With all the hubbub of late about the lack of summer, it was with an unusually large amount of joyessness (not actually a word) that I relished chillaxing (again, not a real word) to mellow beats of Sounday 2010, held last Saturday in Hagley Park, Christchurch.
The pure joy of lying on the grass, staring up at the blue sky, feeling the heat of the sun and been caressed by the beats of Electric Wire Hustle was worth every cent. I soaked it up like I was never going to see the sun again and it seemed everyone around me was doing the same. As much as we all hibernate when the weather goes grey we all have our summer skin ready and waiting to go when we get the call, and on Saturday that call was being answered by hundreds of happy Cantabrians from all walks (and waddles) of life. And more than a few got their freak on. Ah, the uniting power of music.
We arrived about 1.30pm after circling blocks looking for a park like a starving vulture. I should have used the paid parking in Hagley Park but because I’d already spent time looking I couldn’t quit now (sorry, emotion beats logic every time!) and I eventually found a grate park in Doreen St (grate as in I parked over this massive drain that threatened to suck the keys out of my hand – fortunately I refused to believe in it’s voodoo and my keys stayed safely in my pocket). I got most of Electric Wire Hustle, who kept the crowd rocking the whole time. A freaking awesome drum solo and meaningful lyrics had us impressed by a band that is relatively unknown – my guess is they won’t stay that way.
Next up was iconic front-man for the Muttonbirds, Don McGlashan. He started off in style with one of my favourite tunes ‘Dominion Road’, then played some new stuff that sounded like easy-listening radio tunes, almost blanked on one of his songs then brought everyone back with a great rendition of ‘Anchor Me’ and even a little sesame street on the trumpet. Feel the Kiwiana!
The Handsome Family from Albuquerque, New Mexico then did a 45-minute set which was 45 minutes too long. They did do a song about apple picking which I found amusing. Not pleasing to the ear but amusing. Hopefully they’ll be heading back to deserts of New Mexico and staying there. I’m sure their music is well-received somewhere but it just didn’t seem to fit at this gig.
The famous (mostly underground but finding their way to the surface) Phoenix Foundation hit the stage next and kept current fans happy and scored a few new ones, showing they’re good for more than just the music they did for NZ movie ‘Eagle vs Shark’. They have a strong following around the country and have a great future ahead of them.
Dizz1 from Sydney, Australia got a thumbs down from me, and when P Money hit the stage at 7pm the reasons were obvious. He might be a DJ but up against P Money he may as well have been a monkey with vinyl – he simply got smoked. Fortunately for him it didn’t come down to DJ duels and P Money played a wicked set, mixing old and new samples to keep the varied audience on their feet and in the air. One thing I like about P Money is he really looks like he enjoys what he does and he treats his audience graciously, proving you can have confidence and be successful without being an ego-maniac (are you listening Akon?).
Sounday has been running for three years now and is (hopefully) going to become a regular appearance on the local Christchurch music scene. I say hopefully because numbers seemed to be down on last year, which reportedly had 10,000 in attendance. I’m not sure exactly why but I’m guessing the lack of Fat Freddys, Yarah Bravo and Nathan Haines from the year before possibly hurt ticket sales.
I was reminded once again of the great depth of musical talent we have in this country when I heard news of Pauly Fuemana’s death this morning. While many would not probably classify him as a ‘great artist’ he was talented enough to put out the single ‘How Bizarre’ with his group OMC, which hit number one in several countries around the world. I’d be happy if I achieved something like that, of course the rest of the world would be less than happy with my vocal less-talent.
But it’s not just the music that makes Sounday. It’s the people. And the people did not disappoint. I’m not even sure where to begin on all the colourful characters that contributed to the rich tapestry that was Sounday 2010 – the drunk girl who got stuck in the Picnic adventure course, the old chap spinning out with his spirit stick (don’t ask), the tank top dude with a camera phone from 1997 who danced like he was a radioactive electron or the guy I will call Afroman. Now while I don’t know his name I’m willing to bet real money that several hundred New Zealanders do, because I am sure he is a Facebook A-lister. I just get this feeling about some people that they are like the centre of their own FB universe, reaching out to unknowns everywhere, amassing more friends than one person could possibly need in a single lifetime. He was dancing like he did know everyone, and if he didn’t, well it didn’t matter because you got the same infectious friend vibes anyway. People like that are normally really nice, gregarious people … or they’re players.
Speaking of playing, I did some playing of my own on the Picnic adventure course, an inflatable obstacle course setup as a time challenge for anyone willing to give it a go. ‘Willing to give stuff a go’ is my middle name so I skim-read the T&Cs and signed my soul away to that evil company that uses palm oil and reduces the size of our chocolate when we aren’t looking. But with $5000 on the line and a free Picnic I was happy to turn a blind eye to their corporate sins. I gleaned tips from previous competitors and when my turn came I burned up the track, through the holes over the ramp and down the other side. 31.7 seconds. 1.7 seconds too slow to enter. If Murray Mexted had interviewed me there and then I might’ve cried but I got a Picnic and was allowed to give it another try. This time I didn’t disappoint, bursting through the course in a ferocious 21 seconds. Definitely a PB for me in terms of Picnic adventure courses. If I win the 5G I might take all two of my blog readers out for a drink.
Sounday was overall, a really pleasant way to spend a sunny Christchurch afternoon, a relaxed crowd, an eclectic range of bands and all the picnic bars you could ever want. Let’s just hope next year the promoters can round up a few big names like Katchafire, Kora and Fat Freddys and then we’ll have a real party on our hands. And you can be sure that Afroman will be inviting all 752 of his Facebook friends.
So who would you like to see at the next Sounday? And, if you did the Picnic Challenge, post your time!