The Others Way Festival – Karangahape Road, 22 October 2022

The Others Way Festival leaves no doubt that Karangahape road is the thriving musical epicenter of Auckland.

It’s the Greenwich Village and vitamin K of musical diversity. Thirty acts spread over eight venues. Still less than half the places where music was pumping this night. Packed venues and vibrant, thronged streets. If anything can resuscitate the slow-motion destruction of this city’s heart, it will arise from here.


Leads the Way out for the Others. The Galatos Street Theatre blocks out half the small side-street. The sound crew manage an awesome and spectacular sonic assault. Big and expansive. The same is achieved for all the venues.

The Daffodils are perfecting their melodic indie pop into a glowing pastiche of the Eighties new wave sound.

Haven’t left my room in two days as Theo Salmon leads out the first song of the festival. Certainly, influences from the likes of the early Cure and Undertones. The lead guitar fires off riffs like sky rockets.

Their signature is the nice baritone from Salmon. Pitched a little higher than Jimbo from the Doors. Which he can then incorporate some of the melancholy introspective of a Morrissey or Robert Smith.

Ringing guitars propel nice power pop drones.

Te Kaahu

Over to the Pitt Street Church, and Theia as Te Kaahu looks radiant as she leads out the first waiata of her set. White gown and long, braided umbilical cord of hair connecting to her ancestry.

The church is a magnificent setting. All wood, high arched ceiling, huge lead light windows with ancient iconic Christian imagery. The austere lighting bathes the whole room in a uniform light. With the church pews, it feels like a refuge from the extravaganza outside.

Beautifully encompasses the next waiata she sings, accompanied by backing vocalist Amy. Celestial high voices, simple acoustic guitar strumming.

Rangirara has the dreamy romantic sounds of Fifties pop and doo-wop. Some Hawaiian twang, or possibly Cuban.

Jol Mulholland on guitars and Levi on lap steel. Couldn’t catch the name of the acoustic bass guitar player.

E Taku Huia Kaimanawa and He Hiimene are pure gospel. The warm reverb of the room is perfect for voices which sound angelic. Floating to that home on high.

Waikato is where they embrace the seminal Girl Group sound of the Chantels.

Te Kaahu manages to blend Forties and Fifties melodic pop and classic vocal group R’n’B sounds into a special blend of te reo music. The music of her extended family as they entertained themselves in the post-war years in the heartland provinces. And invests it with a timeless glorious presence.

And it’s about land and where home is. Taupiri translates as warm embrace. One of the sacred hills of the Waikato.

Finn Andrews

Finn Andrews is perfectly placed in church too, with his intense folk style which is magnified to great heights. The naked lighting sets this off perfectly. Somehow it warms the whole room.

A lament where he sings Don’t leave me out in the cold. Solo tonight, and he plays some gospel piano. Folk presented with soulful phrasing.

He has built a solid following outside of his other project as leader of the Veils. He lays down a new song from an upcoming new group album, No Limit to the Stars. It has the poetry of a Leonard Cohen lyrical journey. Anyway, we don’t live long/ Way down here the walls are raging. He seems to be creating americana indie pop along the way

Straps on an acoustic guitar for Swimming with Crocodiles. White soul with a vocal range similar to Marlon Williams.

Finishes with another Veils tune, Axolotl. Sings like Nick Cave, in a gothic lapsed-Catholic baritone. Harsh percussive piano. An amphibian with black tentacles, meets the devil waiting for Sister Mary’s coming. Fraught and testifying. Dramatic goth folk and we leave the church to the decadence outside.

The Coolies

At the outdoor stage is cult band the Coolies. In the parallel world this was a punkish band from Altanta, Georgia which spunked all over Paul Simon in a cult fave album Dig..

In New Zealand they were an eclectic all-girl punk outfit which started in South Auckland in the late Eighties. I had never heard of these ones, but their influences were enough for me. X-Ray Specs, Poly Styrene, Patti Smith, Bikini Kill. The Riot Grrrl movement.

A trio with founding members Tina Pihema and Sjionel Timu. The drummer may be Devon, wearing a Spiteful Urinator t-shirt. Angry and pissed.

They play fuzz-toned primal garage rock. As it exploded out of America in the Sixties, following the likes of the Rolling Stones and the Yardbirds.

Feedback and distortion of the Pete Townsend style. Also, the motorcycle instrumental drone riffs of Davie Allan and Arrow.

The vocals are atonal. They lay out Cramps distortabilly guitar textures.

This is the first time I have heard them, and maybe they are evolving into grunge metal, with a solid bass underpinning.

Nadia Reid

Manage to glimpse a little of futurist multi-faceted post-Bowie artist Proteins of Magic doing a hypnotic chant, in the Galatos basement.

Then charging up the stairs to squeeze into a packed Galatos main stage, to see Nadia Reid.

She has a horn section of Finn Scholes trumpet, and Nick Atkinson saxophone. The Kiwi Memphis Horns as they lend that touch of soul and R’n’B to her compelling style of folk music.

She sings I thought about my life. There’s some Celtic swing which drives smoothly down the americana freeway. There are echoes of Dylan’s I Shall Be Released.

Reinforces that On the Road in song atmosphere with Oh, Canada. Some twangy guitar is a nice touch.

Goes back to her earlier work with one that has the lyric I don’t keep track of time anymore. Folk rock of the classic style that the Fairport Convention pioneered. Her voice sits well alongside that of Sandy Denny.

Richard, from her Preservation album, and the band behind her give it some Southern boogie. She sings with a strong dead-pan voice and subtle additions of colour.

Reid can manage this in a space full of rowdy noise.

The other times I have seen her the audience are quiet and focused. Tonight, the band sound like the folk americana than Dylan sort-of invented or rediscovered when he did the Basement Tapes along with the Band.

The noisy crowd are welcomed and embraced into the music.

Francesca Griffin and the Bus Shelter Boys

I was given a hot tip to see this group, and so it came to pass at the Wine Cellar.

Francesca Griffin, vocals and guitar is Kathy Bull from a previous life as part of Look Blue Go Purple, a great Flying Nun band of the Eighties. With her is Gabriel Griffin on drums, and a bogan wild-westie looking bass guitarist Mick Elborado.

 I can’t identify the young woman playing fiddle, but she is crucial to their sound of Mekon’s style mutated country rock.

They look like a band of Devil’s Rejects from one of Rob Zombies best movies, and their music matches it.

There is a lot more thrown into this hybrid, and curiously Francesca reminds me of the seminal spirit of the Original Carter Family. She channels both Sara and Maybelle.

Falling Light is revved up country and folk drone music. The fiddle adds a Cajun tension.

Broken Heart is more so. Primal americana with Celtic accents and the fiddle goes from Cajun to Cale. Tribal drums like Moe Tucker from the Velvet Undergound. Then the lines… Falling/ I will catch you. They are channeling the Stooges We Will Fall.

The singing is atonal which matches the overall spirit of the band. On Regret Less they dive even further into avante-garde blues and rockabilly. Of the Alex Chilton and Panther Burns school. Some free jazz is thrown up. The drummer cracks the whip.

When the fiddle player picks up a saxophone, she blasts some nasty and mean riffs.

All comes together on Wolf. Closer to punk now. Huge locked-in riff workouts. Sax adds no-wave jazz. Out of all this arises the monster riff that is Sister Ray/ Roadrunner. The drummer shreds at the end to resolve it all.

Maybe Francesca Griffin is closer to Cordell Jackson.

 Steve Gunn

Steve Gunn is a multi-instrumentalist and a virtuoso guitarist from New York. Put on a great show at the Tuning Fork recently, and he does it again tonight at the Wine Cellar. It is packed and it is hot. Just acoustic guitar with lots of gadgets.

I am less than the two and a half metres mandated space away. Couldn’t be closer to the action. But it is still magical and mysterious, the sound he gets in his fifty-minute set.

There is folk blended with Eastern tones in the opening song. He sings about the hanging in the air/ Take him to the unknown land. The guitar sounds like liquid metal transforming as in Terminator 2. Those tones turn into early Seventies Caldonian soul, Van Morrison style.

Old Fifties melodic instrumentals, with Hawaiian note-bending. Duane Eddy twang morphs into surf. Ends on weird science and Telstar is taken for a ride and breaks the barrier.

Way Out Weather is just that. An elemental and spiritual sound as pressure waves of guitar build into a threatening storm. By some alchemy the cadences of Donna Summer’s Love to Love You Baby emerge.


Landlords are shoe-gaze indie rock four-piece band from down-country Hamilton.

Halfway through their set in the Whammy Backroom and they are laying down a heavy blanket of sound with some surf riffs, and equal amounts of dissonance.

Haunt, from one of their EPs, lifts the spirit as the energy levels start to flag in this marathon of music festivals. Psychedelic rock with an Eastern finish.

It’s nice to roll around in their sonic blanket of good indie rock.

Shepherd’s Reign

By now I am crawling, but Shepherd’s Reign is thundering and blasting away at the Whammy Bar. I manage to squeeze in and hunker down for a bit.  

Five guys from South Auckland. They call themselves a Samoan metal band, but the members are Polynesian, Māori and Chinese.

Guttural vocals, a lot in Samoan which is a surprise. Some similarities to the haka vocals of Alien Weaponry.

An air-raid siren goes off. Artillery ordnance fires off and you feel the incoming full metal jacket of the guitars. A well-honed attack.

Big hair hides faces. Big beasts alright.

Out of the barrage comes some pop melodies from a keyboard. Doesn’t hang around long.

Definitely a band to see next chance I get.

Lot of great acts were present. What I caught was stellar. Incredibly well-organised and run. Loved what I saw, but there were many ways and paths and line-ups. Postponed last year.


Rev Orange Peel

All photos courtesy Den O’Keeffe 

 Bonus photo gallery:

The Dance Exponents:

Che Fu: