Hard News by Russell Brown


Friday Music: The First Time

In the way that Twitter conversations do, one about "What was your first concert and how old were you?" rather snowballed yesterday. Turns out, many people have stories to tell -- and a surprising number of them broke their concert cherry with, um, Pseudo Echo.

The discussion wasn't without its boundary issues. Is a concert different from a gig? Do bands who played at your school count? Does it only count if your parents weren't there?

So, clearly, there's more than one answer to this. The parental question isn't in play for me -- mine hadn't been to a show since the Everley Brothers in 1960, where I gather they didn't like all the screaming. I've worked , I think, what mine are:

First international concert: Cheap Trick, Christchurch Town Hall, April 1979, aged 16.

First real gig: Sharon O'Neill, as part of a free concert lineup out the Christchurch Town Hall, aged 15.

If school counts: The travelling Christian supergroup Certain Sounds, aged 13.

Sharon played solo and I recall my mate and I getting a bit excited when we thought someone near us was smoking marijuana.

Cheap Trick were great. After the show, we went up to the front of the stage and I snaffled one of Rick Nielsen's guitar picks (no! I don't know where it is!) and, oddly, one of the many cigarette butts discarded by drummer Bun E. Carlos. (My mother quite was concerned by this and worried that it might be marijuana or something.)

Feel free to share. If you can't quite recall, the Kiwi Concert Date Archive may help -- and Google is also pretty good.


I thought Lorde's performance of 'Royals' to open last night's New Zealand Music Awards was a good pointer as to where she'll go next year. She has been touring  the US and Europe with what's still basically a PA set -- a travel-light, set-up-quick promotional format for clubs, TV shows and awesome MOMA tribute dinners.

Last night was the first time anyone's seen her perform as part of a full production and it looked great. The changed-up, dubby version of the song itself also showed where the bare bones of the Pure Heroine songs can be taken.  This time next year she'll have a festival show like this.

I was less taken with most of the rest of the music. The split stage didn't really work and both Iva Lamkum and Ruby Frost's turns pretty much sounded like a mess.

The big exception? Stan Walker's closing medley. He's a tremendous performer. Along with Lorde and her producer and Aaradhna and her producers (P Money and Evan Short), he's fit for the international pop charts.

I gather Fat Freddy's Drop were approached to perform, but decided it was going to be difficult, stressful -- and expensive. The way is works is that the artist's record companycarries the expenses. But when you're your own record company, spending money to play doesn't seem so appealing. They may have to address this.

I was delighted to see Lawrence Arabia/James Milne win the Best Male Solo Artist category, and he was clearly somewhat dumbfounded. I felt bad for the Phoenix Foundation, whose rich, prodigious album Fandango was variously nominated but didn't turn to glory on the night.

And, finally: the Awards have long been a promotional vehicle for TV3 and its stars, but next year I think next year Recorded Music New Zealand might have to stipulate that that doesn't include Paul Henry. Henry's turn on stage, which began with a joke at the expense of a fat woman, was excruciating. I don't know how it looked to viewers at home, but I can report there were a great many pissed-off people in the room.


I'm delighted to see that Chris Knox has kept up his association with the rescally young men of Rockets -- as the band Knoxious -- and even more delighted to see this video of 'Gagarin', the flip of their version of 'Swimming Pool':

It's remarkable to see that while the "words" part of Chris's brain has largely not returned in the wake of his stroke, the "music" part rages on, undiminished.

And you know what's extra awesome? Jonathan Ganley's Capture photo-essay of the video shoot. Don't say that we at Public Address never do anything for you.


Tunes ...

Hat tip to Paddy Buckley for noticing that this has just been re-upped as a free download:

A lovely, extended touch-up for Hortense Ellis's Stylistics cover:

And locally, this grand, moody thing on TheAudience:

Jolly good then. I think I shall rest a little.


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