The Smashing Pumpkins are the first of the big name acts playing Australia's three-day Splendour in the Grass festival to announce a New Zealand show.

The Pumpkins, who return to play an Auckland show in August (with the date and venue to be confirmed), headline the last day of the Byron Bay festival in late July.

The line-up also includes former White Stripe Jack White, who released his debut solo album this week, saucy pop siren Lana Del Rey, Portland indie-pop wonders The Shins, and reformed post-hardcore heroes At the Drive In (who split into two camps in 2001 and became the Mars Volta and Sparta).

Though the Pumpkins' following in New Zealand is far bigger than any of the other Splendour acts, their show bodes well for the possibility of more side shows making their way across the Tasman.


Jack White is a strong possibility. However, by the looks of his tour date schedule in support of Blunderbuss there are limited windows of opportunity for an Auckland show.

Also, considering the devoted cult following the Mars Volta have in New Zealand, an At the Drive In date could be likely. Though it would have to be before Splendour as they play Fuji Rock in Japan on July 29 and then head back to the US for Chicago's Lollapalooza festival in early August.

The other acts, though not of the standing of White and the Pumpkins, who would be good to see in New Zealand include grunge originals Mudhoney, Black Keys-endorsed Brits Band of Skulls, and Swedish alt-popsters Miike Snow.

The Pumpkins, led by Billy Corgan, who is the only original member of the grunge survivors, last played here in 2010 off the back of the vast and sprawling Teargarden By Kaleidyscope, a concept album released track-by-track via the internet as Corgan wrote them.

The band still has a loyal following thanks to landmark 90s albums Siamese Dream and Melon Collie and the Infinite Sadness, and the tour Downunder is in support of ninth album Oceania due for release in June.

On sale dates for tickets are yet to be confirmed.

Arabia nights

It's been three years since Lawrence Arabia (aka James Milne) released his award-winning sophomore album Chant Darling (for which he took out both the Silver Scroll and the Taite Prize), but now he's returning to stages around New Zealand to present his much anticipated third offering The Sparrow.


From what we've heard, this time around he's venturing slightly away from his classic harmony-laden pop tunes like Apple Pie Bed and The Beautiful Young Crew, and taking a more measured and minimalist approach, with an emphasis on strings and percussion, and the influence of the symphonic late-60s work of Scott Walker and Serge Gainsbourg, while still remaining true to his character-filled, wry story-telling roots. He'll be joined on stage by Connan Mockasin, Elroy Finn, Andrew Keoghan, Hayden Eastmond-Mein, Tom Watson, Mahuia Bridgman-Cooper, Rachel Wells, Toby Laing and Daniel Yeabsley as he heads to St Michaels and All Angels in Christchurch on July 13, Sammy's in Dunedin on July 14, the Auckland Town Hall on July 20, and The Opera House in Wellington on July 21.

Meanwhile, Louisiana's Lil' Band O' Gold, who conjure up a gumbo of swamp pop, blues, country, cajun, soul and good old-fashioned rock 'n' roll, return to New Zealand for a show at Auckland's Powerstation on July 7.

Led by 75-year-old Warren Storm, widely considered to be the "godfather of swamp pop", the band's music has featured in TV shows True Blood and Treme.

They also play Wellington Opera House July 4, Municipal Theatre, Napier, July 5, and Hamilton's Clarence St Theatre, July 6.

Presale tickets on sale May 1 from and General sales May 3 from Ticketek (Wellington, Napier, Hamilton) and Ticketmaster and Real Groovy (Auckland).