One of the most popular local festivals on the Auckland music calendar was back for its fifth year on Friday night. The Others Way festival took over Karangahape Road once again, and once again it was a sell-out. Thanks to Flying Nun and Flying Out, The Others Way has grown in reputation with each passing year and the 2019 edition was no different as keen New Zealand music revellers took to the street literally to see over forty acts spread out across thirteen venues.
With so many acts on display and so little time, one had to tread carefully as to who to catch, with clashes proving unavoidable. I did not envy the organisers this year when it came to scheduling acts with several musicians playing in multiple bands, while late cancellations meant creating a timetable for the night would have proven a nightmare. How they managed it I do not know but one thing is for sure it meant one could not see everything and tough choices had to be made.
My evening kicked off in the hot sweaty cauldron that is Whammy Bar with garage-psych maestros Ounce. I had been keen to catch these guys after being very impressed with their recent album OZ. They did not disappoint with their spaghetti western/Tarantino psych-rock complete with twin drum attack proving a great opening to the night’s proceedings.
The close proximity of two of the other venues meant getting a glimpse of one of the acts not initially on my radar proved too good an opportunity to miss out on and so to The Wine Cellar it was to catch a snippet of Dateline. A supergroup of sorts, Dateline comprises members of Hans Pucket, Na Noise and the Beths among others and their harmonic indie guitar sounds went down a treat to a packed-out room.
Although it was early in the evening already it was clear to see that this year’s Others Way was at complete capacity, meaning getting to the venue early was a must if one wanted to avoid queues. And queues were what faced the masses heading to The Chills with a massive line down the street greeting myself and other eager punters keen to catch a glimpse of that Dunedin sound.
With three classic Dunedin sound bands on this year’s line-up there was plenty of choice on offer if you were into Flying Nun, but seeing Martin Phillipps and his band was a real treat especially given the success of his film this year. He did not disappoint musically with an on-form performance to a crowd who hung off every word Phillipps sang. The only let down was the usual muddy sound of Studio the venue proving again a major distraction. When will they get it fixed?
From the sound problems of the Studio to the serenity and calmness of Galatos where Purple Pilgrims held fort in what was an angelic but at times haunting set. Revelling in the success of their recent album Perfumed Earth, the duo’s performance was fantastic with their sweet melodies holding the audience in a tight embrace throughout.
After a quick nip down the street to catch a bit of Wax Chattel’s Peter Ruddell’s new project Sulfate it was time to negotiate some of the big clashes of the evening.
First up it was Wellington’s finest Hans Pucket at the Mercury Theatre, a venue that was a welcome addition to this year’s festival. As usual, the trio was on form with their catchy as hell style of indie guitar pop getting people out of their seats and dancing in the aisles. The bonus of a full horn section added a new dimension to their performance and gave some of their songs a slight New Orleans jazz style twist which was very intriguing and worked well.
Then it was across the road to the underrated Samoa House to see the mighty Troy Kingi and Mara TK. After being at the venue only five minutes it became pretty apparent that Kingi and his fantastic band were stealing the festival as they took the audience to Zygertron and beyond with one of the best performances The Others Way has seen in its five years. Two covers, one of Kendrick Lamar’s Alright and John Lennon’s Jealous Guy was the icing on the cake to a set packed to the brim with soul, R&B and space funk.
After a short break where I sat outside Studio the venue taking in a bit of Straitjacket Fits who sounded better from outside the venue than they probably would have done inside, it was to Galatos for the finale in the form of Church & AP.
I saw these two at The Others Way last year during the bFM pre-show and a year later they are closing the festival which in many respects is symptomatic of their monumental rise over the last year. In a set packed with hits, humour, and plenty of charisma, Church & AP bought the house down with their outstanding wordplay and stage presence proving a massive success to a very ecstatic crowd in what was a great way to end the night.
On the whole, this year’s The Others Way proved very popular and very successful. The streets were littered with people and most of the venues were packed which is always a sign that you have done your job in putting together a great line-up and producing an event that people want to come to.
I do wonder, however, if they have stretched themselves too wide in adding a couple of venues and keeping the number of acts at the forty mark. Getting between venues and negotiating some tough clashes proved a challenge at times and one does wonder if a smaller line-up could be the goer moving forward.
Despite this, it was a fun and entertaining evening overall and the quality of the acts proved once again that New Zealand music is in the best state it has been in a long time.