Last night at the Harcourts Hawke's Bay Arts Festival the Maori Side Steps spoiled their audience, treating us to five well-matched, beautifully toned male voices, wrapped in a package of side-splitting humour and topped with some spiky barbs of social commentary.

It was so very, very Kiwi - shades of Billy T meets Howard Morrison. Self deprecating, irreverent, loads of banter. It looked effortless - which is a sure sign there have been hours of rehearsal put into this very polished, highly entertaining and thoroughly enjoyable show.

It's a clever production, at times weaving tales of history, Maori wars and colonisation into songs so damn foot-tapping you didn't realise you were getting a history lesson at all. From old-school showband tunes and more modern parodies, to beautiful full-voiced and heart-melting waiata, to a rendition of One Day a Taniwha (went swimming in the moana) to a Guns and Roses tune which segued into Zombie by the Cranberries ... How? What? So good!

There were covers and original numbers, described by the band as "parodies, crooning and showing off" and well they might show off. These five guys have a lot to show off about.


I'm not sure why we haven't seen them before and I hope we see a lot more of them. In the meantime I will be following their web series on YouTube.

The Maori Side Steps finished their show last night to a standing ovation, as the audience roared for an encore.

As we left the Speigeltent I overheard more than one person say they wanted to follow them to their next gig in Wairoa this weekend.

The Maori Side Steps - find them on YouTube. And Harcourt Hawke's Bay Arts Festival, please bring them back next year?