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Crowd Pleasers: Inside Foley’s New Zealand Tour

Before the release of their eagerly-anticipated debut, ‘Crowd Pleaser’, Foley hit the road in June. Here’s what happened.

Foley tour diary

Tom Grut

Talk about living up to the title of your album. Before the release of their eagerly-anticipated debut, Crowd Pleaser, Foley hit the road in June, impressing audiences at headline shows in Auckland and Wellington.

It was just another busy week in what’s been an intense first half of the year for the pop duo. If 2021 was their first official breakout year – they were up for Breakthrough Artist of the Year at the Aotearoa Music Awards back then – then 2023 feels like the second edition: a Rolling Stone AU/NZ feature, Times Square billboard, BIGSOUND booking, and Silver Scrolls nomination have helped see their star firmly on the rise.

But even if your face adorns a billboard looking down upon New York City, you’re still going to get nervous about headline shows in your home country. Foley singer Ash Wallace recapped in detail their recent New Zealand tour for Rolling Stone AU/NZ, which you can read below, and she didn’t leave a single detail out, nerves and all (look out for some handy Wellington dining tips, too).

Foley release their debut album Crowd Pleaser on August 26th (pre-save/pre-order here).


Image: Foley in Wellington Credit: @its_hanhan29

It felt like such a long wait to get to the point of playing the album in its entirety at our own headline shows, so we were bursting with energy to get on stage.

First stop was Wellington so we were up bright and early to jump on the plane down from Auckland. Last time we played in Wellington was at an O Week university show, which got incredibly hot and seshy, so we have high expectations going back for some sweaty mosh pit vibes.

Our beautiful band – Holly on bass, Elijah on drums, and Andy on sound – were all with us for the ride, and we are a bit of a worry when we’re all together because we usually get the giggles and encourage each other’s bizarre jokes. It’s an absolute privilege to have these people work with us, though, because they are genuinely the most talented people we know – Gabe and I have always admired them and just feel so blessed every time we share the stage. Enough warm fuzzies!!

We landed in Welly and collected our seemingly infinite number of bags – we DO NOT travel light, it’s a big undertaking.

We had the most killer support band, Sure Boy, opening for us, and Lily from the band was kind enough to venture out the airport to pick us up. Such a good egg! It was crucial to thank her with a delicious Vietnamese meal at one of our go-to spots, the Fishermans Plate. I tend to get pretty hectically nervous and can’t eat on show day, and Vietnamese is the only cuisine I have found that goes down smooth – so we tucked into some noodles, rice paper rolls, pho.

After we had fully tummies and full hearts, we went for a visit to Raglan Roast, which has the best coffee in Welly – we grabbed ourselves a couple of oat flat whites and headed into the venue for soundcheck! 

For these shows, we worked with a music director called Timon Martin to get the flow of the set feeling perfect. He arranged all the transitions of the songs to seamlessly move through and keep the audience guessing. He’s insanely talented and we learned a lot from the process. Gabe is also naturally gifted with this kind of thing, so together they were a force to be reckoned with.


Image: Foley in Wellington Credit: @its_hanhan29

Soundcheck was extra nerve-wracking because it was a completely new set and venue, so we had a lot to grapple with and get our heads around. We were super lucky to have our sound man Andy with us, because regardless of what stage we play, we have full confidence he has our back and will get it sounding huge.

I personally came away from soundcheck feeling a healthy balance of terrified and excited – but with full trust in the band and Andy to put on a great show. 

We cruised back to the hotel to get our glam on! Half of us were crashing at Gabe’s dad’s house, and the other half in a hotel – but we all crammed into the hotel room pre-show to hang and prepare. The nerves definitely made our senses of humour even more bizarre and giggly!!

We had so many laughs and wavy conversations, but it’s such a huge part of our band’s dynamic. Being on the road is about connecting with the fans but it’s also about connecting with each other, so this time is super sacred and close to our hearts. We got the fits looking tight, hair and makeup on point, and headed back to the venue.

Sure Boy was getting warmed up and prepared to go on stage. We are all super fans of their music so it was a pleasure to have them play with us. Their set was tight and their songs were so charming. If you haven’t heard of them and you like a bit of ‘mum rock’, they’re your new favourite band. Watching them helped ease the nerves a little.

I had forgotten that I packed enough white glitter to glam a whole town up, so we threw that all over our faces – inspired. We love a little team talk before we go on stage, so we had a wee huddle to get ourselves in the zone. Right before we go on, Gabe and I always have a big hug – got to be grateful and enjoy the moment!

The Wellington show went absolutely off. We all felt super connected and the energy from the crowd was unmatched. The lights rig was on fire with this incredible blue and red strobe. Gabe shredded freaking HARD on his solos. Favourite songs of the night were “On the Rocks”, Keep Me on My Toes”, and “Killing Me Babe” – it really felt like the crowd was in it with us and everyone was just dancing their socks off.

We came off stage incredibly sweaty but beyond stoked. It’s always such a pleasure to meet the audience afterwards and we got to meet a few fans who had driven all the way from Palmerston North – that’s commitment!!

One of our long time OG fans also wrote us this beautiful letter which integrated all of our song titles into the wording. It was such a special gift because it showed so much effort and thought – we were so blessed to be given that. 


Image: Foley in Wellington Credit: @its_hanhan29

We were absolutely exhausted and in desperate need of showers so went our separate ways. We rallied in the morning to head to the airport and jet to Auckland for the next show! Earlier this year, we splurged and got the band airport lounge memberships so we can all eat ourselves silly while we’re on tour, so we were absolutely devastated to arrive and find that they were out of hash browns. It sure is a tough life we live.

We landed back in Auckland full of beans, already building nerves and excitement for the night’s show. It was high time for a nap but we headed straight to soundcheck at Galatos. Andy was cranking the soulful bangers all through setup, so we had a nice energy going as we set up the drum kit and the amps.


Image: Foley in Auckland Credit: Tom Grut

Soundcheck was way more breezy than the night before, we absolutely creamed it and left feeling chuffed as. We all live in Auckland city, so we headed home to nap and rest for a few hours. We glammed up and got ourselves in the vibe before meeting back at the venue before doors opened up. 

Galatos had a wee green room downstairs which we all crammed into – it was actually super fun because our lovely opener, YAHYAH, and her band are all great people and great friends of ours. Left Hand Loz opened up and threw down a huge set, which had the crowd super primed. She has beautiful music taste and knows exactly how to work it. Fit was also on point! YAHYAH played amazingly as well – Gabe and I have both written songs with her for her upcoming releases, and it was such a buzz to see those songs played live with the audience singing along. Her voice is raspy and raw and just cut through the crowd incredibly. 

The show was flipping unbelievable. It went by so fast. The audience was singing every word, all dancing along with such passion and energy, it was infectious. Best songs were “Coffee”, “Can’t Help the Way”, and a cheeky new one called “What Got Into You”. The minute I got home, I watched every single story we had been tagged in to relive the moments – which isn’t my usual style – but it was so beautiful I wanted to do it all again! 


Image: Foley in Auckland Credit: Tom Grut

We had the most incredible time with our best pals, and it meant the world to us to see the audience enjoying what we’ve worked so hard to create. This album really was a labour of love for the last two years, so to finally see the crowd sing it back to us is a feeling we can’t quite describe. Onto the next!!