Kiwiana revival in rock

Taranaki band make their way to Gisborne’s Dome Bar and Cinema.

Taranaki band make their way to Gisborne’s Dome Bar and Cinema.

CUT US SOME SLACK: Taranaki band The Slacks, from left, Mark Armstrong, Blake Gibson, Zane Greig and Scott Armstrong. Picture Supplied.
Scott, Blake, Mark, Zane

Four lads play a backyard cricket match on a freshly trimmed lawn before meeting friends at the Four Square down the road and flashing their thumbs down the highway, hitchhiker-style.

For anyone who has grown up in New Zealand, these summer scenes are etched into the memory like the colour of a pohutukawa-lined beach, the smell of oil-drenched hot chips or the feeling of some nondescript “cool cream” on sunburnt arms.

They’re the things that make a Kiwi summer “Kiwi” and they’re the things that feature heavily in the new music video by Taranaki band The Slacks.

“When we started the band (in 1999) it was coming out of that grunge era. We just wanted to get people dancing and have a good time,” says Scott.

The band’s latest single Big Aroha illustrates this perfectly.

In the video, the four piece, made up of brothers Mark and Scott Armstrong, and friends Blake Gibson and Zane Greig, are shown cruising the aisles of a Four Square in paisley shirts, tie-dye T-shirts, bucket hats and other quintessentially 90s paraphernalia.

A tribute to Kiwiana

It would be hard to have grown up in pre-millenium New Zealand and not recognise these scenes. But you don’t need to see the video to notice the Kiwiana tribute.

Campfire guitars and a pop rock rhythm section drive the upbeat song, as thick New Zealand accents belt out lyrics in a Maori-English hybrid.

Channelling the sentiment of pseudo-national anthems How Bizarre and Poi E, it’s no surprise that Big Aroha has gone big with New Zealand expats.

Less than a week after its release, Big Aroha had clocked up 16,000 views on Youtube, a big deal for a band with a Facebook following of 2000.

“The numbers just blew me away at first,” says Scott.

“It happened so quickly and then we realised the comments were mostly positive too, which isn’t that common on the internet.”

“We had a lot of expat (New Zealanders) overseas sending us messages, saying, ‘thanks for making me miss home and reminding me what it’s like to be a Kiwi’.”

“We’re just all really stoked at the reactions — it’s choice as.”

The music video almost didn’t come to be.

“We all went to this gig one night after recording and the guy that was doing recording (Anandra Rose), he never does it normally but he left his stuff in the car and his camera and laptop got stolen,” says Scott.

“Everyone was really gutted for a few days. He got the camera and laptop back but there had been a memory stick in the camera that got chucked so we all really had to scramble after that to get it done.

“The responses have been really humbling because it was such a DIY job but I think that’s why people have liked it so much,” Scott says.

While the four piece got the video finished, the hurdles didn’t stop there.

“When we finished recording, we had been so absorbed in it, we turned around and were like, we haven’t got a gig,” says Scott.

“So we organised this pop-up gig. It’s something we do a bit in New Plymouth, someone offers their house, we sell about 40 tickets and then do a pot luck tea.”

After regaining their footing or as they would call it “the rolling vibe” (a phrase coined by an Auckland friend to explain their music), the group began their national tour.

Saturday will see the four piece make their way to Gisborne’s Dome Bar and Cinema.

“It’s a really awesome place to play,” says Scott. “The place is so beautiful and Sally is great to work with, it’s just that awesome Gisborne hospitality.”

  • The Slacks at the Dome Room (Poverty Bay Club); December 10 (bar 5pm, music 9pm).

Four lads play a backyard cricket match on a freshly trimmed lawn before meeting friends at the Four Square down the road and flashing their thumbs down the highway, hitchhiker-style.

For anyone who has grown up in New Zealand, these summer scenes are etched into the memory like the colour of a pohutukawa-lined beach, the smell of oil-drenched hot chips or the feeling of some nondescript “cool cream” on sunburnt arms.

They’re the things that make a Kiwi summer “Kiwi” and they’re the things that feature heavily in the new music video by Taranaki band The Slacks.

“When we started the band (in 1999) it was coming out of that grunge era. We just wanted to get people dancing and have a good time,” says Scott.

The band’s latest single Big Aroha illustrates this perfectly.

In the video, the four piece, made up of brothers Mark and Scott Armstrong, and friends Blake Gibson and Zane Greig, are shown cruising the aisles of a Four Square in paisley shirts, tie-dye T-shirts, bucket hats and other quintessentially 90s paraphernalia.

A tribute to Kiwiana

It would be hard to have grown up in pre-millenium New Zealand and not recognise these scenes. But you don’t need to see the video to notice the Kiwiana tribute.

Campfire guitars and a pop rock rhythm section drive the upbeat song, as thick New Zealand accents belt out lyrics in a Maori-English hybrid.

Channelling the sentiment of pseudo-national anthems How Bizarre and Poi E, it’s no surprise that Big Aroha has gone big with New Zealand expats.

Less than a week after its release, Big Aroha had clocked up 16,000 views on Youtube, a big deal for a band with a Facebook following of 2000.

“The numbers just blew me away at first,” says Scott.

“It happened so quickly and then we realised the comments were mostly positive too, which isn’t that common on the internet.”

“We had a lot of expat (New Zealanders) overseas sending us messages, saying, ‘thanks for making me miss home and reminding me what it’s like to be a Kiwi’.”

“We’re just all really stoked at the reactions — it’s choice as.”

The music video almost didn’t come to be.

“We all went to this gig one night after recording and the guy that was doing recording (Anandra Rose), he never does it normally but he left his stuff in the car and his camera and laptop got stolen,” says Scott.

“Everyone was really gutted for a few days. He got the camera and laptop back but there had been a memory stick in the camera that got chucked so we all really had to scramble after that to get it done.

“The responses have been really humbling because it was such a DIY job but I think that’s why people have liked it so much,” Scott says.

While the four piece got the video finished, the hurdles didn’t stop there.

“When we finished recording, we had been so absorbed in it, we turned around and were like, we haven’t got a gig,” says Scott.

“So we organised this pop-up gig. It’s something we do a bit in New Plymouth, someone offers their house, we sell about 40 tickets and then do a pot luck tea.”

After regaining their footing or as they would call it “the rolling vibe” (a phrase coined by an Auckland friend to explain their music), the group began their national tour.

Saturday will see the four piece make their way to Gisborne’s Dome Bar and Cinema.

“It’s a really awesome place to play,” says Scott. “The place is so beautiful and Sally is great to work with, it’s just that awesome Gisborne hospitality.”

  • The Slacks at the Dome Room (Poverty Bay Club); December 10 (bar 5pm, music 9pm).

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