I think I can say – without fear of contradiction – that we’re getting close to the end of the year.
Let’s assume that y’all by now have plans for New Year’s Eve.
There’s a lot going on, so have fun and do it safely. There are all sorts of emergency services out there working while we party.
Let’s try not to need them.
Traditionally, at this time of year one either looks forward – New Year’s resolutions, hopes for 2019, psychic predictions, etc – or takes a glance back at the expiring year, compiling ‘Best of’ lists and suchlike. I’m going with the latter, but no ‘Best of’ lists since they’re getting harder by the year. How does one assemble a ‘Best of’ film list any more? Films in the cinema? Films in video stores? Both of those are now pretty redundant these days. Films on Netflix? Other digital services? How does one make a list of the best new releases when it’s impossible to know what the choices are?
The same is true of music. It’s become almost impossible to keep track of releases when many are ‘digital only’, some only appear on Bandcamp, and many are unannounced. I can tell you my favourite jazz and blues albums for the year but only because they arrived in the last month and I’ve written about them. For reference they are: The Wellington City Shake ‘Em on Downers – ‘On The Menu’; and The Flaming Mudcats – ‘Cut Loose’.
So I want to doff the fancy fedora to local things, which have helped make the music scene here a more vibrant place.
There’s no overall ‘winner’, just a few events and folk who deserve kudos for their contributions...
1) Katikati Folk Club – the KKFC is, as I have been droning on about for years, one of the Bay’s cultural gems. They host visiting acts every month and have jam sessions in between.
Their concerts are affordable, they are unstintingly welcoming to visitors, and they observe little things that make it extra special such as using unique backdrops for each concert.
Just in recent months their unassuming base in the Katikati Bowling Club has welcomed The Penmans, Fables, Albi & The Wolves, Dave Alley, Dan Walsh, Wilde Taylor, The Danberrys and more. Long may they run.
2) Jazz Jams @ The Mount Social Club – the last Wednesday of every month has seen jazz culture flourishing at the Mount Social Club with the regular jazz jams, organised by the Tauranga Jazz Society, going from strength to strength.
With a solid core of top players including drummer Jeff Baker, bassman Wayne Melville and keyboard wiz Liam Ryan, this has attracted everyone from school players to top professionals.
3) Blues Jams @ Jack Dusty’s Ale House – more music on Wednesdays, this time the second Wednesday of the month. The nights started at the now-closed Drivers Bar, moving to Bureta’s Jack Dusty’s Ale House in September. Just as well, since they are getting so popular that the bigger venue is essential.
The nights themselves have morphed into more of a band showcase than a jam per se and are attracting both locals and musicians from as far afield as Hamilton. Respect is due bass player and organiser Dave Porter and the rest of the house band, who have given up their monthly Wednesdays for some years out of sheer love of the music.
Without them and the house musicians at the jazz jam these things simply wouldn’t exist.
4) The Station – your Vinyl Destination – a radio station in a record store, what more could you ask for? Since its inception on 105.4FM The Station has been playing a fine selection of music, including much that is local which is a wonderful thing.
They have also been hosting a pile of concerts, from showcases for school bands to the likes of James Reid, Hangar 18 and many more.
This is a brilliant addition to the Tauranga scene, hats off to Grant Hislop and everyone else involved!