Concert Review: Cross Street Music Festival, 10 April 2021

Cross Street Music FestivalThose April showers threatened to take down this years’ Cross Street Music Festival, but the rain abated at the last minute and live music was heard in the streets of Auckland.

Saturday was dreary, cold and wet throughout most of Auckland and I’m sure many folks had given up on seeing bands like Wax Chattels, Mini Simmons and Ha The Unclear rock out on Cross Street… but miracles do happen.

Cross Street Music FestivalSo, the gates opened and by 5:30pm the first act, O and The Mo took the stage, laying down some lovely dream-pop to get the evening underway. The band, led by vocalist Olivia Gallagher (The O) entranced the just-arriving crowd with sonic pleasures from their album, In Transit and wrapped up with a cover of Moloko’s Sing It Back.

At this point, with darkness descending and dark clouds still threatening, the mood on Cross Street was somewhat eerie.

But as the fans arrived, the bands got louder and the beer and burgers flowed it began to feel like a genuine celebration of NZ indie rock.

Cross Street Music FestivalFlamboyant host Monte Montgomery took over and engaged the crowd and Being (featuring a full band line-up) responded accordingly. Fronted by Jasmine Balmer, the band raised the energy level and nailed another cover… their version of Best Coast’s, When I’m With You along with a new tune, I Don’t Believe In Love.

Then things really got loud when Wax Chattles took over. The volume and the noise was in overdrive with keyboard player Peter Ruddell giving it his best with a powerful performance.

Cross Street Music Festival
Mini Simmons

Finally, the band I came to see, Mini Simmons, appeared and they did not disappoint. This is a rock & roll band in the classic sense and frontman Zak Hawkins is a true frontman. He loves the stage, the limelight and the fans, and they love him.

After that things got a bit hazy with Crap Date and Ha The Unclear providing the soundtrack.

For me, the only negative aspect was some of the music being pumped out between live sets… soulless “dance” music, but even that improved as the night went on.

Otherwise the food, the drinks, the venue and the bands were all superlative. And we managed to stay dry (mostly).

Marty Duda

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