This weekend we want to go to...
The Auckland Fringe Festival:
The region's most "feistily independent" and largest performing arts festival is now in full swing all over Auckland. With around 80 shows to choose from – everything from theatre shows that walk you round the CBD to music, dance, comedy and four-hour "durational pieces" which you can come and go from – picking just a couple of highlights is near impossible, so the best advice is to look up the deets, check out reviews of some of those shows or simply get yourself along to a local venue and take a risk. The Auckland Town Hall is a good starting point. It's the home of Fringe Town and here you'll find haka theatre, light installations, small and carefully chosen mini-concerts, and one of the country's biggest bands of the moment. Alien Weaponry, the Northland thrash metal masters who perform in English and te reo, are headliners for a Saturday night show billed as epic.
Auckland Fringe Festival, various venues, until Saturday, March 7; Alien Weaponry, Auckland Town Hall, Saturday.
Some 40 years ago, an Irish band from Belfast unleashed their seminal debut album on the world. No, it wasn't U2 (for starters, they're from Dublin) but Stiff Little Fingers who began by playing rock covers and then discovered punk and wrote about growing up at the height of The Troubles. Inflammable Material became the first ever debut album released on an independent label to break into the UK Top 20, mixing the personal and political in music that married primal punk with infectious hooks, anger and honesty. SLF are still going strong and, this weekend, play Auckland with classics from Inflammable Material as well as favourites like Gotta Gettaway, Tin Soldiers, At The Edge and Nobody's Hero.
Stiff Little Fingers (R18), the Power Station, tonight.
If, after Stiff Little Fingers, you're still up for a loud night out then Californian rock band Tool return to Spark Arena. The show is their first NZ one in six years and comes off the back of Tool's fifth studio album – their first new record in 13 years – and a mammoth 26-date US tour which has allowed the group to further integrate other works of art into their shows. That's seen Tool's style dubbed variously as progressive rock, psychedelic rock and even art rock.
Tool, Spark Arena, tomorrow and Saturday.
If you like your music heavy, then Henderson Park – rock's spiritual home, at least in Auckland – is the place to. The Bleeders, City of Souls, Racing, She Loves You and Cherry Blind take over the stage for four hours of the best local alt, Indie and rock. It's a rare chance to see punk-influenced Bleeders who split 10 years ago and have reunited just twice for two sell-out shows. Get ready for irresistible noise.
Radio Hauraki Rock Royale, Henderson Park, Saturday 2 – 4pm as part of Auckland Council's Music in Parks. For more, see today's TimeOut magazine.
Down south, in Manurewa, it's a whole other world of music. Two of India's leading classical musicians, Saptak Sharma and Mayank Raina join composer/songwriter Mike Hogan to form the trio Pangaea which is quite possibly one of the most unique international acts to tour the country. Fusing Indian and Western music traditions, Pangaea brings ancient art forms into the 21st century with mesmerising live shows. Now on a second NZ tour, the group's debut album is available on streaming platforms.
Pangaea, Nathan Homestead, Saturday or Piha Bowling Club, Sunday.