Reasons to be cheerful – Part 41

California psychedelic power trio Earthless.

We return to the occasional series wherein Winston expounds on things currently making him happy. This week he’s once again as contented as a cat sitting in a small box. Three gigs in three days, that’s all it takes. And a book. So join Winston, forget your troubles and just get happy!

203: Jamming at The Jam Factory!

On Friday, February 22, reprising a show that was a sell-out at the 2017 Arts Festival, are singer/songwriter Sarah Spicer and The Blue Riders.

The first set will be from The Riders, featuring Liam Ryan on keyboards with Wayne Melville (bass) and Jeff Baker (drums) – who are also the core band at Mount Maunganui’s Mount Social Club monthly jazz jams. The band will then back Sarah, a 2016 NZ X-Factor finalist with good songs and a fine voice.

This continues to be a busy summer for Liam.

He has recently competed a five-night run with The Narcs, including a show at Napier’s legendary Cabana where their posters were still on the wall from 30 years ago. Liam will also be playing with Midge Marsden’s band at Selwyn Sounds in Canterbury on March 2 alongside the Little River Band, before headlining Nelson’s Marchfest with The Narcs on March 9.

Showtime is 7pm, and tickets are $15 from:

204: Americans at the Mount!

California psychedelic power trio Earthless are preparing to make their first foray into New Zealand territory and arrive at Mount Maunganui’s Totara Street on Saturday, 23 February, in support of their acclaimed 2018 studio album, Black Heaven, and their new live album, From the West. Formed in 2001 in San Diego and comprising singer/guitarist Isaiah Mitchell, drummer Mario Rubalcaba and bassist Mike Eginton, Earthless are a primarily instrumental trio in the vein of Japanese psych bands such as Blues Creation and Krautrock bands like Amon Düül II. And, of course, Cream.

There would be no Earthless if it wasn’t for Cream, whom they describe as “the great-grandfathers of power trios”.

Publicity suggests their music will melt your mind.

Tickets are $46 from:

205: Swinging At The Quarry!

Not infrequent visitors to Tauranga, swinging humourists The Andrew London Trio are returning to Te Puna Quarry Gallery on Sunday, 24 February, for one final knees-up in the Bay with their current line-up.

Sadly, sax and clarinet wiz Nils Olsen, who seems to have mastered anything you blow, sings a great harmony and is the creator of wheezing alter-ego Cecil Stevenson, is returning to live in Germany  in June.

That’s gonna mean a bit of an overhaul for the trio, with only Andrew and bass playing co-singer Kirsten London still on board. The future is unclear.

This is another show hosted by the indefatigable Rosie Holmes, so call Rosie on: 07 552 6291 or email: to book. Tickets are $25.00, and kick-off is at 7pm.

206: New Burke book in the Bay!

I’m a man of simple pleasures, and the arrival of a new James Lee Burke book, especially one featuring his iconic Louisiana detective Dave Robicheaux, makes this a blue-ribbon month. I shot straight down to Books-A-Plenty and had the pleasure of supporting a genuinely independent book shop. It was also cheaper there.

I actually did a bit of mild detective work of my own when I got home. I went online to Amazon and various other internet booksellers. How did they compare? The book I bought here was a paperback, costing $35. On Aussie Amazon, no luck - the book isn’t released in any form there until June.

Amazon in the UK? Hardback only, paperback in June.

Cost landed in NZ? $45.

Amazon in America? Same thing - no paperback yet, hardback cost to NZ $43. Same story at Book Depository but a little cheaper at $39.

So New Zealand would appear to be the only country in the world where you can actually buy a paperback of The New Iberia Blues, as Burke’s new novel is called.

It’s also the cheapest place to get it. It’s a weird world, and stories about online shopping being cheaper may not always be entirely true…


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