Wellington International Ukulele Orchestra at Union Chapel

I had never thought that I would see Wellington International Ukulele Orchestra on the Northern Hemisphere, but they were invited to the Edinburgh Fringe this year, hit the goal on Pledge Me (NZ version of Kickstarter) to get the funds for the trip and gave one off sold out show in London on 29th August on their way back home after performing for over a month at the Festival.

I couldn’t believe I would see them on stage at Union Chapel where I had already seen Glen Hansard, Kimbra, Andy McKee and in December am going to see two NZ music legends, Dave Dobbyn and Don McGlashan.

I went to see WIUO with V., my best companion in watching Kiwi acts. I was coming late straight from work, but luckily V. could come earlier and thanks to her we had great seats in the second row right in the centre. It was no photo, no filming restriction show, but I managed to lift my camera high enough to film something and I’m happy I did that. Some things are worth risking to save them.

The show was in two parts. The first part was mostly the songs from their latest EP, I Love You and well known hits. The second part were new songs or the songs they’ve performed live for many years, but haven’t released yet. Flawless performances, brilliant audience, some people hassled the band to play “Common People”, which WIUO finally did, some people danced, even almost took over the stage for a moment. All in all, everything in atmosphere of great family and friends festivity and fun.

Paul Simon’s “50 Ways To Leave Your Lover” was the last song of part 1, that’s why I got braver and when I heard new tunes I turned my camera on.

This was my highlight of the concert: Stevie Nicks & Tom Petty’s “Stop Draggin’ My Heart Around”

I didn’t know where to point my camera, because there was A LOT happening on stage during this song – Salt ‘n’ Pepa’s “Push It”

This is almost the end of the show. Thank yous, introducing the band and because I wanted to film the whole band, I lifted my camera too high and got noticed by the Chapel staff. That’s why it’s not the whole song: David Kilgour’s “Today Is Gonna Be Mine”

In the videos you can notice a hooded person on the right. She was filming the show, so let’s hope that there are going to be some official videos from WIUO.

After the show I was able to talk to Gemma, Megan, Nige and Age. I was wondering if they’d remember their Polish fan they met in Wellington two years ago. When I came up to Gemma, she welcomed me, ‘Sylwia!’ and gave me a big hug. When I saw Age and told him, ‘Greetings from Poland!’ he said, ‘I remember you!’. He said they were planning to come back next year and have a proper UK tour and I almost ended up being their manager when he saw my enthusiasm. No connections, though. 😉

To sum up the evening,

Kimbra at Union Chapel

The evening before I go to Union Chapel to see another NZ band there, let me write about who I saw there on September 19th last year.

Another week passed by after seeing Lawrence Arabia and I teamed up again with V. to see one more Kiwi artist with her. It was the future winner of Album of the Year, Best Female Solo Artist and International Achievement 2012 Vodafone NZ Awards. I think she’s the best known for singing with Gotye Somebody That I Used To Know.

I don’t usually mention supporting acts, but this guy was really special. I must confess that I enjoyed his performance more than Kimbra’s. I guess I like people not making too much noise on stage, just a guitar and good songs are enough.

Cody ChesnuTT

Kimbra gave a great show. She has an amazing voice and looked pretty like a doll. You don’t really expect from her to be such a dynamic person on stage. At the same time, she was very modest and timid between the songs.

Settle Down – I found out about Kimbra when Jemaine from FOTC posted this music video on the Conchords’ MySpace. I’m sure many FOTC fans discovered her the same way.

Withdraw – an encore, lovely finale, my favourite song of her set that night.

And tomorrow – a reUnion with the Wellington International Ukulele Orchestra! They’re coming straight from the Edinburgh Fringe and giving a SOLD OUT show at Union Chapel. I had never suspected that I’d be able to see them outside of New Zealand and here they are!

Rhys Darby at O2 Shepherds Bush Empire

I got distracted by work, traveling and making plans for travel, but I’m back and ready for further updates.

You may get an impression that I only see New Zealand acts while I’m not in NZ. Well… you are quite right. Next day after I saw Connan, I did some voluntary work again till afternoon and went straight to my favourite cafe, Flat White, where I met up with my friend, V. and we went together to the Empire to see Rhys Darby.

I don’t have to explain to Flight of the Conchords fans who Rhys Darby is and if you’re not one of them then I’ll just say that he’s a New Zealand comedian and actor (Yes Man, The Boat That Rocked). I had watched his stand-up once on DVD and really enjoyed and admired how he managed to connect all the stories in one and sum up at the end of the show. I had hoped to see him live, so when he announced a tour with his new program, I bought a ticket when I had a chance.

This Way to Spaceship” was a sort of sentimental journey from his humble beginnings as a comedian through the era of finding a girlfriend and future wife up to now, when supposedly the world would be over in December last year. I enjoyed it more that I had thought I would. There was time for laugh and for reflection. I even was moved to tears a few times. Everything was intelligent and funny and made me love Rhys more. There was also a guest appearance surprise. Jemaine Clement of FOTC lent his voice to the computer on Rhys’ spaceship!

When the show was over, V. and me thought that Rhys would come out and do the signing by the stage, but actually he was in the foyer and we were the last to join the queue. Even though he looked tired, when we finally reached him, he was still happy to talk to us and pose to the picture taken by his wife and manager, Rosie.

V Rhys and me