Keith. ‘a middle-aged white man with 5 faces’ took to the stage of Cassette Nine with support from Round Buddah and Hot Knives for the release of their debut album Planet Keith. The night showcases a solar system of collaboration whose planets orbit around a new wave of fresh, vibrant, young but often still moustached, talent of Auckland’s home-grown.
Categorising genres is increasingly fading into obscurity when putting such planets under a telescope, but the vibes pull on jazzy, funky, soulful, psychedelic and hip-hoppy flavours that the organisers at Lowtide and The Grow Room have been cultivating for a while now.
Arriving to Round Buddah starting up, first impressions saw a packed venue sway and smile to the dreamy grooves of the five-piece. Joined by rapper Lb for the track Acting Strange, the group was also joined by a saxophone that added another layer to the textured harmonies which got the crowd bouncing. After hearing a brand new track, You, anticipation is high for the next drop from these dudes.
Hot Knives were up next and picked up where Round Buddah left off. Frontman Bobandii twitched and bounded around the stage as sultry guitar licks accompanied dirty synth lines, heavy drum rhythms and punchy bass lines. Playing mostly from their self-titled EP, the five-piece got the crowd further into a heated sweat that left bodies hot for the main act.
I last saw Keith. supporting Te Henga Collective at The Dogs Bollix where they only had time to play a few tracks from their latest record. The evening gave them close to an hour where they could really give the full crowd something to chew on. Being joined by Bobandii for the song Neon Lights, and later Lester, Lb and Holly Afoa, the set got off to an energetic start that got everyone’s dancing shoes on.
The otherworldly nature of these guys created an intense atmosphere which had a dedicated audience on their toes, eagerly awaiting each song. Pink Porsche came rolling in with a heavy hip-hop beat which is the backbone of most of their compositions.
This hip-hop vibe crossed with just about everything else is evident in the song Circle. Frontman Akshay, who wore simple attire compared to the spaceman suit I saw him in at The Experiment, raps/sings in a manner similar to Bobandii and Lb – a mix of traditional spoken word which rhymes along with accented beats but with vowels and consonants that moan melodically with the instrumentation.
Splitting the crowd down the middle, Keith. then riled up the crowd with the more psychedelic, electronically heavy AKliens. By this point, most of the band was in a heavy layer of sweat – the energy of the venue by this point was in full flight with consistent wails of joy and recalls.
Finishing up with Comin' and Goin', the night ended up being out of this world and is a testament to the band’s ‘collaboration, experimentation and good old-fashioned work ethic.’ Seeing this line-up side by side solidifies the coming of Auckland’s vibrant underground into the spotlight. Finally, it seems, thanks to the talent and the organisers who often are left behind the scenes, live music and instrumentation are now taking back its rightful place in Auckland’s night/club scene.