The Herald's team of music critics make their picks for headliners at this year's biggest summer music festivals, Laneway and Auckland City Limits.

Drake or Kanye


Chris Schulz:

I don't really care who gets over here, or which festival they play. I just want to see one of these guys tearing it up after an all-day festival spent in the sweltering sun.

Auckland City Limits, I'm looking at you.

Kanye West debuts his floating stage at Madison Square Garden in New York. Will he bring it to New Zealand? Photo/Getty
Kanye West debuts his floating stage at Madison Square Garden in New York. Will he bring it to New Zealand? Photo/Getty

If it's Kanye, that's perfect. Look at that stage set up. It's incredible. I don't know how they'd do this at Western Springs Stadium, but they can surely make it happen. They gave the Foo Fighters a ramp through the middle of the venue, and Eminem had a slanted stage. Just get some giant helium balloons or something.

Will Drake head here this summer for one one of our biggest festivals? Photo/AP
Will Drake head here this summer for one one of our biggest festivals? Photo/AP

And Drake. Ahh, Drake. Views was waaay too full of woes. Cut out the sappy stuff, throw in Started From the Bottom and Worst Behaviour, and you've got the makings of the gig of the summer.

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Either or. I'm easy. It doesn't matter. Drake or Kanye. Kanye or Drake. I don't hold a grudge, but if summer doesn't produce at least one of them, then summer 2017 will suuuuuuck.

Blur


Joanna Hunkin:

It's been nearly 20 years. Twenty years of waiting and hoping for Blur to return to New Zealand. I was 13 when they last graced our shores, too young (so my mother said) to see the Brit pop legends rock Auckland's North Shore Events Centre. Three years ago, I thought my day had come. Blur were set to headline the newly revived Big Day Out and I couldn't have been more excited.

Alas, it wasn't to be. My dreams were dashed as the band pulled out.

Last year, I interviewed Alex James who promised - PROMISED - they would come back. His exact words were: "I'm coming to New Zealand. I'm going to make it happen."

He said their no-show was "the biggest regret of my professional career" and that "we owe it to you guys to get ourselves down there".

He's right! They do! But where the hell are they? How much longer must a little girl wait?
I'm not delusional - I know the window of opportunity has passed. The reunion tour is over and the band have gone back to their separate lives. James has gone back to his children and cheese.

But still I cling to that small, flickering hope that one day, in my lifetime, Blur will come back to New Zealand and play the festival of my dreams.

New Order


Karl Puschmann:

This year you could say all my summers have come at once. There are upcoming shows by legacy acts Dinosaur Jr, Guns N' Roses and The Alan Parsons Project to look forward to.

Not to mention all the still-cloaked-in-secrecy hot-new-current-artists playing the festivals. So I'm not too fussed about adding another 'must see' to an already packed - and expensive - summer gig itinerary tbh.

Still it'd make for a very happy Monday indeed if New Order were to announce a headlining slot.

Nick Monaco


Gracie Taylor:

I have only recently stumbled upon this gorgeous mad man. And I like what I tripped on.

He's your one stop shop for all the weird and wonderful things that are happening in the house music scene for the second half of 2016.

He's been around for a wee while (circa 2011) but I hadn't heard of him until my boyfriend played his crazy repetitive Freak Flag song to me one night after a few vinos. And by god, did I love it.

He's a young and promising house music producer from the San Francisco Bay Area and his work has Queen-David Bowie-French Fries-Claude Von Stroke vibes. It's strange and I like it.

Nick Monaco would definitely be a man I would want to takes us on a low-slung, funky journey into a festival summer sunset.

Anderson .Paak


Siena Yates:

I've been listening to this guy every single day for months now and it's the first time in a long time - maybe since

Good Kid, Maad City

- that a rap album has really screamed summer at me.

And there's not only one, but two - Venice and Malibu. Both have an infectious summer vibe with festival party tracks right through to beachside chill tracks, and even his album covers scream summer.

But most importantly, when I listen to tracks like Paint, Luh You, Come Down and Am I Wrong (and way more), it's so easy to picture dancing with a few thousand strangers in the summer heat and singing along at the top of our lungs. I would pay good money for that chance.

Paak's been on almost every major line up on the festival circuit this year so it would make sense for him to come for something like Auckland City Limits. Here's hoping.