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Bill Direen Announces Auckland and Dunedin Shows

Bill Direen Announces Auckland and Dunedin Shows

Thursday 19th April, 2018 10:42AM

New Zealand music legend and poet Bill Direen is performing two double-night sets of shows in Auckland and Dunedin this May, at the Audio Foundation and the New Athenium Theatre. Direen's impact on the last four decades of independent music in New Zealand can't be overstated, his pioneering groups Vacuum and The Bilders / Builders cast a huge shadow over the famed "Dunedin Sound" and the early output of Flying Nun Records, he was recently the subject of a documentary by Simon Ogston (Sheen Of Gold, Phil Dadson: Sonics From Scratch) titled A Memory Of Others. For the upcoming shows he'll be joined by guest artists presenting a series of songs and texts written or chosen by Direen. Here's the details below...

Bill Direen and Guests

Friday 11th May and Saturday 12th May - New Athenium Theatre, Dunedin
Friday 18th May and Saturday 19th May - Audio Foundation, Auckland*

Tickets available HERE via UTR*

Watch the 1982 video for Direen's tune with his group The Builders 'Russian Rug'...

Here's the classic video for Direen's fabulously catchy single 'Alligator'...

Press release:

Bill Direen is well known as an alternative pop-rock songwriter and performer who has worked with a staggering array of class musicians, with additional roots in poetry and theatre. The recent documentary by Simon Ogston portrayed him in all his facets — poet, composer and collaborator-musician. This new show brings together those elements in a live evening of texts, songs and improvisation. Direen will perform songs, some known, some new, counterbalanced by creative compositions by a small ensemble of select musicians. The stage set will be simple, a cross between a typical gig and a cabaret/theatre show, including some multi-media elements like museum wall-candy.

The evening is a voyage through New Zealand’s history from 1914 to 1939 in three parts. The first part is a prologue of songs commemorating the social reforms of the first Labour Government in New Zealand. It will be the first-ever public performance of a mini song-cycle written by Direen and poet Alan Brunton about Michael Joseph Savage. Part Two remembers New Zealand’s involvement in the first world war, in all its gore and sadness. In this part, the spotlights will shift to and fro from five collective improvisations by the respective groups, to five short brackets of poems and songs from the Direen repertoire, performed by Direen and Steve Cournane (drums). Direen views the war through the eyes of his grandfather, a driver of horse-drawn vehicles. He survived three years on the Western Front, was wounded and hospitalised in France in 1918. The evening closes with an extended improvisation of interweaving text and music, inspired by the feeling of relief at the peace and prosperity that New Zealand knew in the 1920s. This significant collective work is predicated upon the theme of playfulness using as principal guiding thread implications of the game.


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Fri 18th May
Audio Foundation, Auckland
Sat 19th May
Audio Foundation, Auckland