November‘s musical pile up

Ash Grunwald.

November's annual musical frenzy usually peaks around the end of the month.

The impending arrival of Christmas is to blame of course as work functions proliferate and the opportunity arises to reclaim a few free drinks from whichever organisation has been underpaying you all year.

Every December weekend sees a host of such events, and any gig in December puts bands in the position of losing part of their audience to company Christmas celebrations. It's just the way it goes, but it does tend to produce a bit of a log-jam at the end of November.

So let's look ahead to next weekend.

Everything I'm mentioning this week is happening on Saturday, November 30.

There's plenty to choose from.

There are gigs at the Mount, in downtown Tauranga, at the Historic Village, out in Whakamarama, all over really...

And if the choice of blues,  indie pop, folk music,  improvised rock and more isn't enough for you then they're celebrating the Miracle of Christmas, that night, at St Peters Church on Spring Street with 'Season of Wonders', a cantata arranged by Joseph Martin.  

The choir will also perform a variety of well-known carols with, no doubt, plenty of opportunities for audience participation.

The list

But let's get back to those other shows. Let me first apologise since this looks like a list.

But it's an exciting list: bands from around the world!

Bands you've never heard before! Bands no one's ever heard before! Bands who don't know what they're going to play! We'll start with that last one first.

This is something new and unusual. A debuting band called III will perform their first show at 8pm at The Hop House on Wharf Street. They promise 'No songs, no singing, no covers, no rehearsals, just spontaneous musicianship'. Yep, this is Tauranga's first and only 100 per cent fully improvisational band. It comprises three mighty musicians, guitarist Sean Bodley, drummer James Bos and bass player Ian Clark. Expect heavy instrumentals and serious shredding. No charge.

Also on the heavier end of the spectrum is Auckland band Coridian, which has released a new single Rite of Passage and is touring the North Island. They're at the Voodoo Lounge being supported by Wellington's rock darlings Curly's Jewels which has also just released a new EP.

Things kick off at about 8pm and will cost you $20 (only on the door).

Sneaky bones

Meanwhile, it looks like it'll be a good night down at The Jam Factory at The Historic Village where international visitor Matthew Bean is playing under his stage moniker Sneaky Bones. The Seattle native was here solo, early last year, and returns with a new album – Strangers I've Already Met – and a full band.

You can find music, videos, and more information about Matthew at: and I'd recommend you do. The new album is filled with interesting songs and imaginative production. Not only that but he's joined by Kiwi duo Paper Cranes who are rather wonderful themselves. And tickets for the 7pm show (via are a mere $10.

And the blues... at Totara Street Aussie blues Maestro Ash Grunwald is promoting his new album, Mojo.

Recorded in the US and Australia, Mojo is Grunwald's first new studio album in four years and features guest appearances by The Teskey Brothers, Mahalia Barnes and Joe Bonamassa amongst others.

Again, I recommend checking out his website where you can hear new single Whispering Voice, a blues rock duet with Kasey Chambers. The show is at 8pm, tickets are $39. Supporting Ash will be hi-energy Kiwi duo Swamp Thing, now made up of drumming multi-instrumentalist Michael Barker and new guitarist Brett Adams.

And out in Whakamarama at the Black Sheep there's a four band blues bash they're calling the North Island Blues Rock Review. I presume they mean “Revue”.

Kicking off at 4pm bands include locals Hybrid Blues, Rotorua duo Hammer On (one half of which is Peri Grant, winner of the Black Sheep's recent harmonica competition), Auckland band The Dirty Tones and more. Tickets are $20 on

Things will run through till 11pm.

You may also like...


There are no comments on this article.

Leave a Comment

You must be logged in to make a comment. Login Now