News of the Blues in New Zealand
Weblog HOME|NZBlues News|NZBlues website

Friday, June 6, 2008


It has been a while since we provided an update to - Rick Bryant has been writing songs, maybe we will spend a day with him on camera preparing for the next set of gigs. The best of these will be presented in various smaller formats in upcoming shows. Watch for details on

In the meantime, head over to the Windy City Strugglers and keep up to date. The Strugglers are one of the best blues bands you could find - they have been around since the early days when Bill Lake took an interest in great music we all know about now, Muddy Waters, Howlin' Wolf. Rick Bryant joined and the Strugglers started their long road.

Roots music, expertly rendered with classly simplicity ringing with an authenticy that's rare to behold. It's that kind of sound that everyone gets - some of it - most of it - is unreasonably good.

It's going to have to be a big year for The Strugglers, one of these years. This is their 40th anniversary, you see...

It was sad to hear of the death of one of the real greats Mr Bo Diddley - who unfortunately passed away this last week.

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Auckland Gigs

As Gray Barlett celebrates his 50th Anniversary gig at Sky City Theatre (tickets are under $60) and NZ London Jazz for free - Nathan Haines and Chris Cox play Sky City Bar 3: Cnr Victoria and Federal Streets, Auckland CBD each Sunday in May.

Producers - if you want to get blogging rights to this blog (for NZ Blues gigs only, please) write to me and convince me that you know what you are talking about and I may invite you.

Interested in any bands, youtube posts you want to see on this site.

Perfect Pitch

Useful pitch training programme called Perfect Pitch.

Saturday, March 29, 2008


Split Enz at the Vector Arena

Neil Finn image (APN) NZ Herald review

Split Enz on Saturday night.

Consumate performance by the seasoned giants of the New Zealand sound, whatever that was. Their legacy of popular songs is both dream like and crazy happy trips into the fantasitc - elements of science fiction and pure rompping insanity decorate solid tunes that your memory will never release you from. Unlike many of the hooky tune genre, Enz songs are a joy to have rattling about in the chambers of internal radio. Their real genius is however the compositions and ideas in their music. Evident in an early roaring instrumental and other unreleased material from the seventies that could just as easily be released today and feel relevant. Reviewing rock shows is itself an art and I do not pretend to do that, but if I can make some sketchy impressions of the experience of the concert - it was that it left me with the feeling of a perfectly rounded show. A theatrical experience that held more sway that most dramatic productions. Staging with this level of visual resonance - is worthy of filming, proper filming with a director. The light show and back drops melded with the music - creating a new world.

The band were flawless. Tim Finn's lurching dance style recalled the asylum values of early Enz. Why the early Enz is so terrifically menancing - something quite unique in his voice. His solo in the middle of the show was joined by Eddie Rayner and some Neil. Neil's role in the band never felt lopsided, well nearly never. Consumate genius songwriter that he is.

Highlights of the night included Six Months in a Leaky Boat and History Never Repeats - I just wish I had this show on video.

How did the Vector Arena cope with the Enz?

Split Enz wisely played with a moderate mix. The venue has a concrete floor and lots of reflective surfaces that limits how much noise can be poured into the venue. With a moderate mix, however - the audience can hear every word and leave after the gig with their hearing intact. The floor is covered with seating. As soon as the band came on, everyone stood. Making the seating a danger and then the security felt they had to police the aisles. It was all a little pointless. Put a layer of rubber over the painted concrete and make a giant dance floor. Otherwise, the venue was suprisingly good. The lighting rig is spectacular when driven this well.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Sharon Jones - review

Sharon Jones and The Dap-Kings was the standout act at WOMAD playing on both Saturday and Sunday nights.

Check out the NZ Herald review.

Friday, March 14, 2008

So many acts...

Ray Davies (of The Kinks) and his band play the Civic Theatre on Monday 24th March. March 22nd for 12 hours the Blues Fest NZ plays in Dakota Fields, Coromandel and of course March 14th - 16th is WOMAD. Would love to hear of readers experiences at any of these gigs. Beyond talking about it, I have no involvement with any of them, but I have never professed much more than an interest in the Blues and over the years this has turned to a love of what I hear and see. But someone else's festival, no cameras thank-you - and I am basically a photographer rather than a musicologist; a photographer who has some ability with digital video production. There is a lot of interest in these events in the media and plenty of people will go making the blues a kind of mainstream part of Kiwi cultural identity. It always was, we just were not so much aware of it, but kept it secret from each other, from ourselves and of course from the world. Haven't things changed. It is not just us, it is the world. And more and more see our land as the epitome of what is good about preserving nature and protecting it from our hands. One way is to make music. Hard to say why it works, but it works real good.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Hollie Smith article

Hollie Smith and other blues artists interviewed in the NZ Herald with the usual questions about the Blues - they are all playing at this weekend's Coromandel Blues festival - on the news page of