Words Myrthe Braam photos Thomas Bauer
The iconic Mussel Inn near Takaka is an attraction by itself, let alone when Australian blues singer-songwriter CW Stoneking is doing a solo performance. Arriving just before sunset, not much seems to be happening at the venue in terms of music just yet. Tourists are having mussels and fries, locals are content having a beer. Since it looks we’ve got time on our hands, we pursue a game of Scrabble, while tasting some of the Mussel Inn beers that are brewed on site.
Without a (at least for us) perceptible warning, outdoor seats and dinner plates are discarded and everyone piles into the building. It’s a small house tonight, but a full house, with nearly everyone perched on a seat around one of the few tables. Fittingly for this kind of venue, there’s no grand entree, instead C. W. Stoneking pops through the back door onto stage and starts setting up his guitar. It seems like the country’s current heatwave might have been too much for the singer’s normal attire, with his white cotton shirt unbuttoned and no sign of his usual bowtie.
Once all set up, Stoneking opens the show by greeting everyone and introducing his first song, Charley Bostock’s Blues. Even when you know what’s coming, his voice still surprises and you can almost hear the crackling of an old vinyl record accompanying his authentic sounding songs. Instead, Stoneking’s voice is being backed by the noise of cicadas coming in through the open doors, but it doesn’t take long for the insects to acknowledge defeat and the night quiets down.
As Stoneking continues with songs like Goin’ The Country and She’s A Bread Baker, it becomes quickly clear how much of a storyteller he is, both in his lyrics and in between songs. Most tunes are being introduced with a ramble about the origin of the song, what type of blues they’re inspired by or a random situation he’s come across while making his way to New Zealand. In fact, Stoneking confesses that several of his songs were created by talking to himself while playing his guitar. It fits the blues style perfectly though and makes his compositions all the more convincing.
One of the things that appealed to Stoneking when first listening to blues, as he explains on his website, is the deconstructed sound and the fact that there seemed to be no rules for compositions. He has definitely embraced this characteristic in his own music and seems to relish in the fact that both music and lyrics can lead their own life while still forming a song together.
After a burst of songs from his first album, King Hokum, Stoneking moves on to his later work with songs like The Love Me Or Die (with a particularly interesting introduction) and Thing I Do. It’s with some of these tunes that he seems to be missing his band, humming instrumental parts and even stopping halfway through Zombie, saying with a smile that he can’t play this one on his own and that we’ll just have to buy his album to listen to it.
Even though Stoneking might be used to bigger venues, having toured with Queens Of The Stone Age throughout Australia and New Zealand last year, he seems to be enjoying himself in this intimate rustic setting. I guess it would be a nice way of starting a New Zealand tour by visiting the Golden Bay and playing in a farmhouse venue with composting toilets before moving on to bigger stuff like The Tuning Fork and Coastella. With seven more shows in New Zealand, this one is not to be missed!
Silicon Valley-based Christian Beedgen (CTO, Co-founder – Sumo Logic) joins Paul Spain in the Podcasts NZ studio to discuss data ethics, data bias, unintended consequences and other topics such as autonomous cars.
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Dai Henwood joins Paul Spain to delve into a broad range of topics – including Dai’s on-again / off-again relationships with Apple and Google, the media landscape, podcasts home tech, Sky vs Spark, wearables, eSIMS and more.
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words Wal Reid
Love him or loathe him, Liam Neeson is the King of Comebacks. It doesn’t matter if he’s a commuter on a train or minding his own business he always gets the bad guy and usually avoids death – He is immortal and just never dies, the internet testimony of this through countless Taken memes, which has seen the actors popularity surge.
Well, he’s back in one hell of an excellent thriller that is steeped in black humour a la Cohen Brothers with an intelligent script that isn’t afraid to take itself seriously. The film sees protagonist (Nel Coxman) Neeson exchanges his gun for a snow plow to fight the local drug cartel, its not hard to understand the baddies will be coming off second best to Mr Neeson and his metal juggernaut of a beast – it’s a hoot.
Directed by Norwegian Hans Petter Moland, its a remake of a 2014 film he directed with Swedish actor Stellan Skarsgard in the lead role. In Cold Pursuit the location has been suitably swapped for the more alpine conditions of the factitious town of Kehoe in Colorado’s Rocky Mountains. Well, we think it is even though there are countless shots of cars driving to what looks like Denver.
Neeson’s character is dour, as you would expect from a Snow Plow driver and his marriage to his wife (played by the talented Laura Dern) is somewhat jaundiced. Things come unstuck when the local Rocky Mountain drugs cartel, headed up head honcho Viking (Tom Bateman) kill his son Kyle (Michael Richardson Neeson’s real life son), which riles up Mr Plow into Action Gear. Don’t even get me started on the local Native Americans who run Kehoe or the subtle ‘gay kiss’ featured in the movie. You’ll just have to wait and see.
This is probably the only Liam Neeson film I’ve actually honestly enjoyed. From start to finish Moland has crafted a film has given the ‘Neeson’ a complete overhaul, a radical departure from his previous heroic formula and one, I have to say, is refreshing. It’s subtle irony was not lost on this reviewer. Laura Dern’s brief appearance is noticeable but she is convincing as the grieving mother. Baddie Englishman Tom Bateman (The Tunnel) is fantastic as Drug Lord Viking. His arrogance and complete disdain for sugar or junk food, and hilarious one liners didn’t go unnoticed. Great to see him step up with this role, he’s not violent but is quite the dastardly villain.
My verdict is simple. If you love a good thriller with lots of dark overtones then Cold Pursuit is a no brainer. Let’s just hope his racial remarks haven’t landed him in too much hot water (s’cuse the pun) It would be a shame if the film was lauded on those merits alone. Cold Pursuit – An action Mortal Engines in the snow with that famous Irish accent – can’t go wrong
Words by Dixie Reid, Photography by Reef Reid
After a brief break in 2017 to become a Mum, Gin Wigmore began performing live again last year. It’s been nearly four years since she last toured here in New Zealand and last night she kicked off her 2019 New Zealand tour in Wellington to a sizable audience filling all three levels at the Wellington Opera House. Gin Wigmore’s band includes Dave Goodison on guitar and also Brett Adams on guitar, who is hot off a New Zealand tour with David Brighton’s Space Oddity.
Opening for Gin Wigmore on this occasion was Kendall Elise. Born and raised in Papakura (Auckland). Kendall Elise is Singer/Song Writer and since 2016, a solo artist who has achieved a lot over the past few years including the release of her self-produced EP “I Didn’t Stand a Chance” and an APRS Best Country Music Song of 2017 finalist for her single “Heart Full of Dirt”. Kendall was a good fit, warmed up the audience and did a great rendition of Bruce Springsteen’s “I’m on Fire”.
Wigmore’s signature voice has been described as “whisky and dry” and that’s probably accurate, if not unmistakable. Her band hit the stage and she joined briefly after, much to the pleasure of the Wellington crowd as she opened with “Girl Gang” a new song from her latest album “Ivory”. I’ve not seen Gin Wigmore live previously, but as each song rolled off, you wouldn’t think they hadn’t performed regularly since 2016.
The set was tight, energetic and fun. Wigmore provided light hearted entertainment in between songs and it was clear they were set to have a good time. There was one particular light hearted moment when technical difficulties with Gin’s amp prior to “Devil in Me” caused a delay whilst being fixed and during this time the banter was a bit of fun.
The hits kept rolling with “Hey Ho”, “If Only” and “Devil in Me”. Part the way through the set and encouraged by a few patrons dancing in their seats, Gin addresses the crowd and asks “Can they stand up, is that a yeah, or nah? Yeah? ok…” This is re-iterated by Dave Goodison and with that, the crowd didn’t need to be told twice!
By the time “New Rush” came around the place was pumping, partly due to the green light to stand up, but also because as the set developed, it seemed they became more comfortable and settled to the point where the performance developed spontaneously. Her setlist comprised 14 songs from “Ivory”, “Gravel & Wine” and “Blood to Bone”, with the exception of “Hey Ho” from “Holy Smoke”. Somewhat surprisingly, her debut hit single “Under my Skin” was not performed on this night, sadly.
The main set was closed with “Written in the Water” and by this time nearly everybody was on their feet. The band left the stage and the requests for encore were loud and persistent. In fact, the banging of feet on the floor was deafening!! I’ve been to several shows in the Wellington Opera House and never seen anything like it. Thankfully the came back out, and to a huge roar from the crowd.
The encore, “Black Sheep” and “Sweet Hell” were then followed by “I Will Love You” (with house lights on) which does not require a full band, who the joined Gin on backing vocals. Gin Wigmore thanked the crowd, who were eager for more, before leaving the stage to what was a successful night for all parties!
01 – Girl Gang (Ivory 2018)
02 – Man Like That (Gravel & Wine 2011)
03 – Hey Ho (Holy Smoke 2009)
04 – Bad Got Me Good (Ivory 2018)
05 – If Only (Gravel & Wine 2011)
06 – Devil In Me (Gravel & Wine 2011)
07 – Hard Luck (Ivory 2018)
08 – Kill of The Night (Gravel & Wine 2011)
09 – Dirty Mercy (Ivory 2018)
10 – New Rush (Blood to Bone 2015)
11 – Written in the Water (Blood to Bone 2015)
12 – Black Sheep (Gravel & Wine 2011)
13 – Sweet Hell (Gravel & Wine 2011)
14 – I will Love You (Blood to Bone 2015)
Viagogo slapped, 10 Gigabit Internet trial, Cryptopia $23m heist, Z rolls out number plate recognition that means you can fill up with gas without thinking about payment + lots more.
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Words Wal Reid
Hard to believe singer Lily Allen is still only in her early thirties, seems like she’s been around for forever. She could give actress Anna Kendrick a run for her money with an impressive ‘resting bitch face’, but here she was, all grown up playing Auckland’s Spark Arena on her Oceania leg of her No Shame Tour.
According to the petite English singer, It had been about eight years since she was last here, playing the hits that saw her dominate the Pop charts in early 2006 when her debut single Smile, launched her colourful, albeit, turbulent musical career. She hasn’t looked back since.
She was chatty as she proceeded to engage the audience with stories of scuba diving North of Auckland at Goat Island and a rather decent attempt to pronounce “Matakana” putting her in good stead with the vocal crowd. Her relaxed gait and openness a breath of fresh air, confiding to “fucking up” her married life but leaving that door open with “maybe one day”, while quipping “I’ve still got my kids” as newer tune Family Man was played from her latest album.
We all had a giggle at “Fuck You” wondering how she could get away with her heavy London lilt giving the ‘establishment’ (in this case Donald J Trump) the middle finger, as she toggled the mic using it to accent her presence on stage, the crowd obligingly joining in ‘flipping the birdie’. It was a sight to behold.
With the occasional “Hey, you alright Auckland?” she utilised her time well on stage even winking at the crowd before her cowgirl-esque rousing Not Fair ushered in her last song of the evening. Along with her two piece band, who faithfully providing the musical fabric to her set, she apologised for coming off a 24 hour trip sporting a “bit of a croaky voice from the air-conditioning and shit”. The crowd didn’t mind, she still sounded a million bucks, as she reeled off hit after hit in her sporty active-wear outfit, her No Shame Tour including older tunes LDN (London) and The Fear getting the biggest audience reaction of the night.
“This is the most recent song I’ve written” as she lunged into Party Line, she also included her two daughters into conversation, about how she “spoke to them this morning” as she proceeded into Three. It was a mixed set, the couple of hours partying with Lily Allen an interesting aggregation of her past four albums. After her publicised hiatus from the music scene, it struck me tonight, she almost needed to perform just as much as we needed to be there with her, an almost symbiotic relationship between performer and audience, if you will.
Allen’s well documented life in the Public Eye is almost a distorted reality. Her resolute outbursts and casual use of dropping F-bombs almost belies her innocuous twee appearance, it’s an endearing persona and one that makes her very likeable.
Doffing the jacket, she returned off for the encore including the energetic Roll The Dice and Trigger Bang the feature single off No Shame with London Rapper Giggs, while the small, smug version of the Arena erupted into dance to the finale of Fuck You. There is almost a cathartic relief uttering those words en masse, even better when you can sing it out loud. A fab night out, and one that demanded a “Thank you very, very much” without the harsh expletive-deletives.
Here’s hoping Lily is around just that little bit longer to make us all feel that little bit more ‘human’. Hell knows, we all needed it tonight.
On the eve of his national Tūrangawaewae Tour, Marlon Williams has just released his first ever live album: Live At Auckland Town Hall. Available online now and at the merchandise stand at the upcoming concerts!
Marlon has just returned from a large stint of stadium and winery shows in Australia where he and Florence Welch performed his song Nobody Gets What They Want Anymore on the Florence + The Machine headline tour! After eight shows on the big stage ahead of Florence, Marlon and his band The Yarra Benders are in full swing and ready to enthral their kiwi audiences.
Turn back to this time last year and Marlon was preparing for what were then the largest shows he had ever performed in New Zealand at the historic Auckland Town Hall….
“Well, this is the largest amount of people we’ve ever had in a room to watch us, so it feels pretty damn special” Marlon Williams says, sitting down to the piano during the first night of the two sold-out shows.
May 25th, 2018 was special in many respects. Williams had returned home to New Zealand to close a 60-date world tour for his new album, Make Way For Love. He shared the stage with his second family, The Yarra Benders, with the two evenings at Auckland Town Hall serving as a fitting celebration having toured the globe together over the course of two album campaigns.
Across the past several years on the road, the Marlon Williams live show has taken on an almost mystical status — not just for Williams’ extraordinary voice, but also for the hypnotic command he has over an audience, his seamless blending of genres, and the effortless, instinctive relationship he shares with his band.
Live at Auckland Town Hall captures an artist both early enough in his career to be humbled by the occasion, and developed enough to present a stunning catalogue of music and quality of performance. Live at Auckland Town Hall feels sure to enter the cannon of great live albums in the years to come, a dazzling snapshot of Marlon Williams’ musical singularity.
The APRA Silver Scroll and Album of the Year winner is about to embark on his biggest tour of New Zealand to date taking in 12 centres across the country!
The show at the newly reopened Christchurch Town Hall in Marlon’s home town has officially sold out.
Only limited seats remain for the show at Auckland’s Villa Maria Winery with The Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra. Fans are advised to buy tickets now to avoid disappointment.
Internet cable break disconnects Tonga, AI enabled Robotic Knee, Mealpal launches in NZ, Apple and Tesla cut staff – NZ Tech Podcast 423
Bluetooth 5.1 brings better location capabilities, Tonga Internet break, AI enabled Robotic Knee, Mealpal launches in NZ, Apple and Tesla cut staff, Aston Martin’s Rapide E, arrest over infamous US text messaging scam, Australian Mobile Plans.
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Words Glenn Blomfield