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(Live Review) Cuba Street Carnival

Steph Walker



28th, 29th February
Waking up on Saturday 28th February and seeing great vast expanses of rain almost made me cry. If you were in a similar situation, spare a thought for the organisers of the Cuba Street Carnival, who have been planning for two years to get the amazing line up of mainly Wellington bands on to the various stages. But, nevertheless, it was on, and I braved the elements to catch a glimpse of some of my favourite local bands.
To be honest, I didn’t see too much on that Saturday – soaking Chucks do that to a girl, but what I did see was damn cool. Shitloads of people dancing in the rain, some with bobbing umbrellas. Fortunately the Export Gold Main Stage was dry enough for the bands to play on, and apparently warm enough for Kirsten Morelle from Goldenhorse to strip down to a pink satin camisole, much to the delight of male audience members. I have had mixed experiences with Goldenhorse live but this gig was, thankfully, a good day. I am pleased to say they’ve got a bit more guitars going on live than on their sickly sweet album, guitarist Ben King not looking cool enough for his retro guitar, but pulling out some nice riffs along the way.
At night I ventured out again to catch my current favourites, Scribes of Ra. These guys do afro jazz with vigour, and if the girls got sick of Kirsten Morelle, there are plenty of, umm, talented guys in this “big band”. You can’t help but wiggle your arse to these guys: think Fat Freddy’s with a bit more jazz, a tad more funk, and of course those afro beats. Mmmmm. Look out for them.
Thankfully, it was a sunny Sunday. A murmur of “thank Christ” was in the air as I journeyed out after work to catch Phoenix Foundation, Flash Harry and the Future of Loves, Idiomatic and Trinity Roots. God damn this city breeds winners. The Phoenix Foundation boys were happy to be there, singer Sam Scott looking the most energetic I have ever seen him on stage. Idiomatic is a four piece with Holly Smith on vocals; a sultry smooth voice coming from a tattooed lady. Again, that good old jazz/roots Wellington sound, but if you ever get the chance, have a listen. They have a vinyl release coming up, and rumour had it Smith put out a Celtic album when she was 16, if you are that way inclined. And what do you say about Trinity Roots? Blissful, as usual, although the place was packed. ‘Twas a pity about the weather, but it didn’t matter in the end. The number of good time stories I’ve heard come out of this magnificent carnival far outweighs the bad.