I went to the Beach Day Out concert in Raglan. It was held on the playing fields at Raglan Area School. This might not sound very impressive, but the fields are on a finger of land that juts out into the estuary, with splendid views of the surrounding water and hills. Much more grand and scenic than, say, Ericson Stadium.
I wasn’t sure when it was starting, so I showed up a bit late and ended up missing some local Raglan band that was the opening act, and then the WBC. But I did catch up with Stu and got plenty of tales from the road.
The first band I saw was Augustino. They never seem to impress me much when I see them in music videos (except for the “Into the Grain” video, which is brilliant), but live they always come across as a dirty ol’ rock band. Even their slower songs, which have never really done much for me, today ended up dragging me along with them.
Next was Goldenhorse. I’m not a huge Goldenhorse fan. I don’t like them, I don’t hate them. They’re just this other band that other people like. But they played “Wake Up Brother”, and I like that song, so I was happy. (P.S. Ben King has a big arse, a la Lopez.)
Brooke Fraser (or Brooke Frasier, as the Edge DJ called her) was playing with Eight being her backing band. She looked very ordinary on stage with a big jacket (borrowed from Augustino, she said), and sunglasses. Her songs, which all seemed to be centered around her voice and her acoustic guitar, felt like they were dragging the atmosphere into a mellow, sincere, girly spiral of niceness. I found myself wishing that someone, anyone, would come on stage with an electric guitar and up the tempo a little. Oh, but her two singles went off and saved her set from sinking into acoustic quicksand.
Pretty boy pop-rock band Zep were next. I was ready to dismiss them as being a pretty boy pop-rock band, but then they started playing and were charming (and by that I actually mean charming, not disgusting). Not only that, but they managed to do what few punk bands are capable of doing these days – they pissed off audience members just by being themselves. A guy standing near me kept muttering about how Zed were faggots and how he was going to smash them. Yes, it’s fun to hate bands who are better looking and more successful than you. I was surprised at how their older songs like “Daisy” and “Glorafilia” now have a darker, more menacing tone. “Renegade Fighter” was dedicated to New Zealand bands, which was a nice touch. They finished their set with a cover of Radiohead’s “Creep”. It was unexpectedly touching, as if there really was a feeling of being a creep.
Next was Nesian Mystik. Most of their set was really clunky. They didn’t seem to do any songs longer than a minute. Tunes would seem to suddenly stop short, with the guys pacing around the stage like they were impatiently filling in time. Their set plunged to new depths with another short song – a horrible version of “Ten guitars”. But then, suddenly, unexpectedly, they stopped sucking. Along came “Unity”, and then a massive, magnificent “It’s On”, which got the crowd going.
Stu had warned me about Scribe. He’s so popular right now that when the Beach Day Out tour bus would leave the various concert venues, it would have to slowly drive away because of all the teenage girls hanging around it. Stu also revealed that the bands would get on the piss and various people would start drunkenly reciting Scribe lyrics, proving for sure that not many, if any, dudes can roll like Scribe.
Scribe slunk on stage, simultaneously anonymous in his cap, hoodie and casual clothing not unlike most of the audience, but also instantly recognisable as Scribe, huge New Zealand hip hop star. He has charisma. Even though it was just him, P Money, (and a cool backing track, complete with backing vocals), he seemed to be bigger than just one guy and a microphone. Interestingly, when he performed “Stand Up”, he self-censored it, saying “New Zealand hip hop, stand the wheeeee! up”. Of course, the audience knew the original lyrics and loudly sang along.
I had a good time. There was a good selection of bands, a cool crowd, a lovely location, fine weather, and a bloody good time. Chur.