Matthew Martin is a senior reporter at the Rotorua Daily Post

Swamp Thing to head back home

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Rotorua's Swamp Thing are holding their annual Okere Falls Store gig on Anniversary Weekend. Photo / Petra Zoe
Rotorua's Swamp Thing are holding their annual Okere Falls Store gig on Anniversary Weekend. Photo / Petra Zoe

Rotorua-based blues/rock outfit Swamp Thing like to stay true to their roots and will be back at one of their favourite venues, with some special guests, on Anniversary Weekend.

Drummer Mike Barker and Grant Haua on guitar and lead vocals have made it one of their missions to play at the Okere Falls Store at least once a year, taking time out from their busy summer schedule, which also includes their "day jobs" of music teacher and roofer respectively, to play there, and also promote up and coming musicians.

"We'll be belting out some of our older tracks, plus a few songs from our soon-to-be-released third studio album.

"We love playing at the store, it's a great little venue and we started off playing there, so it's nice to head back," Barker said. "It's also pretty cool to get the opportunity to play with Minnie Marks again, so here we are."

While Australian songstress Minnie Marks, 21, has already made something of a name for herself, Barker said she was keen to come back and play in New Zealand and invited her to perform with them this year.

Australian performer Minnie Marks. Photo /
Australian performer Minnie Marks. Photo /

"Minnie Marks is an extraordinary performer, I have never seen or heard anything quite like her, Minnie plays guitar, sings and stomps like her every breath depends on it, her passion and wonderful sense of fun is refreshing," he said.

Joining them are Barker's "Swamp Rats", a trio of his music students he got together to play their first live gig.

The Way the River Flows are made up of Jesse Mutton, 10, vocals, River Mutton, 12, keyboard, and George Snook, 12, on drums. They'll be playing a few of their own songs before the main acts hit the stage, Barker said.

"These kids will be out there shaking it playing 'brave new pop'," he said.

Joining Swamp Thing will be guest Ben Wilcock on keyboards and a brass section.


What: Swamp Thing, Minnie Marks, The Way the River Flows

When: Saturday, January 30, from 6pm

Where: Okere Falls Store, SH33

How much: $20. $25 door sales, if available

Tickets: From the venue, the Library Cafe on Haupapa St, or

- Rotorua Daily Post

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