Let's start this week by taking time out for that evergreen segment of many a social function – a little housekeeping.
I have spent the past month enthusiastically welcoming back live shows to the Bay. Sadly, things have now skidded sideways and musicians are once again getting it in the neck. There are many cancellations...
This latest lockdown has caused the canning of shows by Albi And The Wolves, Mike Garner and Robbie Laven, Kokomo, The Andrew London Trio, Deadbeat at Astrolabe, Lost Tribe Aotearoa at Totara Street, the Jazz Jam at the Mount Social Club; they've been falling like dominoes. As of writing this, Blindspott are still coming to Baypark at the end of the month, but I guess the larger venue makes social distancing easier.
For musicians it mainly means not only no income but a step backwards as each of these shows has had money spent on advertising and other expenses that will never be recouped. If there was ever a time you considered buying music on-line, now is when your local artists would appreciate it most!
OK. Time for a quick Apology Tour of things I've buggered up recently.
Firstly, I inadvertently added at least five years to the age of Ian Gilmour whose album Red Guitar I reviewed last month. His family were apparently alarmed and amused. Ian is in fact a sprightly youngster in his mid-sixties.
Secondly, last week I managed to misquote a lyric from ShonaLaing's excellent album Hindsight. Which gives me a chance to mention again that it's available now on CD – buy it immediately! The chorus of her stunning new song The Mahatma's Army should read: “I am a soldier of peace, I am a soldier of peace said Mahatma Ghandi / I want to be, I want to be in the Mahatma's Army”. Given the context I am too embarrassed to fess up to what I actually wrote... Sorry Shona.
And on to bands who are not letting this latest blip on the viral radar get them down – Hybrid Blues have just finished recording their self-titled debut album at Welcome Bay's Colourfield Studio and a very impressive piece of work it is, dodging between various sub-genres of electric blues, complete with great guitar-work, grooving bass and strong singing from Roy Hudson.
I'll have a full review of the album next week but in the meantime I wanted to give a little plug for their album release shows which – praise the Lord! - have so far escaped the crush of coronavirus cancellations.
The Tauranga album launch is downtown at the Barrel Room on Saturday August 29. The band have planned quite an evening of music...
Opening the night will be a set from jazz-funk sensations Jocco's Groove who I believe are a combination of Aquinas College and Tauranga Boys students. It's possible their line-up has changed, but it used to be Baxter Blair (trumpet), Alex Trask (tenor sax/flute), Troy Weenik (keyboard), KeanJiroFuntelar (bass), Matt Goodwin (drums) and Bree Rose (vocals). I've only seen them once and they were Fantastic with a capital F.
Also making the night special will be guest appearances from Brooke Stinson who provides sterling vocal support on the album, as well as producer/engineer Tim Julian, adding his inimitable keyboards. It'll all be kicking off at 7pm, no charge.
The following day the band head over to Rotorua for a launch there in front of the BOP Blues Club, 5pm at the Rotorua Citizens Club, where they now hold both the club jams and a new initiative to host visiting bands one Sunday a month. Tickets are $15 via the band's Facebook page.
Luckily the Auckland launch is the last of the three, playing for the Auckland Blues Music Club at Revelry on Ponsonby Road at 4pm on Sunday September 13. There will also be a second band on the bill.
So all power to Hybrid Blues for pushing on through when other are falling by the wayside. Next week: the album review.