An acclaimed debut tour of the Māori Sidesteps hits town tomorrow night with a show that had been described as being "like a party in the shed with your aunties and uncles".
Māori Sidestepper Jamie McCaskill spoke to Horowhenua Chronicle before the Ōtaki show, the last stop on a tour that had taken in Kerikeri, Auckland, Wellington, Whanganui, Wanaka, Rotorua and Carterton.
"This is our last stop and we are looking forward to it," he said.
The Māori Sidesteps stage show, described as a mix of satirical skits and songs performed with humour, was receiving rave reviews by tapping into a brand of humour and performance that was unique to Māori and New Zealand.
One review had called the show "an entertaining, belly-laughing, poignant, thought-provoking, serenading, sing-a-longy night" while another said it was "an unmissable evening of nostalgia".
Another man fresh from the concert last week said "it's like being in the shed with all my mates, my aunties and uncles on the guitar doing harmonies and having a big party".
The tour had been a success for McCaskill and fellow Sidesteppers Cohen Hollaway, Regan Taylor and Erroll Anderson, who had all worn numerous hats in the entertainment industry before forming the group.
While they clearly sought inspiration from some of the giants of the past, with references to legendary performers like Prince Tui Teka and the Howard Morrison Quartet, they were definitely sailing their own waka.
"That's what got us into this entertainment stuff," he said.
They were their own men though, with their own brand of humour, and while they grew up listening to those legends of the past, they had stamped their style on some iconic songs and entertained crowds with soulful harmonies and stand-up comedy.
He said their take of an iconic song like Sir Howard's My Old Man's An All Black was unique, as it was essentially a parody of a parody, while other songs included popular numbers from former New Zealand band Hi-Marks.
"It's a mixed bag...we are not trying to recreate it as we are putting our own spin on it and doing our own thing," he said.
While the show was professional and polished in its delivery, there was nothing to stop them ad-libbing and having each other on with off-the-cuff stuff.
"A lot of it is tight and we put a lot of effort into it and take it seriously and approach it professionally, but then we do try and catch each other out and have a laugh," he said.
Their faces were familiar, as they had all appeared on screen in various roles. McCaskill had a stint on Shortland Street, Holloway had been in numerous movies and television ads, Taylor appeared on Mahana, and Anderson in Ghost in the Shell.
Meanwhile, the Māori Sidesteps had gone full circle. They originally began with a live performance, then created a popular web series, before hitting the road earlier this year on their debut tour.
McCaskill himself had been an actor, director, playwright and musician, and put his "big-boy undies on" to set up a business where they could become masters of their own destiny.
The tour had taken in several North Island venues, with many in the audience familiar with the group after watching the online series. One video on the web-series had more than one million views.
The Māori Sidesteps were in studio this week recording an original song, Māori Man, that already had a video.
"I know. It's normally done the other way round," he said.
The crew were staying in Air B'n'Bs and were looking forward to a chance to unwind after tomorrow night's gig and reflect on what had been an amazing few months on tour.
Just what the future held for the Māori Sidesteps following the tour is uncertain, but judging by the reviews, there is sure to be encore in the future.
"There's peaks and troughs...when it starts dying away we'll start reassessing," he said.
The current 13-show tour began in Wellington in March and was in Carterton tonight. There were still tickets available for tomorrow night's Ōtaki show.