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Time flies for Ladyhawke


 

Whether you’ve been a supporter from her first eponymous debut album or a more recent convert, you’ll be pleased to hear 2021 has been dubbed the comeback year for beloved Kiwi singer Ladyhawke (Phillipa Brown). Jess Murray catches up with the songstress to discuss new music, mental health and where to next.

 

 

After a brief hiatus; you’re back with your fourth album, Time Flies. Describe the sound of the new album.
I think it’s a warm nostalgia trip! Synths, hooky guitar and bass lines everywhere.

You’re embarking on an Australasian tour to promote the album, performing in Christchurch on July 16. What can concert-goers expect from the night?
I’ll be playing a huge amount of my back catalogue, especially my first record, a couple of tracks I’ve never performed live off that record too. And of course, the new record!

You’ve recently collaborated with talented NZ duo, Broods, to create Guilty Love (which was a massive success). Are there any other artists that you are hoping to work with?
Everything’s all finished now for this album, but I love collaborating, especially with other artists. I’d love to see what me and Aldous Harding could come up with! I absolutely love her and her music, so that could be a really fun one!

Mental Health is an important discussion in New Zealand. Last year was challenging for you, struggling with post-natal depression and being diagnosed and treated for skin cancer. Can you tell us a bit about the help you received and how important it is for New Zealanders to have access to those services?
Me talking about my mental health issues has been something I really made sure to do. I know that when you’re going through all that stuff, you want to know there’s a light at the end of the tunnel, and that you’re not alone, even if it is just a Kiwi musician talking about it in the press. I want people going through similar things to know they’re not alone. I think mental health is so important, every single New Zealander should have access to therapy, and it should no longer be looked at as something you just need to “cheer up” from. I found a good therapist through a friend recommendation. I think if you go to see someone and you don’t connect with the therapist, don’t give up. It took me a long time to find someone – mostly because it took me a long time to pluck up the courage and find the energy to do it.

Looking to the future; what is on the cards for you in the next 12 months on and off stage?
I just want to do more and more music! I have a few things keeping me busy and excited. I stream on twitch, just gaming and hanging out at this stage, but my goal is to make music live on stream. I also have an instrumental side project just for fun called Sleepwalker, it’s a great outlet for me and inspires me to keep making more music!

 


 

Guitar legend rocks on


The first international performer in 12 months to cross the Trans-Tasman border without quarantine, Australian journeyman John Butler is bringing his music to Christchurch this month.
The guitar-roots rock legend will front the John Butler Trio (JBT) in its only South Island concert at the iconic Isaac Theatre Royal in Christchurch on Saturday, May 15.

 

 

The multi-award-winning artist was to have headlined the Bluesfest at Byron Bay earlier this year, until Covid-19 canned that.

The group’s seventh studio album HOME debuted at number one on the ARIA Charts and was nominated for Best Independent Blues & Roots Album at the 2019 AIR Awards.

John is a journeyman from way back. “I started playing the guitar when I was 16, and I’m 43 now,” he recalls.

“I began busking instrumental songs when I was 21. As a teenager I used to write songs just for myself, so it took me a while to make my first demo tape. I remember the first person who asked me for a tape came back two or three times – and when I still didn’t have one, she walked away shaking her head. I realised at that point that I really had to get off my butt and do it.”

That first cassette sold over 3500 copies – a number that a fair few signed artists would be happy with, let alone a busker. Many performers would have stopped right there, content to jam their youth away, but Butler knuckled down to building a profile.

“It was a gradual progression from busking to playing in bars and clubs,” he remembers.

“I did gigs in the week and busked at the weekends, but as more and more gigs came along, I just wasn’t around to busk anymore. I had all these songs written, so I decided to share my act with drums and bass and formed the John Butler Trio.”

Butler’s recorded catalogue has paved the way to major success, although he has never rested on his laurels. In the mid-2000s he set up his label plus a charitable organisation – The Seed Fund – which provides grants to artists and musicians. His involvement in a long list of environmental campaigns is as integral to Butler as his music.

“Ah, don’t get me started!” he chuckles. “I’m laughing here, because otherwise I’d have to cry.

The hydraulic fracking that’s going on in Australia and the UK and USA is out of control, and completely evil.

They’re messing with our water now, and I like clean water and clean air. Does that make me a fundamentalist?

I don’t think so. At least the environment is a mainstream issue now, not a left-leaning concern as it used to be. Personally, I pick and choose where I can be involved, and where I can be most potent to a campaign.”

Add Butler’s perspective and worldview to the new songs on HOME and it’s no wonder that they add up to such an immersive experience.

Crowd-stirring anthems feature in the form of Tahitian Blue and Running Away, as well as atmospheric drones in Wade in The Water.

If you’re looking for big country-rock sounds, look no further than Miss Your Love.

 


 

All about Ashburton


We catch up with what’s happening in our favourite little southern spot

 


Marty Down Under – NZ Harvest Farmers Bash (South Island)
Date: 7 March
Location: 160 Main Street, Methven, Ashburton District (Mount Hutt Memorial Hall)

Marty Mone has many titles; singer-songwriter, performer, agricultural contractor and trucker. Uniquely in a category of his own, this singer from Castleblaney is heading to little ol Ashburton as a part of his Marty Down Under tour.


Evening with Lance Burdett
Date: 9 March
Location: Hotel Ashburton

If you’re a TED talk fanatic and wished there were more events like it in New Zealand, then we have a solution for you. Lance Burdett is a leader in his field and a safety, wellness and resilience expert. He’s worked with the police, the military, emergency services, prisons and even the FBI. Get a better understanding on how the human brain deals with pressure and handles situations. Leave feeling enriched with knowledge.


International Comedy Magician: Brendan Dooley
Date: 13 March
Location: Ashburton Trust Event Centre

Who doesn’t love to laugh? Combine that with a bit of magic and you’ve got a family-friendly event that has become an audience favourite worldwide. With ‘NZ’s Top Comedy Magician Award’ in his back pocket, it’s hard to deny this is an act that you must see.


 

Kickin’ round Kaiapoi


It’s a summer of celebration, concert and community in Kaiapoi this year. Make the most of this little town in the Waimakariri District.

 

 

KAIAPOI COMMUNITY GARDEN 10TH BIRTHDAY CELEBRATIONS
Date: 8 March
Location: Kaiapoi Community Garden

Ten years of anything is definitely worth celebrating and Kaiapoi knows how to do so in style. Birthday cake, live music, activities for the kids and more; who doesn’t love a happy and wholesome day in the beautiful setting of the community garden.
It’s a day for all ages and won’t break the bank because admission is free.

www.eventfinda.co.nz/2020/10th-birthday-celebrations/kaiapoi


JUDAH KELLY – FEELS LIKE HOME NZ TOUR
Date: 4 April
Location: Kaiapoi High School

He was the winner of The Voice Australia 2017 and has been making leaps and bounds in the music world ever since. Now he’s bringing his tour across the ditch for an all-ages event.
Just for $33.75 (incl. booking fee) for adult general admission and $23 (incl. booking fee) for students, this is an unmissable event.

www.eventfinda.co.nz/2020/judah-kelly-feels-like-home-nz-tour/kaiapoi


KAIAPOI FARMERS MARKET
Date: Every Saturday 9am to 12pm
Location: Morgan Williams Reserve, Charles Street, Kaiapoi

Taking place every Saturday throughout the year, in rain or shine, this is an event that you’ll want to get to at least once this summer. With fresh, locally grown produce accompanied with a welcoming atmosphere makes for a perfect combination.

www.visitwaimakariri.co.nz/products/kaiapoi-farmers-market/


 

Ashburton: an all-rounder


When it comes to things to do, Ashburton is an all-rounder, with something for everyone. We’ve pulled together some of our favourite upcoming events.

 

HOLI FESTIVAL OF COLOURS
Date: Saturday 15 February
Location: Ashburton Domain

If you want to go to an event that is both family-friendly and guilt-free (zero waste, alcohol free and smoke free) – this is the one for you.

Celebrate the diverse culture that is ever-growing in Ashburton.

Henna tattoos, local musicians and bands, market stalls, spot prizes and the unique experience of partaking in a Holi Festival… what’s not to be excited about?

www.facebook.com/ChristchurchHoli/


TUTUS ON TOUR 2020
Date: Saturday 14 March
Location: Ashburton Trust Event Centre

The Royal New Zealand Ballet presents Tutus on Tour 2020 – an event that is suitable for all ages.

The performance features tailor-made dancing created by local talent as well as world-class superstars.

With affordable tickets and only hour-long performances, this event is perfect to pass some Saturday spare time.

www.ateventcentre.co.nz/tutus-on-tour-2020-rnzb/


TINA – SIMPLY THE BEST
Date: Sunday 22 March
Location: Ashburton Trust Event Centre

How could you turn down a Tina Turner tribute – she’s simply the best!

The stage production will feature live vocals from Caroline Borole accompanied by a band, brass section, backing vocalists and dancers.

Don’t miss out on a night of Tina classic hits from the 60s, 70s, 80s & 90s.

www.ateventcentre.co.nz/tina-simply-the-best/


 

Showbiz Christchurch

Back to back Broadway hits: you’ll get a kick out of Showbiz Christchurch’s mid-winter concert Broadway Hitmen

Back to back hits from two of the biggest names on Broadway, Cole Porter and Andrew Lloyd Webber, will be performed at the Isaac Theatre Royal, with four performances from 13-15 July.

Showbiz Christchurch
Charlotte Taylor will feature as a soloist in Broadway Hitmen. Photo Wendy Riley

American born Porter wrote more than 800 songs across a five-decade career, conquering both Broadway and Hollywood. His soaring melodies, offset with urbane and witty lyrics, gave rise to his signature musical genre known as ‘the Cole Porter song’. Iconic musicals like Anything Goes, Can Can and Kiss Me Kate remain stage and screen classics, finding new audiences with every decade; his greatest songs covered by modern stars from Michael Bublé to Lady Gaga.
British composer Andrew Lloyd Webber is arguably the best-known name in modern musical theatre. The first composer to have four musicals playing simultaneously on Broadway since 1953, he has written some of the world’s most loved and successful musicals including Evita, The Phantom of the Opera, Jesus Christ Superstar and CATS.
Broadway Hitmen features favourites from these two musical theatre hit makers performed by an onstage orchestra under the baton of Ravil Atlas, along with soloists and a large chorus.
Amongst the soloists will be West End singer/actor Nic Kyle, who toured with Elaine Page in 2012; soprano Charlotte Taylor who has performed with NZOpera and Showbiz; jazz and blues artist Kate Taylor of the All Girl Big Band; and Kira Josephson who recently played Nessarose in the Showbiz production of Wicked.
Bookings through Ticketek, 0800 842 538, www.ticketek.co.nz/showbiz or www.showbiz.org.nz/broadway-hitmen.

Lionel Richie

Lionel Richie: A living legend

Last month, Christchurch was witness to one of the best musicians of the 1980s. The legend himself, Lionel Richie.

Lionel Richie
MATT HENRY PHOTOGRAPHY + AMBIENT LIGHT

Songwriter, actor, singer and record producer, he has been gracing our televisions of late with his role as an American Idol judge. With such hits as Endless Love, All Night Long, Stuck on You, Say You Say Me and, of course, the heart-wrenching Hello, the hits from his years with the Commodores and many, many more, his ability to bring a stand up and dance moment at his concerts is never in question.
I was fortunate enough to catch up with him the night before the concert for a chat. “It’s Lionel Richie!” I said as I approached.
“Have been all my life,” he said in the beautiful gravelly voice of a seasoned pro.

How do you find New Zealand audiences?
“It’s a great country and I always enjoy coming here. You are all so friendly!”

It’s such a privilege to meet you, I grew up with your music in the 1980s and Hello is such a beautiful song
“You know what? I grew up with that music too! When I first started, people would say ‘what a sexy man’. When I got into my late 20s early 30s, people would say, ‘what a handsome man’. Now all I get is… ‘You look good for your age!’
“I was out in a bar in New Orleans and I saw this attractive woman looking across at me and I started looking at her, she looked at me and I was giving her ‘the look’ when she came over to me and said in this French accent ‘Yoouu are Lion-Nell Reechiiee?’ And I said ‘Yeeeesss, I am Lion-Nell Reechiiee’.
“She then handed me her mobile and said, ‘I’m friends with your daughter Nicole, she wants to say hi’. That’s when I got an earful from my daughter about hitting on her friends. I’m OLD now!”

How do you find the audiences respond to your music these days?
“Nothing’s changed except for the fact when I started off everyone said that if I kissed a girl at the front of the stage, the audience would go nuts – so I started doing that. Obviously now it’s a lot harder to lean that far down, so I don’t do that anymore. I’m OLD. I’m really looking forward to the Christchurch audience. You’re going to have a fun time tomorrow night.”

And he was so, so right. Those fortunate enough to be at Horncastle Arena were subjected to hit after boogie-down hit. The energy that this 68-year-old can conjure up on stage would make any teenage musician envious. Reminding us just how prolific and how relevant he was during the decade of music that was the 80s, back when he had us all singing We are the World, which he co-wrote with Michael Jackson. Music royalty was visiting Christchurch.
“As always, Lionel put on an amazing show, we love hosting him at Horncastle Arena,” Turlough Carolan from Vbase says.
“It’s also great to see such a varied range of events visiting the city over the coming months, from the incredible Dynamo (20-21 July) to the sublime Queens of the Stone Age (25 August), yet again, Vbase will be bringing many more great acts to Christchurch.”
Marvellous to have caught up with a living legend here, such a down to earth man with a beautiful voice for singing and conversation. A moment all those who saw him in concert will remember for a long time. He had us all, Dancing on the Ceiling.