Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Strictly Rocking An Ting: Inna Auckland

Read on for DJ Art’s comments on the Auckland reggae scene:

I paid a brief visit to Auckland recently and was impressed with the changes and developments in the reggae scene, from what I remember from a few years back. I made sure to hit up the usual hot spots for doses of whatever reggae happenings I could find, these came in the form of radio shows, record store visits, and of course getting up inna de dance.

Buying reggae music in Auckland is always something I look forward to. Real Groovy (on Queen Street) still maintains a reggae section with comprehensive and diverse CD titles and a small range of vinyl. If you are lucky you may find some hot second-hand 12"s and albums alongside a few new compilations and LPs.

Beat Merchants (Victoria St - East) is the spot for the more serious record buyers, simply because they order weekly and cater to fans of vintage ska /roots to contemporary-roots/bashment-dancehall. They seemed to stock (still!) the biggest bins of 7", 10", 12", and LPs" of reggae music, not to mention some great CDs.

Slightly further downtown on High St is the petite little record store called Conch. Though the space is not much bigger than a bus-stop (originally started as a market stall in Aotea Square), Reggae heads won’t be disappointed by the superb selection of music. The latest riddims arrive regularly on 7" and a few surprises can always be found in the sale bins. There are also a few CDs and 12"s/LPs that shouldn't be over looked.

Auckland offers more than a few reggae-friendly radio stations and some great 'specialist' reggae shows. BFM, Base FM, Fleet FM, plus a few more all delivered tight programmes featuring various reggae sub-genres.

On Friday 20 May, at the Safari Lounge on Ponsonby Road, the Auckland six piece reggae band, The Midnights, performed a set of original ska/roots/reggae. A good sized crowd were up for the irie tunes and these guys laid it down well and truly proper. One of the country's best vocalists, reggae veteran Tuffy Culture, took to the mic a few times throughout the set and to put it simply, 'blazed fire hotta in the dance'.

'Give Demarun' was the name for a night of dancehall, hip-hop and jungle that went down well at a new downstairs venue called the Viper Room, situated near K. Rd on Cross St. Headlining the bill were Auckland heavyweights Tuff Enchant and Dubhead, and joining them were a host of other performers holding down duties on the mic and dropping big tunes in the mix. Nice contemporary roots tunes warmed up the dancehall before an up-tempo mix of bashment classics and fresh riddims. A guest Hungarian selector had the dance floor rocking and was followed by a DJ who wasn’t shy to include some impressive mixing skills with hot selections. By this stage the crowd were well ready for the jungle selections that came later.

Auckland's reggae scene certainly holds it down when it comes to delivering quality music to the people. I look forward to my next visit and hope this write-up has been helpful to anyone intending to get their reggae stylee on inna Auckland. Respect.

*no P heads were harmed during the making of this write-up*


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sizeable ups to DJ Art for reminding us Wellingtonians that there is more to Auckers than big roads, big cars and pointy buildings. The Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to P-Heads will be very pleased with your disclaimer also.

4:35 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


11:51 AM  

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