Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: You've got to listen to the music

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  • Samuel Scott,

    Man I'd love to see Al Green. One of the greatest for sure. Sadly though my flying to Auckland gig credits have been taken by The Pixies (and a vague hope i might get a ticket to see 3Ds/Pavement at the Powerstation).

    one thing that really doesn't work in BDOs favour is how many small internationals are touring NZ all year round these days. All the groups brought out by Galesburg/Mystery Girl...and the more obscure old school reggae acts that keep popping up. We are spoilt for choice with the sort of bands that used to get me up to the BDO and away from the main stage.

    My goodness I mean Yo La Tengo and the RZA are playing the SFBH in Wellington in the next couple of months and I don't have tickets for either. I really really love (deeply) both those acts but some sort of international act overkill has set in.

    Why are so many of these bands touring NZ all of a sudden? Is it a combo of strong NZ dollar and bands playing live coz they can't sell any CDs?

    South Wellington • Since Feb 2008 • 299 posts Report Reply

  • Tony Parker,

    Why are so many of these bands touring NZ all of a sudden? Is it a combo of strong NZ dollar and bands playing live coz they can't sell any CDs?

    I think you're right. A lot of the mildly successful/indie/up and coming acts probably make nothing from selling cd's now and playing live and selling merch is the only way to make a living. There also seems to be a ready market here for alternative/indie/alt country artists and we seem to be lapping it up at the moment due perhaps to a paucity of touring acts over the past years. I know I've been to more gigs in the last 2-3 years than I have in the previous 10-20 years-due also in part it must be said to kids leaving home and a better financial position.

    but some sort of international act overkill has set in.

    I can see how this can happen and hope I don't get to that point myself. That being said I'm not going to Wilco this time around for various reasons-the main one being it's hard to see how they can top the Opera House gig last time.

    Napier • Since Nov 2008 • 232 posts Report Reply

  • Peter Ashby,

    @Jeremy Gray

    Ooh, thanks for the headsup on that. I adore the Masha Qrella version of Pink Frost. I am seriously tempted to buy a number of those off iTunes, the advantage of being here in the UK.

    Dundee, Scotland • Since May 2007 • 425 posts Report Reply

  • Dom Coyle,

    I believe the abundance of international acts is a reflection of the market and the lack of CD sales. And lets be honest, if you are given the opportunity to tour this part of the world, this time of year, you are more than likely going to take it.
    Me, im personally over the super festival, and the same acts re emerging every couple of years. Sure their is always an couple of artists you really want to see, but to trawl through the masses to see them, no thanks. Imagine if The Pixies had decided to only play the Big Day Out, not fun at all. At least now we Pixies geeks can do it as one big sing along, instead of having some pissed kid screaming out " your fat" to Frank Black because they just dont get it or know why a bunch of oldies are shaking in excitement.
    And talking bout The Pixies, Grant Hart of Husker Du , the band that had some serious influence on The Pixies samongst others, will be in town early Feb doing his thing. New album is a killer.

    Napier • Since Jan 2010 • 1 posts Report Reply

  • Bruce Wurr,

    I saw Echo and The Bunnymen in October last year - and I was impressed and surprised at how relevant they sounded. Mind you it was in a beautiful indoor venue (the camden roundhouse) so not sure how that would translate outdoors. It was a fantastic gig, my only lowpoint being the 3 doors segues they dropped in.......'cos I really f*cking hate the doors!!

    As a firmly ensconced grumpy post 30's member the bdo this year looks to be the worst lineup for me ever.....and conversely the laneways couldn't be better. But not being there to see it makes that contribution a bit irrelevant!

    London • Since Dec 2006 • 89 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    probably make nothing from selling cd's now

    Ahem, I'm sure Mr Grigg can hit us with some numbers, but I believe music sales are still pretty profitable aren't they?

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 16741 posts Report Reply

  • Simon Grigg,

    but I believe music sales are still pretty profitable aren't they?

    Loathe to start all this again but figures indicate that globally the royalty return from recorded music was the highest in 2009 it's been in years. CD sales are of course in the tank, and will never return, but so are those of sheet music & those preset piano playing things and the recorded world survived those demises as it has the CD.

    Does anyone still buy CDs (apart of course from those Fab 4 boxes)?

    I do enjoy coming back to NZ though for the the dedicated music retail stores. Auckland still has them and I like a rummage...NZ seems to be one of the last surviving physical media markets where CDs are retailed beyond the odd K-Mart or Best Buy..

    They're very rare beasts in Asia. I don't think KL (population some 5m) has a single one, nor Shanghai (20m). I know of about 4 here in Bangkok (10m), 2 in HK (6m) and there are about 3-4 in Jakarta (pop 20-25m, but there are about a billion trestle tables selling dodgy MP3s on CD on the streets). In the US, NYC has no non-niche CD stores left now that Virgin has gone.

    Just another klong... • Since Nov 2006 • 3208 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    NZ seems to be one of the last surviving physical media markets where CDs are retailed beyond the odd K-Mart or Best Buy

    So that's why the musos all want to visit us. :)

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 16741 posts Report Reply

  • Michael Stevens,

    ZOMG Sash ! I'm not doing the BDO but he's nearly enough reason to make me go. Nostaligia for the amazing fun music he did years ago. But he should be playing at the Big Gay Out .

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 229 posts Report Reply

  • lotech,

    That would be a real step backward then - I still think that their 15 min long intro at Splore four years ago was one of the most exciting openings to a set I've ever seen, and I wasn't the only one by the way the crowd almost literally exploded when they finally all got on stage, and that carried through the rest of the set.

    Yeah that was the exact set I was thinking of - other than Shapeshifter, Kora seemed to be the next best live act to see a few years ago - maybe not so much now.

    AKNZ • Since Dec 2006 • 21 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    BTW, there's another practical reason why we're seeing so many touring artists, even in small venues (Method Man plays 420 on K Road tonight!) -- the relative strength of the $NZ. That makes it much easier for independent promoters to meet guarantees set in $US.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 18957 posts Report Reply

  • Samuel Scott,

    I'm not going to Wilco this time around for various reasons-the main one being it's hard to see how they can top the Opera House gig last time.

    Same, that gig was amazing and although I really like the new album I just can't see myself enjoying a townhall gig anywhere as much. I'm a sucker for a seated venue these days.

    South Wellington • Since Feb 2008 • 299 posts Report Reply

  • Tony Parker,

    I'm a sucker for a seated venue these days.

    Does it for me too. Could be age! Works well even in places like the SFBH. Saw Vic Chestnut/Victoria Williams there last year (thankfully considering current events) and they had the tables and chairs set out. Such a pleasurable listening experience.

    Napier • Since Nov 2008 • 232 posts Report Reply

  • bronwyn,

    a ticket to see 3Ds/Pavement at the Powerstation

    Wait, do you know something the rest of us don't? It's at the Town Hall...

    Anyone care to bet that some over-enthusiastic fans will rip three seats (metal bolts and all) from the floor like they did at the NOFX gig last year? No? Those shoegazers can get pretty raucous, you know.

    tamaki makaurau • Since Nov 2006 • 86 posts Report Reply

  • GemmaG,

    I saw True Lovers - Dion from the D4's new band - the other night at Union Pool, a great little room in Williamsburg (am overseas at the mo visiting Busytown...).

    There were probably 60 people in the venue, but the show they put on made me think "they could pull this off in a stadium". Then I remembered - they're on the BDO bill (and at the SFBH the night before).

    So ignore the lame video for "Death Threat" (I've seen better burlesque, that's for sure) and check them out if you're going along. The slower, sexier, bluesier numbers are the ones to listen out for. Boxcar Guitars' Ben sings a couple of tunes, but Dion owns the band, in that cock-rocky sorta way.

    And...

    That being said I'm not going to Wilco this time around for various reasons-the main one being it's hard to see how they can top the Opera House gig last time.

    Agreed. Plus, they're not in town at the same time as Yo La Tengo, so they can't do this.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 45 posts Report Reply

  • Rich Lock,

    Without a draw...the half dozen bands I like a fair bit (but would rather see at a small venue) are not that attractive a reason to be stuck in a sun baked sound prison for 10 hours.

    My feelings too. It was my first and probably last BDO.

    Did anyone else see this Greg Dixon column just before Christmas?

    I was horrified to find that instead of chortling at the grumpy old man, I was instead nodding along in agreement.

    I went to my first (and so far last) BDO in (if memory serves) '03. I didn't really take to what I thought was a really shitty venue, and a general feeling of being treated like I was sub-adult and therefore totally incapable of anything approaching sensible behaviour. "You're not going to allow me to drink anywhere but in this wire cage? Hmmm, OK, but this single choice of beer had better be good. Oh, it's E*p**t G**D. Yum....".

    Seriously. Mt Smart Stadium? There has to be a better venue in the Auckland region, surely? I'm sure there's plenty of good reasons why not, but how about, oh, I dunno, Cornwall Park?

    My experience has probably been coloured by having UK festivals as my yardstick. Despite valid criticism, Glastonbury is, for my money, the festival that other festivals wish they could be.

    back in the mother countr… • Since Feb 2007 • 2401 posts Report Reply

  • Adrian Wills,

    Yes the clashes are somewhat excessive this year - the Horrors and Kasabian being the strangest/most obvious one. And I also don't really know who I'll be watching in the gap before Groove Armada... perhaps I'll need the rest.

    The scheduling the last two/three years has really wounded the BDO for me, I'd never had a problem before that, but last years Holy Ghost (in what should've been a fantastic New York style DJ set) was unfortunately just not the flavour people wanted after Simian Mobile Disco entertained the greater South Auckland region with their performance.

    Not sure what's changed... perhaps it's just me, but there seems to be something done differently that is seeing weird pockets of nothing-ness, rather than constant stream of wandering adventure I've been used to.

    @AdrianDoubleYou

    Parnell, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 45 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    My experience has probably been coloured by having UK festivals as my yardstick.

    And mine was clouded by comparison with the superbly-organised Gathering. After a few times I just stopped going to BDOs.

    The unreasonable bias towards rock acts also pissed me off. Who puts Fatboy Slim in a tiny tent alongside the 'supertop' rather than on the main stage when he was one of the biggest sellers in the world at the time? The crowd crush was so full-on we had to escape while we could still breathe.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 16741 posts Report Reply

  • pollywog,

    The crowd crush was so full-on we had to escape while we could still breathe.

    hah yeah that was awesome. you threw your hands in the air and couldn't bring em back down again cos of the crush:)

    oooh just cracked my centurion post.

    somewhere else • Since Dec 2009 • 152 posts Report Reply

  • Rich Lock,

    Does anyone still buy CDs?

    Well, without wanting this thread to become infected*, I do. But not usually by walking into a shop with cash and walking out with a product. Online, mostly.

    And, oddly enough, more or less for the same reasons as Gregg Gillis AKA Girltalk, the de facto poster boy for the Copyleft movement. I read an interview recently (which I can't find online) where he says something like: 'I love buying CD's, I love buying albums, taking them home and reading the liner notes and listening to the tracks the artist decided were good enugh to make it onto the album, in the order they selected'. Which is more or less why I buy an album, rather than source the music elsewhere. He also acknowledges that he's probably a member of the last generation which will ever think of music in that way.

    Playing the boiler room at the BDO - 3:50 - 4:50 slot. Here's a clip of him 'live', forcing Kelly Clarkeson and Trent Reznor into unholy matrimony from minute 1:55 onwards.

    *All your threads are belong to The Scottish Thread.

    back in the mother countr… • Since Feb 2007 • 2401 posts Report Reply

  • Geoff Lealand,

    Did anyone else see this Greg Dixon column just before Christmas?

    I did and I agreed with him, for it fits my sole BDO experience (to see Arcade Fire). But I wonder who the 40,000+ who have bought tickets for this year's bunfight might be.

    Screen & Media Studies, U… • Since Oct 2007 • 2316 posts Report Reply

  • Rich Lock,

    mine was clouded by comparison with the superbly-organised Gathering.

    A mate from back in the UK was at 'The Gathering' for one of the years. Despite the fact it apprently rained continuously, I've heard nowt but good things. Why is no-one doing anything like that anymore?

    The unreasonable bias towards rock acts also pissed me off.

    When I did my 'reverse OE' back in '95, I came over to NZ and Oz with my head full of bangin' choons and hopes of carrying on my hedonistic illegal warehouse rave ways. But more or less all the locals over here I tried to sound on on the subject gave me fairly blank looks. I tried playing some 'Prodigy' to some people and got a reaction along the lines of 'turn that electro doof doof shit off!'. I may have been looking on the wrong places, but I get the impression that that sort of...lifestyle?...was fairly slow to catch in here.

    back in the mother countr… • Since Feb 2007 • 2401 posts Report Reply

  • Bruce Wurr,

    yep, sit down gigs are far superior for me these days, especially having spent some recent ones stuck in sweaty middle aged men's armpits while they try and relive their punk days by throwing lots of beer in the air and attempting to mosh. I know some people like that, and a few years back I would have been more than happy, but not now.....

    And yes, guilty of still buying cds......I've made significant investments over the years in both the cd and vinyl format, and I can't see myself switching to mp3s any time soon.....which is a shame 'cos it's quite hard to get either these days so online is the retail option really.

    London • Since Dec 2006 • 89 posts Report Reply

  • pollywog,

    A mate from back in the UK was at 'The Gathering' for one of the years. Despite the fact it apprently rained continuously, I've heard nowt but good things. Why is no-one doing anything like that anymore?

    well there is/was PHAT

    the G was pretty spesh tho until financial mismanagement and a bit of egomania set in.

    and then the vibe went to the first 2 'alpine unity's' until the canadian promoters got busted for class A drugs

    but i guess everyone lost interest once the lighting maestro died a few years back

    RIP Mike Smith, you were the man !!!

    somewhere else • Since Dec 2009 • 152 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    you threw your hands in the air and couldn't bring em back down again cos of the crush

    I'd forgotten about that part of the 'experience'.

    I get the impression that that sort of...lifestyle?...was fairly slow to catch on here

    Nothing near the scale of the UK with their close complementary markets in Europe and the USA, viable career path for DJs, bigger population and cheap party drugs.

    However for example the Gathering attracted crowds of up to 10k and there were often about a thousand for visiting DJs at Auckland gigs (and that was just drum'n'bass - way more for the house ones). Admittedly our equivalent to those dodgy warehouse raves were mostly only a few hundred people big and without the thrill of outwitting the cops. Well, most of the time.

    Why is no-one doing anything like that anymore?

    Events like Phat and Splore are keeping the outdoor tradition alive even if only once every year or two. And there are undoubtedly others I'm no longer aware of due to my advanced lack of fitness and impending senility..

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 16741 posts Report Reply

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