Shows, tours, tickets
* The restored Civic is where old Auckland meets new Auckland in coming weeks. That's where this year's parade-challenged Hero Festival 2000 kicks off with the Hero Gala this Friday at 7.30 pm. To be opened by Helen Clark, the undoubtedly extravagant evening will feature Gareth Farr, Maree Sheehan, Philip Patston, Tim Bray, Shona Laing, Christine White, David Pacquette, past parade stars the Hero Marching Boys and Girls and more ($35- $40).
On Saturday February 26 the festival ends with the 10th annual Hero Dance Party at the same venue ($65). Much of the other Herofest performances for the fortnight are at Galatos in Galatos St, Newton. The full line-up available on www.hero.org.nz or in the festival programme.
* Meanwhile, tomorrow night at the Civic, the Winter Garden Dance Club continues its waltz - and foxtrot and jitterbug - down memory lane with the weekly tea dances. The Prima Swing Riot Band offers their line in the swing of the original era and the recent revival to folks from 7 pm to 10 pm ($20). There's free dance lessons from 6.30 pm. In coming weeks, the nights feature the 1932 Jazz Orchestra (February 20), and the Barry Clewett Show Band (February 27).
* The Civic is also the venue for the Tuis - The 2000 New Zealand Music Awards on Saturday, March 4.
It seems the organisers are putting the emphasis back on music rather than speeches this year. The night starts at 6 pm with performances by Stellar*, Shihad, Deep Obsession, Ardijah, the Stereo Bus, King Kapisi, Fiona McDonald and TrueBliss which the paying public can attend ($15). Marcus Lush is the presenter for the main awards which will be broadcast on free-for-the-day television music channel Juice. The finalists will be announced this week.
* The line-up of the varsities' orientation season, which starts next week, is looking strong, even with the cancellation of English outfit Stereolab. Australian bands Jebediah and Spiderbait are touring the country, the Stereo Bus team up with Britpopsters Supergrass for their three dates, and Shihad, while playing the halls of academia further south, isn't playing Auckland University (as previously advertised) butwill be at the bFM private function at the Auckland Town Hall on Saturday March 4 (straight after the music awards down the road) with Salmonella Dub, among others ($15 with b-card).
* Another cancellation is The Orb, the English elctronic dance duo which has pulled out of its New Zealand Festival 2000 performance at Wellington's Queen Wharf Centre on March 4. Festival organisers say it appeared the local promoters they had contracted to bring the outfit here, the Wellington-based Basstech, didn't have the ability to deliver the show. The 700 tickets already sold will be refunded.
* Aussie bush troubadour John Williamson returns next month for a national tour which plays the Lower Hutt Town Hall on Tuesday March 14, Hamilton's Founders Theatre Friday March 17 and the Auckland Town Hall Saturday March 18 ($35). Still among the Oz acts, the Little River Band ( or their much modified year 2000 line-up) will give three concerts here next month --in New Plymouth, Christchurch and Invercargill.
* From the jazz department: tickets are now on sale for the annual Montana Waiheke Island of Jazz Festival starting on Thursday April 20 and stretching across Easter, with confirmed acts so far including Charmaine Neville, Les Haricots Rouges, and the Flying Neutrinos. Before that, Brit jazz vets Kenny Ball and Chris Barber play a New Zealand tour at the end of March. They're at Palmerston North's Regent Theatre on Sunday 26, Wellington's Michael Fowler on Monday 27 and Auckland Town Hall March 28 ($49.50, $55).
THIS WEEK'S BIG SHOWS
Tuesday: Boney M, Ma-V-Elle at the Downtown Convention Centre, Auckland.
Wednesday: Guided by Voices with Chris Knox and Bike at the Powerstation, Auckland; David Strassman at the St James Theatre, Auckland;
Friday: Hero Gala at the Civic Theatre.
BOOKINGS Ticketek - Auckland 307 5000; Hamilton 838 6600