Monday, October 19, 2015

Shakey Graves

Upon returning to Wellington after the fun of New Year's I returned to work as a construction labourer, something I was fairly confident I would be able to do full time without having to commit to anything more than a casual contract.

This was important because of my plan to escape to Melbourne in March to satiate my wanderlust briefly whilst waiting for the U.S. government to provide me with a copy of my non-existent criminal record so that my Canadian work visa could be approved...but I digress.

I signed up with a recruitment company who called me up the next day to send me to a site I would end up working on 40-50 hours a week for the next two months. Sorted.

During my time on this job two important things happened, the cricket world cup began with Australia and New Zealand co-hosting and one of my favourite lesser known musicians (though not for long) announced a New Zealand date on his tour.

For those of you that are unfamiliar with the incredible alt-bluesy sound of Shakey Graves, get to googling that name. I highly recommend "Dearly Departed", "Late July" and "Roll the Bones" as songs to get you hooked on him. He hails from the famous musical city of Austin, Texas and is the type of artist (in terms of fan-base size) that would normally ignore NZ altogether (I'm looking at you Watsky!) on the logic that a couple of Australian dates covers all that needs to be covered in the South Pacific region of the globe.

When the announcement came through that he'd be stopping off for one New Zealand show at The Tuning Fork (A really cool bar type venue setup next to vector to cater to smaller scale gigs), I did some number crunching and booked my tickets as soon as they became available, electing to head up and back by bus over the working weekend, spending one night in Auckland.

I had a hell of a time booking accomodation because the night of the gig also happened to be the day that Eden Park was hosting a cricket world cup pool match between Australia and New Zealand (the first of two clashes we'd have with them in the cup as it turned out) but eventually managed to find a bed in a backpackers not far from Queen Street for a reasonable price.

On friday I finished up work, jumped a bus up to Auckland and arrived mid-morning saturday. After wandering around for a bit I came across a fan area set up with a big screen and seating for people to come and watch the cricket. Figuring that would be a nice way to kill time before the concert, I dropped my stuff off at my accomodation, stopped by a supermarket for game-watching snacks and water (it was a ridiculously warm day) and settled in a good spot within the grandstand to avoid the heat as much as possible.

The cricket played out pretty spectacularly with both sides dropping wickets like crazy, New Zealand eventually getting the better of our tasman counterparts very narrowly in what should have been a more convincing win given the bowling effort. The game wrapped up with just enough time for me to walk down to The Tuning Fork as doors opened so I got the best of both worlds really.

As expected the gig was fucking phenomenal. There was a New Zealand solo act named Will Wood who was very high energy for one man with a guitar and is worth checking out. He played a few original songs and a few covers of classic country/blues type songs whilst rocking around stage in a cowboy hat. After Will's set, Shakey came out with his touring drummer and played a hell of a set. He ripped through all his staples (Roll the Bones, Dearly Departed, Late July) played some impeccable mouth trumpet and even called random fans up to stage throughout the night to help him sing some of his songs.

It was an incredible show and I'm grateful that Shakey decided to make the NZ stop on his tour. I hope he'll be back on NZ soil again soon or that I'll get to see him over in the USA or Canada next year when I'm travelling. Definitely worth the 24 hour return bus trip to get up there to see him and definitely good use of a weekend on my part.

My next post here will be about my Melbourne excursion and things I discovered in that crazy town across the ditch.

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