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Live Review: A Low Hum House

Live Review: A Low Hum House

Friday 9th January, 2015 10:00AM

The announcement of A Low Hum House came as a pleasant surprise to those disheartened by the final Camp A Low Hum in early 2014. Yeah, that time it rained non-stop for four days in Wainuiomata and an entire festival got the early stages of hypothermia. But, as unpleasant as it was - that’s not what Camp should be remembered for. There was always a laid-back atmosphere, amazing local and international acts and a lack of aggressive dickheads that plague most summer festivals in this country. A Low Hum House had a similar feel but on a much smaller scale, and was held entirely within The Crossing Backpackers - a ski-lodge near National Park Village at the base of Mt Ruapehu. Those lucky enough to get tickets (they sold out in a few minutes) were treated to a line-up of some of New Zealand’s best alternative acts in a unique and picturesque setting over New Year's Eve.

In typical A Low Hum style, the line-up wasn’t revealed until arrival at the lodge's reception, where it was modestly typed up on a piece of A4 paper. The stage was located in the kitchen/dining room and guests were dotted between various dorm rooms in the lodge and tents in a field close by. Ticket-holders had an all-access pass to the entire complex; a games room, movie room, spa pool and communal kitchen. It was like sedating the teachers at school camp and then running wild in the halls.

The opening set was performed by Sheep, Dog & Wolf (aka Daniel McBride) who was accompanied by an all-new five-piece band. McBride’s fluent multi-instrumentation and complex layers of melody were an uplifting start to the festival, effortlessly summoning people from their dorm rooms into the crowd. Eddie Crawshaw’s manic drumming combined with dual saxophones and four-part vocal harmonies made for an interesting watch, easily becoming an instant highlight early in the event. Race Banyon bought in the New Year, kicking off straight after the countdown to midnight with a fitting party set that kept spirits high. Next was the hypnotic drone of Wellington psychedelic trio Mermaidens, before hip-hopper Tommy Ill took the stage, sealing the deal on a great night of music to welcome 2015.

The second night’s bill was just as (if not more) jam-packed than the first, and this time the weather was on our side. By mid-afternoon everyone was drinking off their hangovers in the sun, and ready to settle in for another night of music. A clear standout was Shocking Pinks with an upbeat, entrancing flavour of bassline driven shoegaze. Other highlights were Auckland’s Trust Punks with their noisy triple guitar line-up, Career Girls’ disorientating set of genre-mashing bangers, and tight LA-based band Traps PS (pictured above).

The eclectic mix of electronic acts and live bands meant the flow of the festival wasn’t ideal – but it worked. Each set was 30-40 minutes long, with an electronic act placed in-between each band. This meant there were breaks between each set, giving everyone a chance to return to their rooms, fill their drinks, rest their ears - and return. It was like a really well organised house party; great people, chill vibes, amazing bands. Here’s hoping Blink organises similar events in future.

Outside A Low Hum House

Secret Knives

Sheep, Dog and Wolf

Shocking Pinks 


Finn Johansson

Review and photos by Ezra Simons


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