Chris Schulz

Chris Schulz is an entertainment feature writer for the New Zealand Herald.

System of a Down ready to rock Auckland (+video)

Serj Tankian performs with System of a Down at the 2005 Big Day Out. Photo / Richard Robinson
Serj Tankian performs with System of a Down at the 2005 Big Day Out. Photo / Richard Robinson

It's been a long seven-year drought for System of a Down fans, but tonight the Armenian-American thrash-metallers will return to New Zealand with a vengeance.

The Grammy-winning band behind hit songs like Chop Suey! and Aerials last performed in Auckland at the 2005 Big Day Out, a show memorable for several stoppages for over-aggressive moshing in the D-barricade.

A sweaty and heaving moshpit can be expected at tonight's show at Trusts Stadium in Waitakere, as the band rip through what is likely to be a greatest hits set cherry picked from the band's albums: 1998's System of a Down, 2001's Toxicity, 2002's Steal This Album!, and 2005's double release Mezmerize and Hypnotize.

It's the band's first New Zealand show since they reunited in 2009 after three-year hiatus. And they haven't performed since October 7 in Chile, but it's likely to be a fired up performance thanks to Serj Tankian, an occasional New Zealand resident, performing in front of what he considers to be something of a home town crowd.

"New Zealand feels like home to me, and while my work takes me many places I always love returning. I'm super-excited to be back home in Auckland again, this time with System," Tankian said.

Recent setlists show System of a Down perform up to 26 songs a night, including everything from Toxicity classics Needles, Bounce and Prison Song, to more recent anthems Lonely Day and Lost in Hollywood.

The Dillinger Escape Plan will open for them at 7.20pm, with System of a Down due on stage at 8.45pm. Doors open at 6.30pm.

Both bands will head to Australia next to perform as part of the Soundwave festival.

Ticketdirect's website shows the gig is almost sold out, with only tickets left in the South Upper Allocated section of the venue.

What: System of a Down
Where: Trusts Stadium, Waitakere, Auckland
When: Wednesday, February 22

* nzherald.co.nz will have a full review of the show on Thursday morning.

- Herald online

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