After several years of COVID-related postponements, The Others Way Festival makes its long-awaited return to Tāmaki Makaurau’s Karangahape Road this weekend.
On Saturday, 30 artists will take to the iconic thoroughfare to play Auckland’s most exciting music festival and street party; it’s thanks to such events that Time Out recently hailed K’ Road as one of the world’s coolest streets.
The lineup features a strong mixture of local gems, living legends, and innovative musicians from Aotearoa and beyond, all set to showcase their music across multiple venues.
The only difficult thing about this weekend’s event will be trying to catch as many of the excellent artists as possible.
The legendary Dance Exponents will be celebrating the 40th anniversary reissue of their debut studio album, Prayers Be Answered, with a special show at Galatos, while Anthonie Tonnon will be performing off the back of winning the prestigious 2022 Taite Music Prize for his album Leave Love Out of This.
The Others Way has also secured three prominent international acts in acclaimed US singer-songwriter and guitarist Steve Gunn (who has another Auckland show next week), jazzy beatmaker MDNSGN & The Rare Pleasures, and Australian artist Laura Jean.
The real joy of an event like The Others Way, though, often lies in discovering new talent and unheralded acts. Let Rolling Stone AU/NZ help you in doing this below, with eight artists to check out this Saturday.
Formerly known as Transistor, the Wellington group seem to have found their proper groove as Mirror Ritual. The four-piece’s noisy psych-fuzz sounds informed by the boundary-pushing tendencies of John Cale or the droning visions of Stereolab.
“I kind of use Mirror Ritual as a vehicle to practice and explore what we’re capable of doing ourselves recording and mixing-wise, and how far we can push it,” Lochie from the band recently explained in an interview, and this exploratory approach is fascinating to watch live: Mirror Ritual’s songs unfurl hypnotically up close, possessing an almost meditative quality.
They might hail from New Zealand’s capital but they would fit effortlessly into San Francisco’s burgeoning lo-fi guitar-pop scene, where myriad bands are carrying on the principles of The Velvet Underground by making challenging and unrushed compositions.
If you’re after a blast of rousing racket on Saturday, Polynesian metal band Shepherds Reign are the way to go. The four local boys – they hail from South Auckland – make music composed of bruising riffs and spirited vocals.
The band play at a relentless pace, their unleashed fury sounding extra hard-hitting in a live setting; it wouldn’t be surprising to hear their pounding rhythms surface on K’ Rd from the dark bowels of Whammy Bar.
Often compared to international success story Alien Weaponry, Shepherds Reign have enough collective power to stand them apart from the Waipu trio.
Francisca Griffin & The Bus Shelter Boys
Griffin was the vocalist in iconic Flying Nun band Look Blue Go Purple, but her airy vocals and sharp songwriting haven’t diminished over the past few decades.
Backed by her band The Bus Shelter Boys, the Dunedin musician’s songs are always thoughtful, frequently tender, and forever catchy.
If you want to gain an idea of how Griffin and co. will sound on Saturday, they just released Live at the Crown Hotel August 14 2021 on Bandcamp, which Griffin noted was “a good representation of how they sound live.”
The moniker of Em-Haley Walker, TE KAAHU is a project with a purpose, used as a platform for the singer-songwriter’s beautiful compositions in te re Māori.
Debut album Te Kaahu O Rangi, released earlier this year, is one of the highlights of 2022, a stunning collection of waiatas clearly drawn from a deep well of personal meaning.
TE KAAHU recently took to The Lab for an ‘In My Room’ session for Rolling Stone AU/NZ, performing three stirring cuts from her debut record. As she said at the time, the “vulnerability and tenderness” of the waiatas is powerfully evident when played live.
It feels disingenuous to tout a band with just one single to its name, but when the trio contains members of Na Noise, Avantdale Bowling Club, and Lawrence Arabia himself, they’re worth checking out.
Half Hexagon only made their debut in Auckland earlier this year, but the mini supergroup are already an intriguing proposition.
It’s unclear what the future holds for Yolanda Fagan, James Milne, and Julien Dyne as a trio, but they’d do well to stick together: debut single “Ism” is achingly cool, filled with atmospheric synths and tempting vocals.