The Others Way Festival

Princess Chelsea at Galatos
Princess Chelsea at Galatos

Despite a cold, drizzling rain and an unexpected visit by the fire department, The Others Way Festival can definitely be chalked up as a success. Spread across seven venues along Auckland’s K-Road, it was easy to move around from show to show, the music was diverse and exciting and it sold out.

I started my evening at Galatos Main Room where Dunedin four-piece Kane Strang kicked off the night with some suitably noisy guitar-rock that became more melodic as their set progressed.

A half hour later I was across the street to catch an early highlight, Aldous Harding. Armed with just her acoustic guitar and mesmerizing voice, Aldous was seated on The Studio’s stage and started her set with a “How’s it going?” and some nervous laughter. Her 8-song set began with Stop Your Tears, the opening tune from her debut album. But that record was released a while ago, and Aldous had a few new compositions to present. So after Beast, we heard Party, which she claimed was going to be the title of her second record, and then The World Is Looking For You. Both continue to show off Harding’s stunning voice, while transporting the listener someplace distant and ancient.

She returned to her album for Titus Groan then introduced “my main man” Marlon Williams to add harmonies to another new one, Swell Does The Skull.Needless to say, the two of them sound gorgeous together.

This was followed by the most intriguing new song of the night, the rather terrifyingly-titled, What If Birds Aren’t Singing, They’re Screaming. Harding confided that the song was based on paranoia and that we should imagine it with a band playing with her.

By this time the crowd was getting a bit noisy, but Aldous quieted them down with a wonderful version of Small Bones Of Courage to send them off into the rest of the night.

My plan was to catch Zen Mantra at Neck Of The Woods, but I only made it as far as the Wine Cellar where I caught Auckland band The Moonlight. I liked what I heard.

From there it was back to Galatos, but this time, the basement where hip-hop/electronica duo Heavy were performing. The place was jumping and the music was pumping. Just when things were really taking off a fire alarm sounded and everyone was forced out into the street, both from the basement and the main room. I’m guessing that the idiot who I say smoking in the middle of the crowd and blowing thick clouds of smoke into the air set off the alarm.

The fire department arrived immediately and there was a bit of confusion as to what to do and where to go. Princess Chelsea was due to perform in the main room, but you can see her in this video shoot as the fire trucks arrive, looking as confused as the rest of us. Watch the video here:

Fortunately Tiny Ruins was performing just across the street and so I took shelter there. Hollie and hr band sounded as beautiful as ever, but I was feeling restless and curious to see what was happening at Galatos. When I left

Princess Chelsea at Galatos

Princess Chelsea at Galatos

The Studio all seemed to be back to normal. The fire trucks were gone and Princess Chelsea was playing to a packed house. All was well with the world.

I was feeling the need to rock out and Solid Gold Hell’ set at Whammy Bar fit the bill perfectly. Guitarist Matthew Heine served up plenty of loud, sludgy riffs and the rest of the band responded accordingly. Another highlight of the night.

With a serious nineties vibe in the air, it was time to check out Garageland’s reunion show at The Studio.  This was the first time the original line-up had played together since 1998 and they were…Jeremey Eade (vocals & guitar), Debbie Silvey (guitar), Mark Silvey (bass) and Andrew Gladstone (drums).

The band concentrated on songs from their 1996 album, Last Exit To Garageland beginning with the familiar descending guitar riff of Fay Ray.“Pizza, beer and cigarettes, that’s all I need”, sang Eade and 90s nostalgia was in full swing.

Another familiar guitar strum followed…yes, it’s Beelines To Heaven. More classics followed, with Come Back standing out.

The band did sound a little rusty and their version of Nude Star was stopped before it had a chance to take off. Eade abandoned the tune just after the first lyric and they, instead, opted for What Will You Do, a relative rarity from their 1995 EP.

A laconic Bus Stops was also a bit sloppy and Eade seemed distracted as he introduced I’m Looking For What I Can’t Get….”This is called ‘I’m…I have no idea”.

But they still had Fingerpops up their sleeves and the crowd loved it, singing along with the set closer.

The band returned for an encore, performing a downbeat Jesus I’m Freezing. “I’m lost again”, sang Eade and the band members left the stage one by one, with Gladstone giving the final wave goodbye.

By now it was getting late, but I wanted to see what Kody Nielson’s latest project, Silicon, was going to be like. I entered Galatos to find the room full of people staring at a dark stage when Kody could be faintly seen standing behind some electronic gear. He was making some sounds but the crowd was louder than he was. I hung around for a few minutes, but wasn’t impressed and moved on.

On the way home I stopped into Whammy Bar for She’s So Rad’s last tune of the night, then over to the Wine Cellar for Wellington quartet Glass Vaults who were generating some groovy, pulsing vibes. I perfect way to end the night.

Congratulations to Ben Howe and his team for putting this together and making it such an enjoyable experience. Let’s hope it happens again next year.

Marty Duda

Aldous Harding Set List:

  1. Stop Your Tears
  2. Beast
  3. Party
  4. The World Is Looking For You
  5. Titus Groan
  6. Swell Does The Skull
  7. What If Birds Aren’t Singing, They’re Screaming
  8. Small Bones Of Courage

Garageland set list:

  1. Fay Ray
  2. Beelines To Heaven
  3. Pop Cigar
  4. Come Back
  5. Classically Diseased
  6. Nude Star (partial)
  7. What Will You Do
  8. Bus Stops
  9. I’m Looking For What I Can’t Get
  10. Struck
  11. Fingerpops
  12. Jesus I’m Freezing