Hard News by Russell Brown


Friday Music: Walking Distance

So the Big Day Out is back -- and this time it's in my 'hood. I had been aware that there were discussions about bringing back some form of the Big Day Out to New Zealand, and that  Western Springs Stadium and its surrounds were being sized up as a venue, but rumours don't always come to pass.

Yesterday's announcement also confirmed that CRS Management will be back as the local promoters, which also wasn't necessarily a given. Happily, their office is five minutes' walk from the new venue. Indeed, one of the advantages of the 2014 site is that it is on the doorstep of an important chunk of its potential audience.

There is no problem with permission to stage a concert at Western Springs per se. The stadium plan allows for six of them per calendar year and I doubt there is even another application in for 2014. But the same plan limits concert events to five hours' duration and the Big Day Out will run for about 10.

You wouldn't fancy anyone's chances of getting an exemption for a 10-hour speedway meeting. The crowds for Speedway come almost entirely from outside the neighbourhood and there's no reason for residents to agree to more of it. But I suspect Grey Lynn would get behind a suitably-curated music festival.

The stadium of course is one thing, but fencing off the park? It's do-able. WOMAD did it years ago and it worked fine. 

Campbell Smith is promising that the new BDO will be designed more as a New Zealand festival, with "arts and culture" content in the Springs park, but it's only natural that the thing will sell principally on its stadium headliners. He also indicated that we'd see the fruits of BDO founder Ken West's partnership with C3, the American company behind Lollapalooza and Austin City Limits.

It would be nice to think they'd finally be able to say no some of the acts that might work for Australian BDO crowds but do little more than spoil the party here. You know what I mean. Which isn't to say "no Austraian acts". But perhaps a little of the Hermitude and Flume flavours would suit the Springs more than handbag techno or workmanlike rock bands.

The more comfortable, centrally-located environment of Western Springs will make the show more appealing to an older audience that couldn't always hack the hard environment of Mt Smart. A bill with something for both baby-boomers and their kids ought to work.

But for now, I'm looking forward to a Big Day Out which ends with me not being stranded and exhausted miles from home in a light-industrial wasteland at 11pm. That seems pretty cool.


The Taite Music Prize for 2013 will be announced next Wednesday evening and thanks to Hugh Sundae and his team, you'll be able to watch it via the Herald Online live stream here. Performances from Street Chant and Julia Deans on the night.

There's a new feature this year: the Independent Music NZ Classic Record award, which is what it says on the label. And they could hardly have picked a more significant record to kick it off.

The Gordons' self-titled debut album stands apart from almost all else in its era. While they're now regarded as part of the Flying Nun scene, The Gordons' first two recordings, including that debut album, were initially self-released and predated Flying Nun.

While their Nun contemporaries took recourse to rooms and halls and smaller studios in search of more control (and less cost) in their recordings, The Gordons booked Auckland's 24-track Harlequin Studios. Auckland bands had gone into that studio and sometimes been cowed into oddly weak recordings. The Gordons locked everyone but engineer Simon Alexander and made a record like a thunderclap.


And here is something weird. The Revolutionary Arts Ensemble, which recently interpreted The Gordons as, sort of, jazz:

I don't know that I even like this, but I can only salute the enterprise.


I'd say that Chris McKay quietly goes about his business, but I'm not sure "quiet" is the word. As Dub Terminator, the Aucklander has become an active and significant figure in contemporary reggae music. You can hear plenty of his productions on his Soundcloud and YouTube pages, including this sampler for the forthcoming second compilation for his own Soul Island label with the Spanish producer High Freequency:

In a more familiar vein, there's also this version on the Bob classic:

Devonport, eh? Who'd have thought?


 Top o' TheAudience today, this mean, prowling alt-hip hop tune from Jay Roacher:

In a totally different vein, soft-hearted without being soft-headed, Chris Rakete, who claims that "Meg Ryan is the inspiration for every song I've ever written and the reason I started playing music." Click through for a big, soppy download:

And some lean, rootsy rock 'n' roll from some people who don't tell you much about themselves. Download available there too:

For your home dancefloor ...

 The Yeah Yeah Yeahs' 'Maps' has been done and redone by various producers, but the new Cousin Cole take is one of the sweetest:

I fucking love this previously-vinyl-only deep house thing that Greg Wilson posted to his Soundcloud account this week:

And Leftside Wobble has posted the latest mix in his Acid Soul series: funk, acid, house, soul, whatever, in the best possible taste And three hours long:

Full track listing here.


And finally, Christchurch's X-Ray Charles got in touch to confirm that yes, that really is an old-school tape loop made of actual tape on their track 'The Shape of Things to Come', and to note that there's a video for that:

Righto ...

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