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Long story short – Queen's Birthday Weekend: lots of gigs.

OK. So maybe that was unnecessarily short. It is, however, a fairly accurate summary of this week's column.

A little history? Well, I looked at the calendar and thought “Queen's Birthday Weekend is coming up, I bet there'll be a lot of gigs people want to know about.” Oh, you mean the history of the birthday, not of the column? Fair enough.

For those unaware, Queen's Birthday weekend, when we get a day off to celebrate a day that isn't the Queen's birthday, is another of those northern hemisphere traditions that make absolutely no sense here. File it next to Guy Fawkes Day and Christmas cards with snow on them as peculiar hangovers from the ‘Mother Country’.

But we don't get a day off for Guy Fawkes Day - I wonder if we would, had he been successful? There's no holiday, so fireworks disappearing from The Warehouse (along with DVDs and CDs and other fun stuff) isn't really a big deal. But having Guy Fawkes celebrations in the summer, when lighting fires is often forbidden and hot mugs of cocoa around a bonfire are absurd, makes about as much sense as celebrating the Queen's ‘official’ birthday in winter.

SUMMER HOLIDAY

The Queen's ‘official’ birthday happens next week because it is summer in England. It started when King George II wanted to throw a big public celebration to mark his birthday – as you do; it's good to be the King – but because of the November date English weather made it impossible. Instead he designated a different day and celebrated with a parade in the summer.

There we go. A royal personage wanted to have a party in summer so we get a public holiday in winter. What the hell – at least we get a whole bunch of gigs. Hang onto your hats, there are a lot of them...

Let's start at Baycourt on Thursday, June 3. There you can find the Pink Floyd Experience, this time playing the albums Animals and The Wall. These guys have been doing various Pink Floyd shows for over twenty years and, though I'm not a fan of the tribute show concept, whatever floats yer boat is fine with me. It is certainly popular since they've added a second show on Friday 4. Regular tickets are $115 and I think there are still a few A Reserve tickets left at $140.

And while we're on tribute shows, Dreams The Fleetwood Mac Experience are coming to the Mount RSA on Saturday 5. I think there are actually two ‘Fleetwood Macs’ on the road at the moment so don't confuse this with Landslide, the other one. Tickets are $20 or $25 for members' guests.

DRUM and BASS

Saturday seems the time for electronica. Downtown at My Place there will be limited $29 door sales for the night's Drum & Bass Takeover. Headlined by DJ duo Flowidus, together again for the first time in 18 months, with support from D & B legends TwentyTwo and Mount locals Rayne, Tricky and Awoke. From 7pm till late.

Drum and bass will also be on offer at the Waihi Beach Hotel. The Royal Rave will feature Kayes, Booky from the UK, Vorsio, Hank and Encee. From 8pm, tickets are $10 before 9pm and $15 after.

Also in Waihi Beach, ukulele trio The Nukes play a 4pm afternoon concert on Sunday (6 June) at the Boyd Road Theatre. Tickets are $25 in advance $30 on the door.

Back to Katikati, Caitlin Smith and Her Imaginary Band, who were at the Te Puna Quarry Park last month, play for the Folk Club at the Arts Junction on Friday 4. The show starts at 7.30pm; adults $20, members $15.

And then there's the Jam Factory. On Friday 4 June new Wellington band KITA are touring to support their debut self-titled album and look very worthwhile (7pm, $20), while on the Saturday mainstream “folk” singer Anna Hawkins sings songs from her new album Dreamer and more along with a three-piece band. (7pm, $30).

Like I said – a lot of gigs! I hope you find something that suits your particular taste. And happy birthday Betty.

Winston Watusi
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