The first Laneways to be held in Auckland was on Monday Feb 1st, and it was a class act. The layout of the venue was great, with lots of space, unlike the cramped titular Lanes which I’ve heard are a problem at the Melbourne show. The two stages were arranged in a V shape, with the punters drifting back and forth to see each act.
The show kicked off at midday, and Street Chant were on first. They played well, but sound problems made their songs pretty rough. Their on stage performance also struck me as contrived, rather than genuine.
Dear Time’s Waste provided a dreamy contrast, and the band were in good form, playing to a decent crowd on a festival sized stage.
Bachelorette was a last minute replacement for Hockey, and it was the first time I’d seen her play. I thought she played well, but looked quite uncomfortable on stage.
The Phoenix Foundation played a great set, which maybe dragged on in some parts. Tracks Nest Egg and Damn the River were standouts, and their new material was sounding cool. They farewelled bassist Warner Emery, and have a new album coming out soon.
I was absolutely blown away by The XX , they had one of the best live performances I’ve ever seen. They’ve had a lots of hype, but have definitely been playing constantly for most of last year, and they brought a near perfect show to Auckland.
Following on wonderfully was cult folk singer Daniel Johnston. He took to the stage, stole hearts and brought tears, delivering some of the most affecting songs I’ve ever heard. His slurred vocals and sloppy guitar were so endearing. Sadly, the worst part of the whole day happened when Cut Off Your Hands started to play before Johnston’s set had finished. It wasn’t their decision, but it was agonising that it completely drowned out Johnston. He played awkwardly, and left the stage without a farewell, to rapturous applause.
Black Lips played a great show, rollicking through a whole bunch of bluesy garage tracks, and hit cans of beer in to the audience with their guitars.
I didn’t catch too much of the Dirty Three, but it was flawless apocalyptic folk. They were a band who were commanding and effortless.
The ‘Mystery Band’ was Chris Knox and The Nothing, with Shane Carter on guitar. Still affected by stroke, Knox was all grins, and howled melodically through a 20 minute set that was loved by the adoring crowd.
Echo and the Bunnymen were everything you’d expect them to be – they said it was nice to be back in NZ after ’29ish years’. They played a whole bunch of hits, and seemed to really love playing.
The 3Ds played to a good crowd of fans, who really got in to their brilliantly spazzy guitar pop. Make sure you catch them at Al’s Bar on Feb 27.
Florence and the Machine were the penultimate act, and seemed quite out of place, musically and stylistically. Florence had some huge diva moments, and it all seemed a bit too slick to fit with the rest of the day.
Most people seemed to leave after Florence, but they missed out on a real treat from N.A.S.A. They played a pumping mash up set of techno, dance and hip hop classics, before playing some of their own stuff. It was a great show, accompanied by dancing aliens onstage.
So all up, a great day. Do try and catch it next year. You can read another review, and see pretty pictures at Einstein Music Journal.
Here’s what I played in the last hour of the show today.
Daniel Johhston – Fake Records of Rock n Roll
The XX – Intro
Vampire Weekend – Diplomat’s Son
Dinosauraxia – Sky (Time is Unfolding)
Dinosauraxia – Ecstasy Braincells
Neon Indian – Deadbeat Summer (Daytrotter session)
Owen Pallet – Lewis Takes Action
Grayson Gilmour – I Am A Light!
Okkervil River – The President’s Dead
Of Montreal – Cato As A Pun
Los Campesinos – Straight in at 101
The Ruby Suns – Oh, Mojave
The Horrors – Mirror’s Image
Teacups – Hornets