Lydia Jenkin is an entertainment feature writer for the New Zealand Herald.

Lydia Jenkin: Kicking off at a venue near you

The Veils bass player, Sophia Burn. Photo / Supplied
The Veils bass player, Sophia Burn. Photo / Supplied

So it's New Zealand Music Month again.

And that usually means it's time to dedicate some column inches to debating whether or not we still need a month dedicated to local music.

But to be honest, I'm not particularly interested in that debate - I still think it's a great idea and, as far as I can see, it's not hurting anyone. Sure, the NZ Music Commission, which is funded by the Government, spends a nominal amount on hosting an event or two, but it's so nominal, if they were to divide it up and hand it out to the population instead, they'd have great difficulty because we don't have 1c pieces any more.

Mostly they act as a sort of conduit, or figurehead. NZMM has been rolling along so nicely for the last decade that the local industry is fairly well promoting itself, and local media don't need any reminding. It has simply become a month where fans and musicians can discover a new star (check out our story on Lorde), revisit some old favourites (see Dave Dobbyn's collaborative tour), and remember that our local acts can be world class (like the Veils).

These days, spending $30 to see a local outfit put on a quality show at an intimate venue can often be just as rewarding as a $130 show by a heritage act at Vector.

That last sentiment has become much easier to say with conviction in the past five years, as what were up-and-coming local acts have frequently become totally awesome and find themselves just as popular overseas as they are at home.

We used to make a big fuss when a local act had a song used in an American television series or film, got the attention of an international blog, or secured a spot at a prestigious festival. Now it seems to happen every month. Just this week we heard that Steriogram's Bradley Carter has a song in Elementary, Lorde has Perez Hilton, Buzzfeed, and a variety of Australian bloggers proclaiming her as the next big thing, and there's a whole host of local acts who find themselves so booked up internationally there's little time left for shows here - Unknown Mortal Orchestra, the Veils, Gin Wigmore, Ladyhawke, the Naked and Famous ... are just a few on that list. We've dubbed it "Kimbra syndrome" in the office.

So go out and catch some live music this May. Turns out the rest of the world quite like Kiwi musicians - and they might just try to steal them.

- TimeOut

- NZ Herald

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Lydia Jenkin is an entertainment feature writer for the New Zealand Herald.

Childhood music lessons eventually led to degrees in music and media studies for Lydia Jenkin, launching her career as an entertainment writer. A love of late nights watching local musos - whether in dingy bars or at summer music festivals – saw her become assistant editor at NZ Musician magazine for nearly five years before she jumped at the chance to join the TimeOut team. She's at her happiest when ranting about her latest music discovery, but is equally keen on excellent film and television (The Dark Horse and True Detective are her picks so far for 2014).

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