New Zealand music is starting to have a wider reach internationally, with the explosion of Lorde in the US pop charts, the success of Broods throughout the UK and Flight of the Concords capturing TV and Movie markets, they are opening the minds of international audiences. New Zealand music is becoming synonymous with success and greatness which is an awesome thing when you’re an expat living so far from home.
This is an amazing time for expats as it means that venues, promotors and bands are more willing to risk touring smaller bands and artists internationally, bringing some of those sweet sounds of home to this far flung city of Vancouver.
In the last month we have been lucky enough to have Gin Wigmore and Katchafire visit, both performing at Venue on Granville St, and I was lucky enough to attend both concerts. Gin is a big name back home, as in Auckland her throaty rasp reminds me of drinking beers on the beach and calling in sick to work so I can go on long weekend road trips. Her voice is distinctive: a menacing soul-pop wail that sits somewhere between Amy Winehouse and Janis Joplin. Flirting on the outskirts of her songs are also elements of country, jazz and blues. Her style is so hard to pin down but creates such nostalgia that all I want to do is jump in a plane and go visit friends back home. She didn’t disappoint on stage either, throwing the ‘F’ bomb at the crowd whenever she stopped to talk to the audience. She has a humble way of commanding the stage, rocking out with her band, and overall looking like she really enjoys herself.
Next came Katchafire, and these guys did not disappoint. Talk about feeling like I was back home. Venue may not have been the best place for them but the crowd really didn’t give two shits. Every kiwi in Vancouver must have come out to dance along to their silky smooth reggae beats and austere sounds. I found myself near the front of the crowd dancing up a storm of loose limbs and dropped hip thrusts. For such a large crowd you would think there would have been some pushing and tension but there was none, everyone was in the best mood. You would turn around, say Kia Ora to someone new then have a boogy together. This is the closest to home I have felt since I moved to Vancouver. All the beautiful kiwi faces, both on stage and in the crowd, made me miss those warm summers on the beach back home, and pies, god I miss pies.
So overall it was great to get a little bit of New Zealand here in Vancouver and we’re lucky that such artists are able to travel and tour here. It means we get to feel a connection back to home and feel the nostalgia, for as wonderful and beautiful as Vancouver and Canada is, it’s no New Zealand.
– by Anthony Hore