READ: Music in the provinces

After reading a thinkpiece earlier this week called 'Creative Darwinism' about making music outside of cultural capitals and how it can make for more original and passionate music, I decided I would spend my last blog celebrating music from provincial New Zealand.

I grew up in Whanganui in the mid-2000s, a city (only just) most touring musicians shied away from, given the tumbleweeds rolling down the main street after 5pm, or 2pm on Saturdays. Our saving grace was a room in someone's flat where they had installed a lighting rig and PA. It was called the Eye of Night and it was the best. We went to every show there that our parents would let us, usually one every couple of months, and I saw bands that would become my favourites for years to come. And I learnt something that I wasn't expecting, that the local openers were often more interesting and better performers than the touring act from ~Melbourne~ or ~Nashville~ or ~Auckland~.

One of these consistent standouts was Sets of 57 or later, Sets. (Apologies for the sound quality)

But that was 10 years ago (dear god) - who is making interesting and different music in NZ's sleepy towns in 2017?

Fruit Juice Parade are two teenagers living in Palmerston North. With the incredible support of the local community based around venues The Stomach and Great Job, they've been making some exceptional music.

Also from Palmerston North are Token Effort, nourished by those same venues - a provincial NZ take on Vancouver-core (like Women, Preoccupations etc).

From Whakatane, but recently relocated to Wellington, The Fatalities are a solo project that, rumour has it, will become an active live band this year.

It's not so much that these provincial bands are better than bands from our larger centres; it's more about a humble and open attitude that ends up producing a higher ratio of interesting and passionate bands.

- James
TTO + Kia tika e rangatahi panapana

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