The first gig guide for December, it was always gonna be a doozy. There’s so much on this week, I don’t know where to start. But I ain’t complaining. If you’re wondering how you can fit all this fun around your workload, well apparently there’s this thing called a ‘work – life balance’ which lets you fly with the best of the social butterflies, while still being just as productive in your work life. Don’t ask me how it’s done, I’m still learning.
Highlights this week – three come to mind, no wait, make that four. The first is First Thursdays 4th Birthday Fiesta on K Rd, the thought of which just makes me break out into big festival sized smiles. I love First Thursdays. This year, to celebrate the fourth year of this fantastic late night art event in Auckland, there will be a Mexican fiesta theme – with roaming mariachi band, Day of the Dead facepainting, and a masked Lucha Libre wrestler in St Kevins Arcade giving out sweets. It’s always a challenge to get round everything in just three hours, so get there early if you can – it runs from 6 to 9pm.
Second is the Melvins, well that was on Wednesday, but if you were there you’ll know what I mean. The Melvins!! At the Powerstation!!! I ask you, what better pre-Christmas treat is there than this – nothing else but two drum kits will do, to really get you into the spirit of things. The Melvins gig is part of a trifecta of big/loud/heavy gigs happening this month – the other two being Metz on December 13th, and Helmet on December 21st. We really are spoilt. I mean, who cares if Blur spat the dummy and decided not to come to Big Day Out. They can easily be replaced by a big fat cheesecake and a bacon sarnie, right? Or The Cure. (In my f**kin’ dreams) Or “two American bands and a British one”. Does it really take three bands to replace one big one? Well by the time you’re reading this hopefully we’ll have found out.
Of course, the other thing I’m excited about this week is the return of Silo Park Cinema. They’re starting with ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’, a classic Christmas film I’ve actually never seen. What better place to share the warm glow of some feel-good family Christmasy-ness, than snuggled up with your friends and loved ones under the stars at Silo Park. (P.S. If it’s still raining on Friday, check the Silo Park website or facebook page for the raindate).
Yet another Christmas themed thing (if you’re a Grinch, you can go shove ya bah humbugs somewhere else) A Basement Christmas Carol is on from the 4th til the 21st of December (at The Basement Theatre, 8pm), and by the looks of the grumpy faces on the poster this’ll be a real festive treat. From the people who bought you last years’ Basement Christmas panto Mega Christmas, this promises to be another ‘irrevent sing-a-long spectacular’ with many familiar faces – Scrooge, Tiny Tim, the Mad Butcher, Kate Sheppard, and John Campbell – as well as the Ghosts of Christmas Past, Present and Future of course.
They’ve got Jacinda Ardern on board again, playing Helen Clark, and Antonia Prebble as the Christmas ghost of Princess Diana. Billy T Award winner Rose Matafeo playing Kate Sheppard will be pretty awesome too I’m sure.
THURSDAY 5th DECEMBER
As mentioned above, this will be awesome. Over 30 events across 20 venues on K Rd and Cross St. Three hours packed with artistic collaborative brilliance. What’s not to love? My advice is to get in early to meet your friends, and since it finishes by 9, you can always hang around for a few refreshing ice-teas afterwards.
This year there will be an inaugural lights show called Highlights – showcasing a selection of buildings over ten days. Creator of the show, digital specialist Dan Davis, will be trialling new 3D technology in the light displays, which will focus on buildings between Queen St and Pitt each evening..
You can read more about this here:
While you’re there you could also check out Erin Forsyth’s exhibition: Sick Days: EYESORE II at Method and Manners, Level 2, 6 Upper Queen St, in the Electrical Equipment building (exhibition opening 6-9pm) Erin has a distinctive style which uses lots of lurid bright colours, she describes her work as ‘candidly grotesque’.
I remember seeing Bob Log III when he played the Kings Arms a few years back (if you look up to the left of the stage you might still see the poster up there, alongside some other great ones displaying a bit of the KA’s gig history). It was something else!! The sight of him stomping his feet and strumming his guitar in a spandex jumpsuit, topped off with a motorcycle helmet with a telephone strapped to it was unforgettable. Seeing him at Whammy will be intense, especially in that heat as it gets boiling down there in summer.
Bob Log III – http://www.boblog111.com/
HDSPNS – http://headspins.bandcamp.com/
Dad Jokes – http://dadjokes.bandcamp.com/
FRIDAY 6th DECEMBER
It’s a Wonderful Life, screening starts at 9pm, and they often show a short film before the main feature. Get there early for a good spot, it can get pretty busy. BYO drinks and picnic and/or you canperuse the fine selection of beverages and food at the Silo markets.
Ooh, and this little beauty – a proper ska knees up at the Kings Arms:
Auckland Ska Festival – featuring the AceTones, Atsushi and the Moisties, Auckland Fullskamonic Orchestra, Chatchy, Deth Becomes Shane, Dimestore Skanks, Fat Man, Night Gaunts, Roofdog, Royal Rumble, Skin & Bone, Yebiisu at the Kings Arms, 7.30pm – $15 door sales, $12 pre sales
Oh wow, this looks like a great night. I think the last time I went to a proper ska gig at the KA it was a thing called the Ska Bbq quite a few years back. Think they were more of a regular occurrence then? I remember I took my sister along, she was well impressed by all the dancing and jumping around. By the end of the night with all that energetic skanking (yes that’s the technical term for all the kicking your legs out and bouncing around to those offbeats) you’ll have burnt off all the calories from any amount of beers you may’ve been drinking. You’ve totally earned that kebab on the way home, it’s a win-win situation. Also the Auckland Fullskamonic Orchestra are playing. I don’t think I’ve seen them before, but I hope they live up to their fantastic name, cos that sounds like a lot of fun.
Here’s a few links so you know what kinda fun you’re in for:
Deth Becomes Shane –“Offending people since 2008” http://www.amplifier.co.nz/artist/41536/deth-becomes-shane.html
Atsushi and The Moisties – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2S0phv7NDk0
SATURDAY 7th DECEMBER
Audio Foundation Xmas Party with Biscuits, Droszkhi, Moppy, Cat Fact, DJ Kraus and Mystic Pizza Tarot Card Reader. Plus a BBQ, Singstar and more at Audio Foundation, Poynton Terrace, 3-10pm – free entry
Yay, another Christmas party! This one has a Mystic Pizza Tarot Card Reader, what more could you ask for. Mmmm mystic pizza, sounds yummy. And Singstar?!! Oh now I’m really excited.
Droszkhi – http://droszkhi.bandcamp.com/
Moppy – (Thom Burton, from Wilberforces) http://moppymokai.bandcamp.com/
This is local label Muzai’s Christmas barbeque. The last one before label owner Benjii Jackson heads back home to England. Some great band names (and bands) in this lot. One of my faves is Dad Jokes, and you can’t go past Girls Pissing On Girls Pissing for a great band name. Apparently they like to joke that they’re gonna change their name to ‘Boys Shitting on Boys Shitting’. Well why not mix it up I say, you could go for ‘Boys Shitting on Girls Pissing’ or vice versa. The possibilities are endless. Anyway, back to the music.. check out the links below.
Wilberforces – http://wilberforces.bandcamp.com/
Girls Pissing on Girls Pissing – https://www.facebook.com/girlspissingongirlspissing
The Shocking and Stunning – https://www.facebook.com/theshockingandstunning
Proton Beast – http://protonbeast.bandcamp.com/
This looks really good too:
Take a look at the amazing artworks here, and consider which one would be your spirit animal.
I’ve seen all but one of these bands before, Melting Pot Massacre, who I just discovered this year, are so great I made sure I asked them about their next gig so I could share it here (after they played at the recent protest march up Queen street against rape culture). I was stoked to hear they were playing UFO, one of my favourite little BYO venues. The rest of the line-up looks interesting too – Jackal were there on my first visit to UFO on a night of heavy bands that turned out to be a real good one. Penny Dreadfuls were an excellent opener at Fangfest, a great punk fest weekend I went to recently. Troubled Frank I haven’t seen, but I did hear about them at a Potroast zine launch a couple of weeks ago, through a conversation with one of the poets. I’d tapped the name into my phone to check out later, and whadya know, here they are. They put something really nice in their blog about making the effort to go and see other bands, and keeping our local scenes alive. I’m all about that, so that’s a pretty good start. (I say that before I’ve even clicked on their video, so extra points for that guys.)
Melting Pot Massacre – http://meltingpotmassacre.bandcamp.com/
Penny Dreadfuls – http://www.undertheradar.co.nz/artist/2909/Penny-Dreadfuls.utr
SUNDAY 8th DECEMBER
If you’ve still got any energy left then;
a) What’s wrong with you, you must be doing it wrong
b) You’ve managed to pace yourself, well done. Please give me your tips
c) You must be taking some sort of illegal drug, stop it – drugs are bad
Or God forbid – d) All of the above
So, Sunday gigs.. are there any? Well let me see..
This will be the last ever Bernie Griffen and the Grifters gig! I’ve been reliably informed Bernie is forming a new band and the others are off to do their own thing. Playing their last gig at Southern Fried Sundays will be a fitting send off, and you can bet they’ll be raising raising the roof with that one final singalong. I had one of the best nights ever seeing them play at a fantastic packed out show for Gunslingers Ball at Leigh Sawmill last year. Sad to see them go.
Month of Sundays featuring the Sperber Dance Band with Josh On Decks – Hallertau Brewbar and Restaurant, 1171 Coatesville-Riverhead Highway, Riverhead
Yes, I’ve thrown a random thing in that’s a little off the beaten track. But why the hell not, it’s not that far away – and if the recital I saw Dan Sperber play recently where played some stunning originals, (and an unexpected calypso cover of a Voom song) is anything to go by, this’ll be something worth seeing.
A Gypsy Fair at Golden Dawn, how sweet! So very fitting for a Sunday, just chill and enjoy their amazing menu while perusing the marketplace.. then cruise straight into some Sunday Jazz.
That’s three very relaxing things in all, and all very civilised ways to round off the week if you’re still out and about. ‘’A good pub should be an extension of your living room” someone once said to me. I think the same could be said of a Sunday gig. In which case these three should fit the bill nicely.