Cracker by Damian Christie



First, despite today's reversion to recent poor form, can I just say Thank F***k the weather finally changed in Auckland. That first sunny day in (more or less) months coinciding with the first day of daylight savings. I felt like a jumbo box of antidepressants had just arrived in the mail.

I was supposed to go to a swishy cocktail function in town, but decided instead to ride around the burbs with the missus (I got her a bike for her birthday, and not because she's 5) and I felt like a kid again - the long lazy afternoon just peddling around the streets for no real reason. Then I came home and finally planted the seed potatoes that had been germinating quietly in the corner of the lounge. Which made me feel 60. So it all evened out.

When my friends overseas boast about all the great music acts they get to see living in NYC or London, I must admit feeling envious. It doesn't last long - I love living here and do so by choice, and it only takes the thought of a week camping on Great Barrier, fishing, diving for cray and scallops for me to remember why I'm here.

But then, bonus, these next few months are as awash with great gigs as the Barrier is with fat scollies.

This very weekend, for instance, will find me listening to the sober tones of Joy Division bassist Peter Hook performing (with band) the entire Unknown Pleasures album from start to finish. The Saturday sold out pretty smartly but I believe there are still tickets for the Sunday night show (which I'm going to) and the Powerstation, which is definitely my new favourite old venue. Sure it's not Joy Division as such, but it's as close as any of us are likely to get so I reckon it's worth a look.

The following week promises to seriously ruin my half-marathon training (which is going well thanks), with the Vodafone New Zealand Music Awards on Thursday (tickets are $20)...

...then the next night sees Eru Dangerspiel at the Auckland Town Hall. Eru Dangerspiel is Riki Gooch's (Trinity Roots) alter ego, and in true Welly styles it's a massive collaboration with the likes of Anna Coddington, Whirimako Black; Joe, Scott and Toby from Fat Freddy's; Isaac and Chip from Opensouls, King Kapisi and a bunch more... I'm told by a friend that the last Town Hall gig was "a religious experience" (and at $47.50 I reckon it's not a bad deal either...) - Riki/Eru will be on Public Address Radio this weekend too.

Also, after interviewing them both recently for PA Radio, I'm planning on checking out the Kids of 88 and Naked & Famous release tour (again at the Powerstation, I think I'll be upstairs for that and leave the downstairs for the 'Dickheads' who I'm sure will be in ready supply that night. I'm expecting both the bands to go off though...

After all the synth pop I'll be needing a soul fix - Ladi6 will be having a release gig for her new album at the Powerstation on November 4 (she's back from a Europe support tour with Gil Scott Heron!) and then the incredible Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings land just before Xmas. If you're not familiar with Sharon Jones, this remix is a great place to start (hat-tip Automatic @95bfm for that one...)

And then... and this has really made my week... the best Big Day Out line-up in years. A great mix of old - Primal Scream playing the 'Screamadelica" album - awesome) - Iggy and the Stooges - Shihad playing 'The General Electric' and the not-so-old - Nick Cave's Grinderman, M.I.A and LCD Soundsystem particularly floating my boat in that department. I've been iffy about the lineups for the past couple years (although I've always enjoyed the day, and the organisers have really nailed it) but this one is a no-brainer.

And then... after a week soaking up the sun and sea on Great Barrier, it'll be time to head to the Powerstation again for The National, who still hold the #1 spot in my trophy cabinet for their Kings Arms show a couple of years back. First concert's already sold out in 30 minutes, but the second one's still available I think. Definitely worth it (and go and buy 'Boxer' and 'Alligator' at least if you're not familiar) - here's 'Fake Empire' from 'Boxer' performed on Letterman.

And then Public Enemy... and then...

Point being, I reckon we're doing okay. You can keep yer English fortnight of fine weather. Bill English says that after years of spending too much, now we've gone in the other direction - so now's the time to exercise your credit card on your nearest ticketing website - if not for you, then for the country.

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