A budding arts event in K Rd has attracted some familiar faces - in less familiar company. Christoph Vogel reports. 

It doesn't take much to create both original and entertaining music: three people, a couple of instruments and vocals can be more than enough.

Heart Attack Alley is a band based on that simplicity and demonstrates its effectiveness by playing a song for me called Slow Instrumental.

The rhythm goes straight to my bones.


Next month, they'll play at a gig called

First Thursdays

, an art, performance, music and craft event on Karangahape Rd.

The paths of former Supergroove singer Karl Steven, 37, and Kristal g, 28, crossed in 2008.

"Kristal and I started playing together, sort of jamming at her place in Grey Lynn, a couple of years ago," says Karl, a Sandringham resident.

"We did that for like a year, just jamming, playing blues and Kristal's compositions every week. Then vocals seemed like a good idea."

That was the point when Caoimhe Macfehin joined them. With Karl playing harmonica and Kristal on bass, she completes the trio.

Since 2009, they've rehearsed in a house on Eden Tce.


It's the simplicity of their sound which makes it so different. Heart Attack Alley's musical influence comes from the past. "People who're very good at re-interpreting the blues and sort of making it their own, like Jimi Hendrix and Led Zeppelin," says Karl.

Caoimhe describes their style as "loud, tense and electric blues", intensified by her tambourine and Karl's porchboard (foot-tapped percussion instrument). "It's no plastic pop, it's wooden not-pop," says Karl.

The trio often performs in front of about 30 people so their gig in the Ironbank building at

First Thursdays

will be a great opportunity to present their music to a larger audience.

"You can end up playing to the same crowd over and over again if you don't have people saying, 'Do you want to come and play here?' So it's lucky to get to play to new people," Caoimhe says.

Heart Attack Alley is one of many acts appearing at

First Thursdays

, which will be held at seven venues. Live music, craft, art and performances will turn the area around K Rd into even more of a melting pot of creativity than it usually is.

"First Thursdays

is all about celebrating and, hopefully, strengthening the Auckland arts scene," says founder and organiser Cleo Barnett. "There are so many amazing creatives, and First Thursdays intends to unite them."

The event was established in 2009 and is "always evolving, growing and expanding", Cleo says. "In March, the focus is on performance art, with lots of live music, dance, live art, fashion shows and a few fun surprises."

The previous event, in December last year, attracted more than 2000 people.

Alley mo


First Thursdays

Where:  K Rd, Pitt St to Queen St and  Cross St, March 3, from 6pm to 9pm

How: Free and open to the public