October this year is a tricky time for promoters and bands: the Rugby World Cup messes everything up.
It's not as though every single person in the country obsessively watches rugby. But a lot do.
And just as bands tend to avoid December gigs, because whichever date you pick around a quarter of your audience will be tied up with Christmas functions, so October is iffy, what with the All Blacks playing every weekend and more.
Conversely, when the World Cup ends there is a sudden glut of music filling the gap between watching men chase an oval ball around a field and getting righteously trashed at the company's expense to celebrate Santa. That's November.
There's an interesting gamble occurring at the start of the month. November 2 is the day of the Rugby World Cup final. I can find not one single gig in Tauranga that night. But the day before...
Friday, November 1 is the third place play-off. The All Black probably won't be in it. Or maybe they will.
If they are, everyone will watch it. If not, who cares who comes third?
It seems a bunch of bands punting on the latter occurring. Playing in the Bay that night are Caitriona Fallon, the Andrew London Trio, Kokomo, the Missy Raines Trio, and Milly Tabak and the Miltones. Let's explore a little...
Caitriona is at Totara Street. She's a fantastic singer who got her big break in the mid-nineties as a 19-year-old when she was picked to sing lead in the touring production of Riverdance. Four years of globe-trotting followed. She also met her future husband, a Kiwi, who was part of the company so after a stint back in Ireland singing jazz under the name Cookie and the Vaudevilles – there's a nice clip for the song Riches To Rags on YouTube – she relocated to New Zealand.
Since then she's sung at the Jazz Festival and the Tarnished Frocks and Divas events and in November is promising an “evening of cheeky fun and quality musicianship”.
She'll be backed by piano, guitar, bass, drums and sax and will sing a mix of originals and songs from David Bowie, Elton John, Caro Emerald and Melody Gardot.
And of course there'll be a nod to Caitriona’s Irish heritage. Doors open 7pm, tickets are $25 from Eventfinda.
The Andrew London Trio, not infrequent visitors to this part of the country, return from Wellington to join their old friends from local band Kokomo for a night of blues and swing at The Boys' College's Graham Young Youth Theatre.
Known for their witty satirical songs, the trio have recently released their seventh album and a live DVD. And as for those songs, the titles say it all: Let’s Talk About Me, I Hugged My Mate, Middle Aged Man in Lycra - Andrew reflects mainstream culture with gentle irreverence, and playfully lampoons many of society's obsessions and taboos.
Many years ago Andrew was at Victoria University alongside Kokomo's bass player Nigel Masters. The two bands played together last October at the Omokoroa Boat Club, where a bunch of fun and a lot of jamming occurred and are looking forward to getting together again. Doors open 7.30pm, tickets are $24.95 from Eventfinda.
Out in Katikati the Missy Raines Trio, featuring George Jackson and Ben Garnett, have come all the way from Nashville to the Arts Junction.
Hailing from West Virginia, Missy – bassist, singer, teacher and songwriter – was a member of Alison Krauss’ first all-female bluegrass band and has backed greats such as Claire Lynch, Mac Weisman, Kenny Baker and Peter Rowan. With her smoky and seductive alto voice, her genre-bending trio are a rich, jazz-tinged combination of her bluegrass roots and thick Americana.
Doors open 7pm, tickets are $20.
And then there's Auckland's Milly Tabak and the Miltones, who're on at 8.30pm in the Crystal Palace on The Strand for the Arts Festival. And sorry, I've run out of space. She has a five-piece band and there's plenty of info about her – plus videos – online.
Tickets are $46.