"There's something very special about being yourself " - A chat with Northlane.


Touring on the back of their fourth studio album Mesmer, Sydney based metal core outfit Northlane are set to play New Zealand this weekend, the 25th in Wellington, the 26th in Auckland. Released back in March of 2017, Mesmer received critical acclaim,  being the third Northlane album in a row to debut in the top 5 in the ARIA Charts. 

Ahead of their tour, I had a fun chat their vocalist, a really open Marcus Bridge. We had talked about the band recording with a psychologist, challenging stereotypes and being authentic, it was a nice time, have a listen!

I caught Northlane at New Years at Perth's RedFest last year, it was a dope show and know they will be bringing a sick live performance to our shores, so may I encourage you to cop your tickets here! 

Watch Out! It's AlexisOnFire...



It's an exciting time for punk and hardcore kids young and old (read, me) lately in Auckland as the bands we grew up singing along to regroup, reform and re-visit our stages.  The Bleeders before Christmas and LA's post hardcore outfit LetLive tonight are being followed up by AlexisOnFire, all the way from Canada next Monday the 23rd of January. The much loved group are playing their first show in New Zealand in ten years, at the iconic Power-Station, and tickets are still available online. It's hard not to sound over-hyped and use all the tired old adjectives when describing a show, but having seen them play a couple of times, I promise it'll be a high-energy emotionally charged performance.  

The band first formed in 2001, and released four full length albums (Alexisonfire, WatchOut!, Crisis and Old Crows/Young Cardinals) ,  before breaking up in 2012, only to reform in 2015.  Some readers will know the beautiful voice of vocalist Dallas Green from his solo work as City and Colour, or guitarist and backing vocalist Wade McNeil as the singer of Gallows. Throughout their work, the band delves into  both the personal and political, with songs such as Sons Of Privilege   critiquing American policy and well, privilege,  while Rough Hands is one of the most heart rending break up dirges you'll ever hear.  

I've a couple of tickets to give away, check out my instagram, for how to win 'em!


Speed dating with letlive!


So I had dope time chatting this morning with Jason Aalon , founding member and vocalist of LA based post-hardcore band letlive.  Today's interview quickly got interesting, as Jason talked about society, and  growing up mixed race in America and indeed what that experience was like in the hardcore scene, which, for all it's often progressive politics is very white and male dominated.  

I want to create confronting art that challenges people in various ways, obviously sonically, but also ideologically, intellectually..

It was refreshing to have a conversation of depth after a few minutes, and having been involved in the hardcore scene and punk scene for over nearly 20 years myself, it never ceases to make me smile that more often than not people who've never met before quickly find common bonds through music and the message in it, in this world wide community.  

I feel like for so many years I’ve felt foreign in my own country

letlive's latest, and fourth,  album If I'm The Devil...came out on Epitaph Records in June of 2016, and I have to say it's a refreshing listen. While keeping lots of the punk aggression letlive are known for, it takes elements of new wave, rock and even some hip hop production elements to create something sonically interesting and adventurous and I totally recommend it. 

 letlive are touring Australia, starting in Brisbane on January the 8th 2017, and hitting New Zealand for one show only at the Kings Arms on January 18th. You can buy tickets to the New Zealand show here.  Come through and dance to music you can think to. 

Our Summer Of Discontent


I started writing a gushy post about all the amazing heavy bands I was excited to see in January, only to have my hopes and dreams to sing along to old jams and enthusiastically nod my head to new ones shattered with the news that Australia's Soundwave festival has been cancelled. All the bands that were set to play were spring-boarding from Australia to play shows here, but without Soundwave, that's not financially viable for them; so heavy music fans will have to thrash YouTube videos to get their fix. It'll keep us out of the sun I suppose, which is great if you've a penchant for fair skin and wearing black. Silver linings. 

Bring Me The Horizon

First up, Bring Me The Horizon were scheduled to return to Auckland touring their amazing new album 'That's The Spirit' on January the 21st, but melancholic hearts the city over are more despondent than usual, now that they've postponed the show to an as yet later date. 

Soon after that, West Fest was bringing an amazing line up to Auckland on January the 30th, but that's highly doubtful now due to Soundwave's cancellation. All the Australian acts have cancelled, and I'm picking the other internationals will too. Sweden's reformed Refused were who I was especially looking forward to seeing in New Zealand for the first time. Their latest album Freedom, is an awesome return to the stage. It's been 17 years since they released their ground breaking 'The Shape of Punk To Come', and their June 2015 release picked up where they left off with genre blending song structures and politically charged lyrics. But alas, chances are we won't get to see them this time around. Le sigh. 

Bridgeport Connecticut's Hatebreed would have been on the same bill, returning to New Zealand for the fourth time. They've crushed some smaller club shows on headlining tours here over the years, and slayed the crowd at the Big Day Out 2005, so it would have been a fun time to see them again. Whether they have a new generation following them in Aotearoa I'm not sure, but I know a lot of people who would have got baby sitters to see them again. 

NOFX were headlining the bill, again no strangers to our shores, last headlining a show with Bad Religion in Auckland back in 2009.  Whilst interviewing vocalist Fat Mike and him being a cock put me off the band; I'm certain their loyal following of punk rockers would have turned out en masse to see them.  

Rounding out the show were local boys done good Antagonist A.D, a reformed Bleeders, Saving Grace and Dawn of Azazel. It was set to be an awesome show that ticked a lot of boxes for a lot of people, but chances are slim it'll eventuate now. 

Still, my inner emo gets to sing along to some screamy jams when Asking Alexandria plays the Power Station on April the 5th. Buried In Verona and Bless The Fall support them, so it's a show that'll be sure to be popular with the kids and is set to sell out.

Recent well populated shows from Parkway Drive and Amity Affliction in October and December respectively have reminded me that there's still a passionate following for heavy music in New Zealand (well, Auckland at least), and a new generation of fans that mosh away their angst and growing pains.  

All this makes me wonder why radio ignores the demographic. Bring Me The Horizon, Parkway Drive and The Amity Affliction have all had a lot of chart and commercial success in Australia and further afield but are ignored here. Zane Lowe's taste making Apple Music show Beats One, debuted the singles and gave a lot of love to Bring Me’s That’s The Spirit for examplebut no one here seems to want to rock the boat in a seemingly risk adverse environment. That said, everything is cyclical and trends are cyclical, so hope springs eternal that a station out there might see the light. Gotta keep that PMA right?