Let me tell you my plans for next weekend.
As it happens, I'm off to Wellington for four days, and looking forward to it immensely since ‘Wellington On a Plate' is happening along with all sorts of exciting things.
However... as always seems to occur when you decide to go away, all sorts of exciting things are also happening here.
In fact, had I not been out of town I would have had a completely full weekend. In case anyone else wants to do the things I won't be able to, here's a musical schedule (with a little cinematic diversion added in).
Let's start on Friday night (August 18). I'll be braving the landing at Wellington airport and probably eating a burger. As part of WOAP, 120 restaurants are offering burgers – everything from falafel on beetroot buns to prime beef with foie gras and shaved truffles – matched with Garage Project beers. Can I suggest this would be a great thing to do in Tauranga?
But if I were in the Bay I'd head straight to Katikati where The Nukes are playing for The Katikati Folk Club at the Bowling Club.
Because The Nukes are fantastic! So fantastic that they really deserve another exclamation mark!
Never heard of them? Well, The Nukes are a ukulele trio, something inclined to delight and alarm in equal measures. People often have mixed feelings about ukuleles. On the one hand they are a great entry point into music for many; on the other hand, they sound like ukuleles and do burn so easily...
However, to call them just ‘a ukulele trio' does The Nukes little justice. They describe themselves as “part vaudeville, part rat-pack, part musical car crash” and the combination of solid songwriting, excellent musicianship and cool three-part harmonies, added to engaging humorous presentation, has made them festival favourites all around the country.
They're currently promoting their Nukes III album and are possibly the only band who might convert inveterate ukulele-haters into uke-fans. The show starts at 7.30pm, tickets are $20 (KKFC members $15).
So on to Saturday (August 19). I'll be eating more burgers in Wellington so I'll miss hanging out at Brew Bar on The Strand at 4pm when Mike Garner plays the blues (no charge). I'd have to leave there a bit early though: 7pm at the Historic Village the Tauranga Film Society is having a special event.
They're screening ‘A Flickering Truth', a documentary telling the story of Afghan cinephiles trying to retrieve more than 8000 hours of film footage which they risked their lives to conceal during the Taliban era. The film will be preceded by a talk from society member Julie Young about her experiences working in Afghanistan under the Taliban regime. It promises to be a fascinating evening and is open to everyone. Tickets are $10.
Then onto Sunday (August 20) and another trip north, this time to Waihi where, after a seven-year hiatus, the Torch Songs Band is reforming with its original line-up. The band stopped performing when keyboardist Liam Ryan left Tauranga to work at the ARA Jazz School in Christchurch. Liam came back to live in Waihi in 2016 and has since been revitalising the Youth Band Competition at the Jazz Festival and focusing on his studio where he is collaborating with various singers and songwriters. More of that in a future column.
Torch Songs were once regulars at the National Jazz Festival and had a big following throughout the Bay. They reformed to contribute four songs at the Waikato Head Hands & Feet concert earlier this year with the original line-up of Liam on keyboards, singer Carol Storey, guitarist Dave Maybe, trumpeter Grant Mason and the rhythm section of Wayne Melville (bass) and Neil Reynolds (drums).
The band's reunion gig at the Waihi Beach Hotel is free and starts at 4pm.
If anyone gets to these events and you want to share the experience, please drop me an email. And I'll tell you about the burgers.