Beatniks, turkeys and MetroGnomes

Music Plus
with Winston Watusi

We’re about one-third of the way through New Zealand Music Month – and thank you for asking, yes, there is a plan.

It’s pretty simple: write about the many shows happening, and there are many, two weeks in advance of them, then spend two weeks looking at new local recordings including, surprisingly, a full rock opera, and my favourites of the year so far. What could possibly go wrong?

Let’s go ... The weekend of May 24-25 brings three fascinating Kiwi shows at the Jam Factory at The Historic Village.

They’re kinda “alternative” so forgive me if your tastes run more towards the mainstream.

If that’s the case, can I point you towards Totara St and most excellent Kiwi comedian Ben Hurley on Saturday, May 24, with Love Shack, “the ultimate 80s party band”, the following night; or the Songs of Bob Dylan show at the Holy Trinity Church on May 24.

A shopping trolley 

Of the Jam Factory shows, the one most piquing my interest is on Saturday, May 25, headlined by the somewhat legendary Zig Beatnik.

He is an anarchist, artist and improviser, who creates a mix of avant-garde, post-industrial music using a loop pedal, guitars, effect, amps and a shopping trolley.

Yep, shopping trolley.

Zig has been on the scene for a while.

As far back as 2014 he was a largely unknown replacement for King Loser at the third Tauranga Music Sux Fest.

Looking through old concert bills, he pops up every couple of years, often at the Jam Factory.

Actually, to be more accurate, he pops up at The Incubator, since he is a multi-disciplinary artist, with a Bachelor degree in visual art from Toi-Ohomai Institute of Technology.

Prior to that he graduated from the BOP Polytechnic with a Diploma of Music and Performance.

His 2018 Incubator exhibition, Art Anarchy, included artworks in various mediums and live music; and in 2020 he won the Friends of the Tauranga Art Gallery Award at The Miles Art Awards for his piece ‘Anarchist’.

In support is Club Meds, a fantastic four- or five-piece who recently played at the Fringe and Littleweed festivals: challenging, approachable, and playful all at once with surprising singing, spiky guitar and lush keyboards.

Made me think of Manchester for some reason.

Third on the bill are busy well-connected newbies The MetroGnomes.

Turkey The Bird 

Bookending that is, on Friday, May 24, The In’thway Mangosteen Experience, a new project from Baz Mantis and Marilyn Collins-Smith – both from bands The Grand Bazzaar and Electric Universe – which I caught at the Fringe Festival.

It consists of spoken word “her” and guitar shredding “him” to a backdrop of immersive, AI-generated psychedelia.

Performance poet Captain Houndstooth opens.

Then on Sunday afternoon it’s New Plymouth’s very likeable folk sensations Turkey The Bird.

The trio has just released single ‘Lady Who?’ and are pressing ahead with album plans despite an unsuccessful Kickstarter campaign.

Expect catchy folk songs telling uplifting stories about love and life, beautiful three part harmonies and toe-tapping rhythms.

They really are very good.

Hear Winston’s latest playlist:

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