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UTR's 2022 Favourite Music Moments

UTR's 2022 Favourite Music Moments

UTR Team and Contributors / Friday 23rd December, 2022 10:54AM

Give yourself a well-deserved round of applause, because we've nearly made it to the end of 2022. Before we bounce away from the UTR office for a summer beach break, it's time to celebrate a crazy past twelve months with our annual Favourite Music Moments round up feature. We've invited contributors to the site this year to share five of their personal favourite and most notable memories, plus some suitably spicy takes thrown in the mix [note: all opinions expressed below are the writers' own].

A massive heartfelt thank you to all the artists, gig-goers, event organisers, readers, contributors and everyone who supported UTR in one way or another in 2022. Tuck into our mega-stacked End Of Year Playlist HERE and catch you back right here in 2023!


Dimmer at The Hollywood

Tbh when the I Believe You Are A Star tour was announced it felt like a special treat just for me. As is demonstrated by this groundbreaking short film my Dad made circa 1999, Dimmer heavily features in both the soundtracks for Molli Goes Missing and my childhood, meaning I was thrilled to attend the postponed show in late September. Knowing I would likely be crying throughout, I went alone and sat in the very back row with a couple of empty seats either side of me, allowing me to spam my family with dark, blurry photos and videos without bothering anyone in phone screen light distance. A special mention here goes to Louisa Nicklin on guitar. My hero.

Student Radio Network Awards

Christmas? Shmishmas! New Years? Who cares! The only annual celebration I look forward to is the Student Radio Network Awards, and 2022’s event was a real doozy. Watching the live broadcast from the comfort of a Wine Cellar front row seat and well quenched by a special Oatly boozy milk drink, I was blown away by a stunning spectrum of entertainment courtesy of bFM, Radio Control, Radio Active, RDU and Radio One. From the surreal visual delights of the Night Lunch Liams, to an adorable 'Colourbox' dance / cosplay by Amamelia and Madison Van Staden, there was not a dull moment in sight. I even had the unique joy of sitting next to the Hans Pucket Callums when they were announced as Favourite Group. I can’t wait to celebrate with another creative boozy milk drink in 2023!


As is sometimes the way with a showbiz lifestyle, there’ll be times when a showbiz friend calls upon you for showbiz help. While it might not have been everyone’s cup of tea, I had marvellous and sodden time back in June moonlighting as a rooftop crowd filler for TVNZ’s Matariki concert Purapura Whetū — Stars of Matariki. Despite the rain and the lacklustre catering (I ate approx 10 tiny bags of chips), this little drowned rat had a blast watching live performances from Hollie Smith, Drax Project and Rob Ruha, as the audience hype team did their best to keep us hyped for two hours in the rain.

Venus Is Home - Erny Belle

Not much beats the smugness of receiving your pre-ordered vinyl of a long awaited release! Since obsessing over Erny Belle’s first singles and getting my clammy little mitts on the Venus Is Home LP, it has been thoroughly thrashed as an any-occasion spin. The debut collection has proved equally rewarding as a solo deep repeat listen, or popped on as a charming folk backdrop to your fancy dinner party. There’s truly nothing quite like hearing the lyrics of ‘Nuclear Bombs’ floating across the room — “I’m gonna go and smoke some P and put my baby in a washing machine” - while serving your guests cacio e pepe and a green garden salad. Better living everyone.

'Love Is More' - Princess Chelsea

I don’t know if it’s a particularly classy move to include a video I directed as part of my highlights, but how could I not mention driving around Chelsea Nikkel atop a giant sheep in the back of a ute? In some sort of Little Bo Peep meets Game Of Thrones fever dream, Sports Team came to the sane conclusion that Princess Chelsea had to be riding an enormous sheep in the video for her delightful song ‘Love Is More’, so we hot glued foam and sheep skin mattress covers onto a large wooden box, biffed it into the bed of truck, and topped it with a striking ewe’s head — made by Callum Devlin. Thank you Chelsea for trusting my vision.


SKILAA 'I Never Knew' Single Release Show

Sometimes, spoilers are good. For instance, I might have liked to know that Mr David Cronenberg’s Crimes of the Future (2022) was about people horny for surgery. I soon found out, and made a swift escape from the Civic Theatre about 15 minutes in, feeling embarrassed, shaken and mad. Lucky for me, I had also booked a ticket to SKILAA’s single release at the Wine Cellar that had just kicked off (also lucky, because when I arrived they were turning people away at the door!). SKILAA brought me back to life in truly celebratory fashion, performing the best set I’ve seen them play to a crowd FULLY on board... I do not know how they do the things they do, creating the deepest grooves that Should Not Work, and yet somehow. Add this band to your must-see live in 2023 list! Spoiler alert, they rule. Gig of the year, no competition.

Bananamelia! - Amamelia

I knew from the first single that this was going to be my album of the year. I’ve never heard anything like Bananamelia! And I never will again. I’m done with music. Just play this cicada soaked bubble-breakbeat joy bomb over and over until I blow up. Some of the most densely layered, personal and iconically catchy electronic music I’ve ever heard. I am addicted to Bananamelia! It works for any occasion. I am so proud to have helped make a video for this record, and I will treasure the limited edition vinyl as a family heirloom.

Going bungy jumping with The Beths

2022 will be remembered as the year that Annabel and I got 8 days to move out of a flat, but that’s a much longer story than this one. On day 5 of 8 (a Sunday), we got a call from our friends The Beths who needed some “advice” about filming themselves going bungy jumping for a music video. This was their backup plan, as plan A had been interrupted by Covid (classic). Within the space of a 30 minute phone call, we had convinced ourselves we needed to film it. In exchange The Beths would help us move flats. And that’s exactly what happened. Monday we (read: they) went bungy jumping in the morning, filmed the rest of the video in the afternoon, Tuesday we packed up our flat, and by midday Wednesday we were in a new home. The Beths can add exceptional movers to their list of accolades, which makes sense when you think about it. 50% of touring as an indie band is packing and unpacking vans.

Cake of the year (tie): No Drama artwork by Buffy and Russell Devlin, and Big Red Car by Annabel Kean

Releasing an album feels really weird. You make this big important thing, and then release it into the world for people to enjoy mostly in private and with not much feedback. Which is great, and a massive relief, but can feel oddly anticlimactic at the same time. Last time my band Hans Pucket put out an album we sort of just hit upload and, boom there it was... released. This, in hindsight, was a mistake. This time, with the support of our label Carpark Records and a full team behind it, there was a huge energy and excitement and a true celebration! But nothing made me feel more proud of our work than the cakes. Organised separately, but with a shared sentiment, we had cakes given to us at both our album launch parties, which we cut up and shared to the audience after the show. It’s a small thing, but I had a non-awkward excuse to meet everyone and say thanks for coming and give them cake. So thank you mum and dad, and Annabel for that.

'Drop Shadow' - Eyeliner, animated by Simon Ward

Simon Ward knows how to make a music video. In 'Drop Shadow', he strikes this sweet formula that he has perfected, where it seems as though the video itself is making the music. Not in a didactic, illustrative way… but in a balanced, collaborative and inspiring sense that heightens the experience of listening to the song. Take that formula, and include imagery so iconic you can feel it buried in your memory somewhere (smiling pipe face I’m looking at you!), and you’ve got yourself the video of the year. Criminally under-viewed, let’s make June 7th Drop Shadow by Eyeliner Day.


Outlier Festival

My personal favourite local live event of the year, Outlier Festival was a three day "multi-modal project platforming new electronic music from Aotearoa’s experimental and exploratory practitioners" in spaces throughout central Tāmaki Makaurau. Highlights for me included P.H.F and Big Flip The Massive's hyperactive live performances, Current Bias' body-moving compositions and huge mysterious monitor on stage, E/N/T + M4URI M4STA's transcendent scent / sound experience, Mr Sic's brain-mashing techno-noise, and Flo Wilson's moving and masterful vocal / dance performance. Mad props to artistic directors Tash van Schaardenburg and Grace Verweij for curating such an inspiring weekend with the Audio Foundation — open your ears to the accompanying compilation HERE.

Chernobyl original soundtrack performance - Hildur Guðnadóttir

I couldn't resist the opportunity to book a flight (now borders are open again) and check out this year's edition of Dark Mofo in Tasmania. Amongst the festival's many highlights (including live sets by Cate Le Bon, Kim Gordon and claire rousay) Hildur Guðnadóttir's Chernobyl original soundtrack event left a lasting impression. Standing in the centre of a massive warehouse in mid-winter Hobart's shipbuilding district (attendees needed to arrive via ferry), Guðnadóttir with Chris Watson and others performed their spine-chilling hour long sound work, surrounded by speakers and buzzing sequenced strobe lighting installed across the entire ceiling. An all-engulfing, discombobulating experience.

DARTZ - Crate Day '22

It's been a smashing year for Pōneke's DARTZ, whose debut album The Band from Wellington, New Zealand (Flying Nun) reached the number one spot on the official top 20 NZ albums chart. Amongst the team's many achievements in 2022 — including their deliciously catchy cover of 'Dominion Road' by The Mutton Birds and DARTZATHON livestream — probably the most iconic was DARTZ's Crate Day National Tour of New Zealand, when they hit the headlines playing four cities in less than 24 hours in grand celebration of our boozy Crate Day tradition.

'Streetlights' - Mokotron

Mokotron's 'Streetlights' is an electro-funk love letter to Karangahape Road's late night party district, and is to these ears Aotearoa's hottest dance track of 2022, featured on Pōneke imprint Strange Behaviour's Uneasy Clubbing compilation. It's been a breakout year for Mokotron, who took away SRN Award for Te Tohu Hopunga Puoro Mariu (Favourite EP / Mixtape) for March's TAWHITO EP — "DARK PROBLEMATIC TRAUMA-DRIVEN MĀORI ELECTRO BASS STRAIGHT OUTTA TĀMAKI MAKAURAU".

Big Earth Energy - Cool Maritime

Santa Cruz-raised electronic explorer Cool Maritime's new (age) album Big Earth Energy has been on high rotate on my home office stereo in '22. Vast and evocative in scope, the record soundtracks an imaginary ecologically-themed video game: "The player assumes the perspective of a treefrog sixty five million years ago, hopping epochs with each new level, forming a comprehensive picture of the massive changes the planet has gone through over the eons. The ultimate goal of the game is not to amass resources, defeat enemies, or gain power, but to fully witness the unfolding of one of the biggest systems of energy imaginable or as the album’s creator puts it "to explore the incomprehensibly vast energetic expression and mystery that is Earth"".


Dumb For My Age - Dateline

Look, being in a band in Aotearoa is hard when this country pops out such great music monthly and you are left green with envy and respect. Dateline and the album Dumb For My Age encapsulates that feeling. Maybe it’s because Katie Everingham and her band of local legends make it all look so easy, this album is filled with indie pop hits from start to finish. I was not at all surprised to find the title track and ‘Love Hertz’ in my Spotify wrapped this year.

Hang Low - Elliot Dawson

The DARTZ boys were driving through the Desert Road when we listened to this for the first time, and what a fitting landscape for this album to score. On Hang Low, Elliot has perfectly blended stressful but groovy compositions with some of the most clever, snarky, and downright hilarious lyrics I’ve heard this past year. If this has somehow flown under your radar (heh) then chuck it on during Christmas lunch with some rich uncles in the room.

Last Place Bar, Kirikiriroa / Hamilton

If I’m being honest, the biggest highlight in music locally for me has been the opening of Last Place bar in Kirikiriroa / Hamilton. John Moughan has curated a space that is incredibly supportive of artists, has hired the friendliest staff imaginable, and the best chef in the country (shout out Connor Moore). Hamilton rarely seems to be talked about when it comes to local music, but Kirikiriroa love their music (the three times DARTZ has played it’s been packed), and I’m grateful that John and the team are proving that with Last Place.

Rich men acting like villains form an '80s movie and trying to shut down the music

First was property mogul and drummer for band-who-buys-likes-and-views Paul Reid who left negative reviews on the Whammy Bar Facebook, a venue for which he is the landlord of, simply because they cared about patron safety. Then late last week, Scrooge enthusiast Sid McAuley made the news for threatening local venues around the inner-city apartment HE MOVED INTO RECENTLY because of live music with lawyers and calling the venues “hick bars”.

Save Our Venues

But every story has a hero, and in the case of battling the music Scrooges, this year our heroes are Taylor MacGregor and the Save Our Venues team has been absolutely crucial this year. It seems a lot of councils across the country are content in letting our amazing local live music scene die a slow death, from the mighty Crown in Ōtepoti / Dunedin, the St Asaph St venues in Ōtautahi / Christchurch, and Wine Cellar all having their own moments of potentially facing closure. The Save Our Venues team have an uphill battle on their hands, but watching them and the local music-loving community rally round them gives me faith.


Power Nap live on NYE

What better way to kick in the new year than seeing the Pizza Man himself, Power Nap performing live in an apartment on Cuba St. It was my first time seeing Chris actually play live, and I must admit that my memory of that evening is a little bit hazy. But you best believe we were boogieing the night away in and out of the pit to 'Club Dinos'!

Solar Eclipse - Clear Path Ensemble

I stumbled across Clear Path Ensemble’s latest album Solar Eclipse on accident through the powers of Bandcamp’s New Zealand tag, and I was hooked on first listen. All of the tracks from start to finish blend together so well to the point where you get lost in it. It’s become my soundtrack for doing anything and everything, and started my latest obsession with nu-jazz. It’s just so good.

Hans Pucket live at Great Sounds Great festival

I hadn’t seen Hans Pucket play in a hot minute, and they played towards the end of the night at Eyegum's Great Sounds Great gig. My friend Holly is moving overseas soon (rude), and one of our favourite songs is 'Fuck My Life'. They played it last and we lost our minds, jumping and screaming all the words. It was some of the most fun I’ve had a gig all year, and now a core memory in our friendship that I’ll always cherish.

Renaissance - Beyoncé

There’s not much to say about this album other than I absolutely adore it. It makes me feel like I’m in the club during summer, getting respectfully wasted on G&T’s and living my best life. If you ever need to be reminded that you are That Bitch, then listen to Renaissance.

Break! EP - Fazerdaze

I’ve always loved Fazerdaze from my early days on Radio One, so I was so stoked to find out that they were releasing a new EP this year. The lyricism reflecting the struggles and eventual catharsis from overcoming burnout mixed with the fuzzy guitars all work so well together, and serves as a nice reminder that it’s okay to let down your guard to embrace what’s really important to you.


The evening I went to Hello Noisy and then saw Somme

This was one of the first evenings post-2021 lockdown that I went out and didn’t feel anxious and managed to stay up late. It felt so great! The Hello Noisy show was the culmination of the 2022 Māpura Studios / Audio Foundation collaboration. Musicians from Māpura Studios played alongside established sound artists resulting in an intense and glorious experience which led me through at least three different kinds of consciousness.

Then I went to the 2021 demos tape release of drony, doom – always reliable - metal band Somme. They sounded so big and the sound was enveloping; tight and deep yet also somehow sparkly and humble.

Seeing Shepherd’s Reign at The Others Way festival

Wow. Just wow.

RuPaul’s Drag Race: Top five of 14

This live show featured the top five queens from RuPaul’s Drag Race, series 14 (Angeria, Bosco, Daya Betty, Lady Camden and Willow Pill ). The show was extreme glamour with weird dance remixes of classic hits, amazing dancing and top quality lip-syncing; a proper show. The best bit though was when my 12 year-old superfan child went up on stage and — to the cheers of 1000 audience members — completely slayed the RuPaul trivia quiz. They won signed photos of the queens, all now framed and proudly displayed in their bedroom.

When Ruby Tui led Eden Park in a singalong after the Black Ferns won the World Cup

Whatever your opinion of rugby, what the Black Ferns did was incredible and Ruby Tui leading a 42,579-strong Eden Park crowd in 'Tūtira Mai Ngā Iwi' was the perfect, joyous end to their World Cup Campaign. And Tūtira Mai was the perfect waiata. It speaks of unity and everyone who went to school in Aotearoa knows it. It’s special.

Top Gear LP - Stef Animal

I actually only just got a physical copy of this. I found it in the JB HiFi at LynnMall, next to the Bruce Springsteens. It was a glorious niche underground / middle NZ culture clash moment. It's just a great album; fun and cracking tunes made by someone with rules and unlikely technology.


Forever Music - Katie Dey

I feel like I recommend this album on Twitter every week, but it’s my favourite album of the year. Please listen to it! Here is the closing track:

Touring with Lucy Dacus and watching the shows from side of stage <3

At the last show in Wellington, we got to watch the show from the stage and it was one of the loveliest musical experiences of my life! Her band and crew were incredibly nice to us too!

Tiny Ruins & David Mitchell’s show If I Were A Story And You Were a Song

I am a fan of both Tiny Ruins and the author David Mitchell, and as part of Christchurch’s WORD Festival they did a show where Hollie reimagined some of David’s stories as songs, and David reimagined some of Hollie’s songs as short stories. I am not sure we will ever hear some of these songs ever again which is what made the experience so special! Every time I tell people about the show they think I mean the comedian/Peep Show actor David Mitchell, who I would also like to see collaborate with Tiny Ruins.

My co-worker putting on the new Nickelback album at work

Imagine going into a record store and hearing Nickelback. Also, that album has easily the worst album cover of the year.

Me finishing my third album

Can’t say anything about it but the title has 10 letters and people should try guess what it is.


Student Radio Network Awards in person

Back for its second year, and the first time in-person for Auckland and Palmy, the Student Radio Network Awards were a suitably wholesome, chaotic and joyful “For the Community, By The Community” celebration of music. The 95bFM contingent packed into the mighty Wine Cellar (love u Rohan) to watch the Dunedin-hosted action on a projector and give out some Auckland awards. Big highlights included Amamelia’s live recreation of Simon Ward’s excellent music video for 'Colourbox', the "Hands Pocket" Night Lunch gag that lives rent free in my brain, and the after party at Whammy featuring the likes of Te Kaahu, Baby Zionov and Imugi.

Bananamelia! - Amamelia

Created in chronological track order and designed to flow seamlessly from start to finish (and then back again), Bananamelia! is a galaxy-brain masterpiece. A waking dreamscape populated with cicadas, perfectly placed breaks and balearic synth pads: the album manages to be both elegantly ethereal and winkingly goofy at the same time. Vocals from Madison Van Staden (Moody V) will break your heart and leave you with a nostalgic sense of déjà vu, while field recordings subtly situate this record in humid Auckland City. Give me half a glass of Christmas Bubbles and I will talk in hyperbole about this record for hours — it’s pure magic.

95bFM Halloween Party at Whammy Bar

2022 was the year of being reminded how great it is to get a bit silly with your mates in a sweaty room, listening to some excellent live music. The 95bFM Halloween party at Whammy Bar was a great excuse to shake off some cobwebs (no pun intended), although I’m still nursing a hot glue gun scar from constructing a giant piece of toast out of felt and bamboo. Many excellent costumes abounded, but Grecco Romank surely cemented themselves as The Spookiest Band In Auckland with their performance art piece involving two cops beating up a Teletubby — truly harrowing stuff.

Girls Rock! Aotearoa / To The Front

If you’re ever feeling a bit jaded or burnt out on the state of the music industry, I highly suggest getting involved with Girls Rock! Aotearoa. There’s nothing like watching a bunch of enthusiastic and awesome kids come out of their shells and write some killer tunes to make you believe in the power of music again. With successful To The Front school holiday camps happening again in Tāmaki Makaurau and Pōneke this year — it was also so exciting to see the introduction of a brand new programme in Te Papaioea. If you have some spare coin to throw about, consider hitting up the Givealittle page!

Cate Le Bon

Pompeii by Cate le Bon has to be up there for my fave international releases of the year, so it was fitting that she was my first return to international gigging. Resplendent in magisterial robes she tore up the stage at the Hollywood Avondale with her indie all-star band and custom fluro-orange gat. Brb, off to grow back my mullet.


Dragon New Warm Mountain, I Believe In You - Big Thief

This album was a bit of a slow burn pull for me (though is usually the longest lasting), but 'Simulation Swarm' certainly stuck in my head for months. Live, Big Thief brought most of the album into a different plane of existence for me just two weeks ago. I witnessed magic within the mosh swarm myself, plus the endless talent of Adrianne Lenker and Buck Meek. Lenker was scrawny only in spoken demeanour, before she’d transform immensely into a raging folkster of rock who could shred for five solid minutes. Meek was someone I had no idea ever what chords he was playing, though it worked like a charm. Big Thief stole our breath despite the crowd — as my partner would say — being “fucking dead” in the nasty-dance department.

Taite Music Prize 2022 Ceremony

Although there were less performances this year (as I’ve been told), it being my first Taites negated any disappointment. The best parts about the awards for me was seeing Reb Fountain live and finally being able to put countless faces to artists that I’ve been listening to and writing about or helping to promote. Our country’s artists really are just a bunch of people who love music and work tirelessly at it.

Thabani Gapara at Ponsonby Social Club

I’ve been really getting more into jazz this year — in my playing and in my listening. Thabani’s sax is a definite extension of his voice in his ode to his homeland. His craft sweats into his sax, just as his band sweats out their passion. I just had to go to two of Thabani’s shows — and also get enamoured by his fellow guitarist Nathan James’s own show at PSC. PSC really showcases the best musicians in Auckland, every single week and churns out the best mix of classic genres.

Wallows at Auckland Town Hall

I never thought I’d get to see one of my favourite alt-rock trios here in Aotearoa, and they did not disappoint. It’s always crazy finally seeing songs you’ve sang and played in your room come to life — or the people in your bedroom poster too. One of my favourite little moments was watching Braeden Lemasters scale the outer steps of the stage in his classic serenade of '1980s Horror Film II', but it was really all about the rock energy that reverberated around the place that made me feel alive.

Georgia Lines at Auckland Museum

This grand space — of placed cushions and couches on pristine marble afoot a sculpture above the museum lobby — entranced me just as much as Lines’ tender charm and magnetic voice did. Apart from the sick costume changes (I want a lime green suit now), her anecdotes of stalking her now-husband post-breakup and the support of the APO solidified my admiration of well-written pop. Anyway, the museum really needs to put on more shows there, if not for us, maybe the dinosaurs.


Outlier Festival

The fervent energy and passion Tash van Schaardenburg and Grace Verweij invested into Outlier makes most ‘labours of love’ look like a council road worker’s smoko. They wrangled an outstanding lineup of experimental electronic musicians from around the motu to perform across four shows (one of which was in a gorgeous church, stained glass and all). Far from just a weekend full of bleeps, bloops & breaks — Outlier brought ‘The Community’ together in a way that felt like receiving a warm hug from your nana. A rare Sunday sighting of i.e. crazy at Artspace wrapped up one of my most treasured experiences as an audience member ever.

Bananamelia! – Amamelia

Sample me like one of your French girls... I’ve been driving around listening to this album, grinning ear to ear til my face hurts. Amelia “Dusty Old Bones, Full Of Green Dust” Berry has injected every song with her down-home brand of romantic wistfulness, coloured by her extensive sample library of exhumed vintage synthesizers. And naturally it’s chocka with breakbeats. Every time the cicadas start at the beginning of 'Colourbox', I feel them rattling in my heart.

LEAO live at Achos

David Feauai-Afaese is the walking definition of a humble skuxxx. Whilst their compositions which blend traditional Samoan songs and post-punk are worthy of a dissertation (I’m serious), it’s their presence on stage which has inspired me most this year. They radiate love and kindness which fills any room they perform within in a manner that touches something deep inside of me that might just be a soul.

Cryer - Grey Lynn Church gig

Gorgeous, gorgeous church full of gorgeous, gorgeous people. Watching Charlie play their haunting set of funereal dirges whilst the sun dipped through the stained glass broke me. If you haven’t seen Cryer, change that in 2023. Their music is best accompanied by a certain activity which I’ll leave you to guess at. Hint: it’s in the name.

tHe cOMmUnItY

I’m going to be a big old sap and just say that this year I’ve felt so privileged to share the company of the people that make Tāmaki Makaurau’s music scene feel like home. It’s quite frankly been a shit year, but I’ve been immeasurably lucky to have spent it amongst such an inspiring, loving and superfluously talented collection of people. Thanks for tolerating me — I love you all. Keep creating, keep supporting each other, hardcore will never die and so on.


Danger Mouse & Black Thought - Cheat Codes

Absolutely flawless production from the king and next level zero fucks rapping.

Racing + Lunavela at Auckland's The Powerstation

We were really grateful to play with Racing at The Powerstation and stoked on their new album. It was really cool to reconnect with old friends from back in the day.

This is a bit of a throwback... but I was telling a friend the other day, how my all time favourite New Zealand musical moment, more than any song was Home Brew taking a goat to the Music Awards. A+.

Imposter Syndrome & Mostly Instrumentals - Lunavela

Lunavela album three will be out next year, then I'm moving back to London.

'Sometimes' - Princess Chelsea, Mattyeux

All the right feels.


Half Hexagon

Promoters, journalists and publicists of Aotearoa rejoice. The coveted "SUPERGROUP" moniker was set to be unleashed yet again. Yolanda Fagan, Julien Dyne and James Milne possessed by the spirit of Giorgio Moroder. We all knew it would be good but that first Half Hexagon show at Wine Cellar was special along with everything they've done since. Let it be known that this tweet was approx. 60 secs into their first song and you heard it here first.

Dimmer at Hollywood Avondale

After delays on delays we finally got to see Shayne P. Carter and his all star band play as Dimmer in its full incredible form at The Hollywood Avondale. It knocked my little socks off and to make it an extra special occasion, I seduced the elusive Rohan Evans away from his Wine Cellar habitat to join me on a date. I got to chat to Shayne for UTR before the show and was pleased to confirm with the man himself that he very much is a Rock Star.

Dochdwy Road - Grown Downz

Grown Downz are an unbelievable band live and what a bloody joy to cop their first album on vinyl this year. Ripping punk two piece family band that goes so goddamn hard and honestly Joel and Ellie are just the best. Tauranga's finest and the best Welsh musical export since Tom Jones.

Best new friend - Jones Chin of Dunedin's Crown Hotel

This year I joined the team at Save Our Venues and in my travels working with our grassroots venue community I finally got to spend some time with the living legend that is Jones Chin of Dunedin's Crown Hotel. Jones has the most incredible first hand stories of the history of music in Dunedin and the best post-gig snack game in the country. A New Zealand icon. And a special shout out to Save Dunedin Live Music for everyone they are doing to protect the future of The Crown.

'Lost Memories' - Vanessa Worm

I'm a sucker for production values and the music video for Vanessa Worm's 'Lost Memories' gave me my cinematic music video fix for the year. Proper banger too.

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