The Others Way Festival ran on September 1st in Auckland, New Zealand.
For two years running, The Others Way has seen Auckland’s Karangahape Road transform into a heaven of local music, with the hottest, out-of-the-box indie, electronica, pop and more.
I was lucky enough to attend this year’s festival, which celebrates the best in alternative music from across the New Zealand, with a few acts from around the globe too. The Others Way featured over 30 acts across ten venues for a one-stop A-Z dip into an oasis of the coolest kiwi music.
The lineup was performed across a number of fine K Road establishments – Whammy Bar, Wine Cellar, Neck of the Woods, Galatos, The Studio and The Thirsty Dog.
With so much going on it was always going to be difficult to see and hear everything that I wanted. I got there early and found that by 7pm K Road was already teeming with music fans and musicians. There was a real sense of community that develops when so many like-minded individuals converge on one area.
Here is a rundown of who I managed to catch as I raced up and down K Road with my timetable and wristband on.
First up was AC Freazy who was opening the night at Neck of The Woods, with an 80’s synth pop set which featured his bandmate from Tiny Ruins on bass along with an appearance from the excellent Nick Atkinson from Hopetown Brown who played sax on Where Are U Now track.
I then jumped down the road to Pitt St Sunday School, which yes, was inside a church. With a high school disco theme it was like being 14 again. I caught Daily Keno there. With a floating Beach Boys sound, they executed a short 25-minute set well, adding to the alternative vibe within the Sunday School.
It was over to the Wine Cellar next, which is an excellent small, cramped, dark venue on K Road. Earth Tongue (who we have interviewed previously), the two-piece ripped up their instruments, in a furious, deafening set to the delight of the packed-out basement room.
Attendees drifted quietly between dark rooms and hallways, with almost a reverent respect for the artists playing their sets. Joining the queue, I managed to sneak my way into Whammy’s Back Room where Queen Neptune were on. A band I had never heard of before, but was extremely thankful I stumbled across during the festival.
Queen Neptune are duo Caoimhe Macfehin and Karl Steven, an otherworldly synth act who welcomed in 2017 by unveiling their self-titled debut album on New Year’s Day.
Next up, was HEX. Another band I have had the pleasure of speaking to over the past few months since my arrival in Auckland. Playing the main stage at Whammy, the band crafted each song as a spell, harnessing the power of feminine energy with a brooding sound.
HEX are the cusp of releasing their highly-anticipated debut EP – so will be sure to share with you guys when we get a preview!
It was back to Neck of The Woods to see Hopetoun Brown, a two-piece hip-hop soul band of trumpet and bass-clarinet. The duo who have been playing together since their teens as the Supergroove horn section – use just voice, trumpet, trombone, percussion (Stewart) and bass clarinet (Atkinson) to blow up a storm of soul, jazz, blues and electricity-free hip-hop. With a few sing-alongs integrated into the set, they had us all clapping, swaying and singing along to Sweet Dreams (Are Made Of This).
Tiny Ruins have some well-known admirers. Fellow Kiwi singer-songwriter Lorde recommended a Fullbrook demo titled Dream Wave to the legendary American film director and music producer David Lynch, who subsequently invited her to record the song in his Los Angeles studio. Hollie and co-produce thoughtful songs and beautiful arrangements – pooled with a spellbinding voice, it was an exquisite treat to be in the audience at a their Galatos show.
Vancouver’s own, The Courtneys were over for the festival and were one of the standout acts on the night. Playing to a packed-out crowd at the Galatos Main Room, with a sun drenched indie pop set, the trio filled their set with catchy songs about heartache and longing. There is something about the presence of a singer/drummer that always intrigues me, thrashing out fuzzy guitar riffs with a punkish bass line, their set was a joy to witness.
Last up and multiple beers later, last on my little tour of K Road, was Lawrence Arabia, the musical guise of New Zealand artist and composer James Milne. He was headlining Studio with a set comprising of multiple tracks from his fourth studio album, which was released last year. There’s a certain vulnerability to the tracks on his fourth album, which makes them feel more personal, whilst still producing that tongue in cheek style that Milne does so well. Milne is the best contemporary songwriter working in this country and Kiwis are lucky to have him.
So that was it – my first New Zealand festival was a night overflowing with cutting edge local indie, electronica, hip hop, and alt-pop. The night was a joy to behold, with some great acts discovered along the way. We won’t mention the slight hangover that proceeded. Thanks Flying Out Music and bFM for a fantastic night!