N.E.R.D to play NZ

Production maestros Pharrell Williams and Chad Hugo of The Neptunes bring their band N.E.R.D. to New Zealand next year for a show at Vector Arena on February 26.

They may have been behind hits for everyone from Britney Spears and Justin Timberlake to Jay-Z and Usher, but as N.E.R.D. they have come up with a string of innovative yet catchy pop songs, including the dirty Lap Dance, from excellent 2002 debut In Search Of, and Everyone Nose from third album Seeing Sounds released this year. Tickets go on sale on November 10 at Ticketmaster.

Meanwhile, imagine a band inspired by 70s Krautrock, 60s pop, and other oddball experimental music playing in your lounge. That's the sound of British band Stereolab who return to New Zealand to play Auckland's Kings Arms on January 28 and Wellington's San Francisco Bath House the night after.

Over the course of 11 albums, Stereolab have continued to refine their unique sound which is made all the more distinct by the French vocals of co-founder Laetitia Sadier.

On their latest album, Chemical Chords, Stereolab's other founding member, Tim Gane, says they went about writing a batch of "purposely short, dense, fast pop songs".

Tickets cost $54.50 plus booking fee from www.iticket.co.nz or (outside Auckland) www.undertheradar.co.nz.

Former System Of A Down singer and sometime New Zealand resident Serj Tankian heads the latest list of artists announced to play the Big Day Out.

The manic frontman, who has been solo since SOAD went on hiatus in 2006 and released his debut album Elect the Dead last year, will bring his politically charged rock to Mt Smart Stadium on January 16, seven years after System played the Auckland event.

Tankian, who keeps a home in New Zealand, will be joined by Florida hot shots Black Kids, whose debut album Partie Traumatic was released earlier this year and is one of the party rock albums of the year.

And speaking of dancing, making return visits to the Big Day Out are British electropop band Hot Chip and hip-hopper Lupe Fiasco, who both played the 2007 show.

Plus there's Celtic punk rockers Dropkick Murphys, New York indie disco kids Holy Ghost, and Sydney DJ Peewee Ferris.

The new list of local acts are the Mint Chicks, P-Money, Cornerstone Roots, Brand New Math, Ethical, George & Queen, Horsemen Family, Sidekicknick, Subtract, and The DHDFDs.

Also, of special note, is ex-pat local-boy-done-good Zane Lowe who apart from being one of the creative forces behind down beat band Breaks Co-Op is one of Britain's most influential DJs thanks to his award-winning BBC radio show and slot on MTV. He plays the Boiler Room.

These acts join headliner Neil Young, who will play a one and a half hour set starting at 9pm, along with Arctic Monkeys, TV On the Radio, Ting Tings, the Prodigy, Tiki Taane, the Datsuns, Ladi6, and many more.

Tickets for the Big Day Out cost $125 plus booking fee (limit four per person) from www.ticketmaster.co.nz, Real Groovy, and www.bigdayout.com

- NZ Herald

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