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Thursday, March 27, 2014

It's 30 year's since the Trades Hall bombing.

Yes, believe it or not it's 30 years since the Trades Hall bombing at 5.19  on 27 March. Groove is now located in the very same building these days and we are constantly reminded of the incident.  I remember it well as I was over at my Dad's warehouse waiting for a ride home from rugby practice when we heard the commotion.  I didn't actually hear the bang but we caw the smoke and the police, people pouring out of near by buildings in shock. It was a very confusing time.  We didn't learn the details until much later.

There is a Memorial Service at 5.19 at Trades Hall in honour of Ernie Abbott.  Read more about it here:

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

This week on the Adventures of The CoffeeBar Kid it's all retro

We head back to WOMAD to talk to Pokey Lafarge and we also check out the newest retro chick on the block - Tami Neilson. 

Pokey LaFarge is a musician, songwriter, bandleader, entertainer, innovator and preservationist, whose arsenal of talents has placed him at the forefront of American music. Over the last decade, Pokey has won the hearts of music lovers across the globe with his creative mix of early jazz, string ragtime, country blues and western swing. After signing with Jack White’s Third Man Records to release his fifth full-length album (Pokey LaFarge) in 2013, he performed as a musical guest on The Late Show with David Letterman and The Late Late Show on Ireland’s RTÉ One network. Pokey’s rendition of “Lovesick Blues” with Vince Giordano and the Nighthawks, featured on an episode of Boardwalk Empire, was selected for inclusion on the series’ official soundtrack (Vol. 2). Additionally, Pokey appeared in Disney’s The Lone Ranger (both on screen and on the original score), was featured on A Prairie Home Companion and NPR’s World Cafe, and recorded a song for ATO Records’ Divided & United: Songs of the Civil War, produced by Randall Poster.
2014 looks to be Pokey’s most momentous year yet; by spring, Pokey will have brought his music to five continents, with international tours in India, Australia and New Zealand. In the past year, Pokey’s tour trail (consisting of over 250 shows) included appearances at clubs and festivals across the USA and Canada as well as two extensive tours in Europe. Pokey has played with the likes of Jack White, The Raconteurs, Wanda Jackson, Old Crow Medicine Show, and most recently, Carolina Chocolate Drops. As an opening act on Jack White’s Blunderbuss tour, he delighted sold out crowds at Red Rocks Amphitheater and Radio City Music Hall, among other notable venues in North America. Pokey is currently touring with a five-piece backing band, including his original bandmates (Ryan Koenig on harmonica, washboard and snare, Adam Hoskins on guitar and Joey Glynn on upright bass), in addition to Chloe Feoranzo on clarinet and TJ Muller on cornet.
At only 30 years old, Pokey’s career has not slowed in momentum since it began with his first release Marmalade (2007). Shortly followed by Beat, Move and Shake (2008) and Riverboat Soul (2010), Pokey quickly graduated from breakthrough artist to leading musical figure, receiving two consecutive Independent Music Awards for Best Americana Album (Riverboat Soul and Middle of Everywhere).
Pokey’s music transcends the confines of genre, continually challenging the notion that tradition-bearers fail to push musical boundaries. Rather than merely conjuring up half-forgotten imagery of days past, Pokey is a lyrical storyteller, the plot delivered smoothly through his dynamic vocals. Both on stage and off, his effortless wit never fails to charm audiences, giving way to a live music experience that manages to be grandiose and unassuming all at once. Born in the heartland of America and based in St. Louis, Missouri, Pokey’s Midwestern charisma welcomes his audiences with open arms.
Pokey LaFarge is on a mission, encouraging fans worldwide to think differently about what it means to celebrate musical traditions. Simply put, Pokey explains, “It’s not retro music. It’s American music that never died.”

With a soulful voice straight from the golden age of country and rockabilly music, Tami Neilson has been described as "A red-hot honky-tonker, somewhere between Patsy Cline and Wanda Jackson with perhaps just a little bit of Peggy Lee sophistication.” (-Nick Bollinger, NZ National Radio)

Singing her heart out along endless roads and stages, from her days as a young girl in the touring Neilson Family band opening for the likes of Johnny Cash to her full blossoming as a formidable talent in her own right, Tami Neilson has won the Tui Award for each of her past three albums.

In the past year Tami has performed at numerous international festivals in New Zealand, Australia and North America, headlined 5 national tours, working with “Grand Ole Hayride” and “The Gunslingers Ball”, opened for both Emmylou Harris at the Vector Arena and Pokey LaFarge and was chosen to pay tribute at Dave Dobbyn’s induction into the Hall of Fame in a stunning performance at the prestigious Silver Scrolls.

Now, with her explosive new album “Dynamite!” she’s bound to turn even more heads.

Her first album to be recorded solely in New Zealand at The Sitting Room in Lyttelton and produced by Delaney Davidson and Ben Edwards, “Dynamite!” showcases Tami’s skill at writing and crafting a song and her diversity as an artist.

Moving easily through blues driven numbers like “Walk (Back to Your Arms)” and “Dynamite”, Tami shows us new facets in the jewel, her soulful side with “Cry Over You” and her maple-sweetness in “Honey Girl”, before she kicks it up with rockin’ numbers like “Woo-Hoo” and “Come Over”.  Those familiar with her previous work will be happy to hear the country lament “You Lie” and her bell-like “Texas”, keeping one foot squarely planted in the country corner.

A couple of duets appear on the album: young Marlon Williams leaves us breathless while matching Tami word for word in the fun and frantic “Woo Hoo” , Ben Woolley croons with heartbreak of a spurned suitor in “Whiskey and Kisses”, while fellow hay-rider Delaney Davidson’s worries are kissed away in “Running to You”.

Steel playing wizard Red McKelvie came out of retirement to play on the songs after he heard the demos. The album also features Dave Khan on fiddle, mandolin and guitar, bass and backing vocals.  Joe MacCallum on drums & percussion and Ben Woolley (The Unfaithful Ways) on bass and backing vocals.

And check this out - a whole magazine about Vintage - Glory Days!

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Groove is at WOMAD

For up to date photos and comments check our facebook page (click the link on the right)- and for interviews listen live! Groove Facebook

Groove heads to New Plymouth for WOMAD - now in its 10th year.


WOMAD Saturday 15 March. It's 7.30 PM on Saturday evening, and the weather gods are smiling - mostly at least. I'm sitting on the lake band between the Dell Stage and the TSB Bowl Stage, enjoying the wonderful samba-DJ mix from Jennifer Zea and Latinaotearoa. Zea's gig is just one of the highlights this weekend. While the rest of the country's diving for cover from Cyclone Lusi, the 'Naki remains, to date, at least, relatively unscathed. Rain has shown but the heat, both physically and musically has not been quelled. Tim Finn and the Bads (Dianne Swann and Brett Adams) opened WOMAD last night with a clutch of tunes from the Finn/Enz songbook. The man himself was sounding a little strained but the Bads' treatment of his material gave new life to stuff like "Fraction too much Fiction", some of his solo work and a bunch of ancient70's Split Enz numbers. Now while Finn was an attraction, the night was definitely owned by Kimbra. She 'arrived' resplendent and royal (pun intended) in a white cloak of shimmering stardom ready to take on all challengers! Her dress, a tutu styled cartoon number, was as loud as bombs as it almost threatened to drown out her own vocals! As if! She ran through a stunning assault from her new work (out soon) and her incredible debut Vows. Her vocal gymnastics, the power of big stage amplification and the size of the audience all added to her phenomenal presence.

Dean with Pokey LaFarge

Today began with West Papuan Aireleke, a dj/rapper/performed who mixes his traditional musical upbringing with colourful hip hop. He was a force for good! The afternoon saw Buika take to the stage - her magnetism and shear power was mesmerising. Fado singer Carminho has been the darling of the festival - singing (or battling) with/to Jax at the Taste the World and then twice on stage. Her sound mixes traditional and modern in its own elegant confrontation. Unlike others of the genre she is so fluent, you can understand on a lever almost beyond language. Sam Lee and friends proved to be more than just a Home Counties preservation society. Waiora, who specialise in traditional Maori instruments, brought a real depth of soul. Their performance was spellbinding, haunting, and impressive. By the way Google them up for koha/download of their sounds. Red Baraat brought the party back to the Mainstage with a full on percussive, brassy funk, mixing Indian Bollywood with Nu-York Jams. They had the whole bank up and dancing. Just say WOW! Pokey LaFarge showed why he's one of the headliners. His vintage, Southern charm warmed the crowd, as the moon cranked open the cloud-space and let the stars through. "This might not be the South but it's the furtherest south we've been," Pokey announced. His infectious retro-grooves even the teenagers boppin' in Charleston-style.

Mckenzie creating Gold leaves
on the Govett-Brewster Gold Tree sculpture

By far, one of the weekend's highlights was Roberto Fonseca. His Afro-Cuban Jazz is often to be found in the more 'academic' concert halls of residence but was a welcome alternative to funk-heavy party music on the other stages tonight. Fonseca is a real magician on the keyboards, as his fingers meld Mali rhythms with Afro-Cuban be-bop with hour, subtlety, precision and sometimes, urgency. And despite the potential polarisation Jazz can bring to festival crowds it's possible that he may have scored one of the biggest head counts of the night! For me, the night finished with Femi Kuti and his show. He performed at WOMAD 3 year's ago, and it was good to see him back. However, at a news conference earlier, he'd talked of the deep-seated corruption in his home country of Nigeria. Like his father, Fela Kuti, Femi too felt he could too stand as a people's representative. Yet, with the cancer so deep in the bone, he said, no single politician can ever turn around this culture. Sobering reflections indeed.

Pam enjoys the oppulent Media facilities

WOMAD Sunday 16 March. Holly Smith opened today with her "chur bro" charm and sonic soul. She ripped into a couple of impressive new ones, promising a new album - maybe - next March followed by a brilliant rendition of Hendrix's 'Little Wing' with keyboardist Guy Harrison doing a blinder of a solo. "you never know what the sun may bring..." croons Pokey La Farge, back for his second show, this time in full adoration of the Baby boomer Sunday-set. His perfect, crisp down-home retro Americana is still delicious highlight of the festival. Spot winners the Balkanista, a hotch-potch band of gypsy office-worker-cum-students from Welly brought their A-game, and the most flamboyant costumes, out site the kid's parade which the later led. Ann Brun showed her pseudo Celtic power on the Bowl stage later, performing a stormy she shanty with a rare driving shower appearing on cue for the ending. The rain soon cleared for Fonseca's second appearance.

Tim with Speech (Arrested Development)

Sadly, travel commitments meant that I missed Arrested Development's closing performance, the only one of the festival. But Speech was still everywhere - at Taste The World cooking turkey lasagne; In Conversation, raising his concerns about the commercialisation and violence of modern hip hop; and in a press conference back stage, swapping links to Kiwi hip hop and soul artists with me for his radio show. I also caught up with Kimbra and Pokey LaFarge back stage - interviews are on their way. Off stage there was a traditional tattooist, a weaving programme, a kid's area, street theatre featuring comedic crooning garbagemen, a pirate, fleabites and a solid gold tree in the park. 10 years in the 'Naki has seen this festival go from strength to strength an I'll guaranteed that this review will be only one perspective on this amazing three day weekend. It's never just about the acts; it's the atmosphere, the vibe, the 2000 strong tent village on the racecourse, and the love! A special thanks to the TAFT publicity crew and all the volunteers for making everyone so welcome and making Peter Gabriel's vision the best WOMAD festival in the world - hands down!

Check out our Facebook Page for more photos and info on what we got up to .... Groove Facebook

Monday, March 10, 2014


Prepare with interviews with the Balkanistas, Pokey Lafarge, Hollie Smith and Airleke on the upcoming Adventures of the CoffeeBar Kid WOMAD Special - this Thursday Night from 7.30Pm only on

Tuesday, March 04, 2014

This week on the Adventures of The CoffeeBar Kid

Festival Time! The Kid will tell you what he's been up to, reviewing some of the music and shows on at the festival and he looks forward to WOMAD.  PS look out for a big pre-WOMAD show next week.  See you at 7.30PM on Thursday!

Also it's Writer's week - check out the programme.