Tauranga is growing like Topsy – just look at the number of upcoming concerts in this sleepy ol' town.
I guess you could regard it as a build-up to the Arts Festival, which kicks off on October 19 and runs for 10 days with a veritable bucket-load of dance, theatre, literature and music.
I'm going to have a good look at the festival closer to the time, but if you're the sort who likes to plan early and actually buy tickets in advance – which is quite a useful at the Arts Festival as they tend to sell out shows – then there are a number of cool things you might like to look out for.
Over the course of those 10 days I'd consider heading to the waterfront to catch the Thomas Oliver Band or bluesman Big Daddy Wilson, or over to Mount Maunganui for the Aussie rockabilly of Royale Riot or folk/rock from Miles Calder and the Rumour. Back at the Crystal Palace tent there is dark Australian folk from Bush Gothic and the smooth bluesy sounds of Sarah Spicer and the Blue Riders.
And there's more. Of course there is.
Before the festival
There's also a lot on between now and then and I'd hate anyone to miss out through myopic focus on Arts Festival events. This week I'll run through a few of those. Look upon this as an annotated calendar – stick it on your fridge or put the dates into your phone.
I'll return to some of these in coming weeks but here's a sampler of coming attractions.
Let's start with this weekend. Saturday 16 in fact. This may not be for everyone, but there's a punk gig happening – another Woodcock bash out at Pyes Pa; this one part of a brief nationwide tour by Master Blaster, evocatively titled ‘Master Blaster Pass Out'.
They're bringing Auckland band Blame Thrower (great name!) and will be joined by heroic locals Super Narco Man.
It's R18, door sales only, get the details from the Facebook page.
Returning to the land of relative normality, I'm going to abandon a chronological approach. There are a couple of big shows coming up at Totara Street that really require little by way of explanation.
First up, the Black Seeds are playing on September 23. Barnaby Weir's band are just back from touring American and Canada and are promoting their new album, Fabric. A couple of weeks later (October 5) Holly Smith is there, celebrating the tenth anniversary of the release of her breakthrough album, Long Player.
Then the beginning of October is especially busy for folk fans. On Saturday, October 7 Kendall Elise – who was here recently supporting Tony Daunt and the Dauntless – returns to The Incubator at the Historic Village on her ‘I Didn't Stand A Chance' tour. The evocative video for that song was shot in the Karangahake Gorge railway tunnel.
Next day (October 8) there's a clash. The rather brilliant, internationally-feted Irish singer Declan O'Rourke is coming to the ‘new' Hop House. That'll be called The Barrel Room and will be opening in Wharf St at the end of this month. Check out Declan online and prepare to be amazed.
Meanwhile, out in Te Puna at Rosie's Shed – a lovely rustic venue indeed – there's some sterling bluegrass in the form of Auckland's Pipi Pickers.
Everyone who's been to previous concerts at Rosie's Te Puna Avo Orchard will look forward to this. $20 tickets come from Rosie at firstname.lastname@example.org or (07) 5526291.
And the following week, Friday 13 to be precise, blues 'n' roots favourites Kokomo will be playing their first theatre show in Tauranga since the sold-out concert at last year's Jazz Festival. This time they're at the 16 Ave Theatre and are promising special guests and all sorts of new treats.
I believe all of these events – aside from Rosie's, hence the info – are listed on Eventfinda. Don't wait until the Arts festival: get out there and have some fun!