June (and playing one of my favourite venues in the entire world, Nottingham’s Rescue Rooms) after the release of her new album Wild Things coming out early next month.
We are not confined to pop music, though, and I actually believe that our strength is in our genre diversity. Folk singer/songwriter Marlon Williams started out playing tiny NZ venues and, after a number of shows at Auckland’s Tuning Fork, the 300 capacity venue has (understandably) become a favourite of his. This has by no means limited his successes, though, and as we speak, he is headlining his own tour in the USA. Fat Freddy’s Drop cover an eclectic range of genres and after seeing them perform at ACL this year, I can confidently state that their live shows are simply phenomenal. Their ever increasing fame is so well deserved, and I am swelling with pride as they head out on an international tour of Europe this Winter. Rock band Shihad had the once in a lifetime honour of supporting AC/DC in Auckland this year and are off headlining their own tour in Australia, again, in June.
The success stories just keep piling up, solidifying the idea that we should be extremely proud of the art that we produce here in New Zealand. We place a lot of stock in our international tours and spend a lot of time praying for new announcements. For our favourite bands and artists from the UK and America to grace us with a show or two. There is nothing wrong with this, of course and when Taylor Swift posted a photo of her prancing around a vineyard on Waiheke Island in 2012, I absolutely had the right to freak out and will fight anyone who says otherwise. But I truly think it’s time that we appreciate the talent that comes from within our own borders. Festivals such as St Jerome’s Laneway Festival are ones that we should hold onto with everything we have because they celebrate local talent. International acts are few and far between and that is what makes it so special. Having attended Leeds Festival in my last year of living in the UK in 2011 and comparing it to this year’s Laneway, I can say that Leeds doesn’t have the same sense of togetherness that I felt at Laneway. Whether this is simply because it is approximately 576 times the size (don’t hold me to this – very rough estimate), I’m not sure but I am more inclined to put it down to the fact that artists and audience alike feel like they were at home, reducing the metaphorical barriers that are so often put up to separate us.
So in the last week or so of New Zealand Music Month, take the time to listen to some of our local talent. Don’t get so caught up in what the rest of the world has to offer because you just might find that the best of it is right here.
Support your local acts on tour this year: