#NZMusicMonth Guest Post: Hunting Hamilton Music

When we discovered HP of @HPwritesstuff on the blog http://hphamilton.blogspot.co.nz, we were immediately taken by his passion for music and his ability to take his thorough and wide-ranging knowledge of musical-everythings and write about it in such a way that even musical n00bs (like us) were hooked. So of course, we absolutely had to have him as a #NZMusicMonth guest blogger.

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Hamilton Music is not something that runs down the street howling and whooping in the kinds of ecstasy that makes you think it’s on, well…ecstasy. It is a more contained beast. It is humble in nature and can be quite well hidden. Hamilton Music lives in practice rooms, garages and pubs across the city and is almost entirely nocturnal. One may see signs of its existence on the streets in a faded promotional poser or a rather dashing young man with guitar case, but it takes some doing to see it in its natural habitat.

On the trail of Hamilton Music sees visits to favourite live music venues like Static, Altitude, Biddy Mulligans and Diggers. Once inside these venues, the true nature of Hamilton Music can be found. It’s raucous and pummelling and its reputation for grit is truly deserved. There might be claims that Hamilton Music is a tad adversarial. And it is. It’s no surprise that the Meteor hosts the seminal Hamilton Music event of the year, Hamtown Smakdown. No surprise too that rock, hardcore punk and metal spew out of the guitars, drums and mics of local heroes. Bands like Devilskin, Team Kill and Deathnir smash through sets like they’re pumpkins. But it doesn’t stop there.

Continuing our anthropological voyage sees Hamilton as the home of hip hop too. The vast majority of hip hop collective Villains call Hamilton home. They’ve come together when the likes of 4 Corners, JB and Frankton Zoo all saw the potential of collaboration. Add to that, the soulful jams of Raiza Biza and Farizone. Hey, for that matter, add DJ Sir Vere to the mix! Hip hop is just as Hamilton as the heavy stuff.

While our hip neighbours to the west get some great bands touring through and, looking forward to playing Raglan is regularly mentioned, the culture of local bands playing local venues is something uniquely Hamilton. There is an array of arty, groovy, peculiar and ultimately rather enjoyable music here. There is something about the town that allows for musical expression in all directions than a concentrated “scene”. There’s something in the concrete holding up the WINTEC, the steel holding up the bridges, there’s something in the fog that has allowed for music both vast and successful. Kimbra is Hamilton Music as much as Katchafire. They struck out in a town that they knew could be louder.

With all this talent, Hamilton Music can continue to grow its audience. So, head down to see chamber music at the uni’s performing arts centre or ska coming from upstarts, Chatchy. Hopefully you’ll be dressed as the Mad Hatter and hear rockers Cheshire Grimm and Snake Oil Pedders play the annual ‘Down the Rabbit Hole’ gig at Altitude. Go out and hear Vegas Brown in any number of his bands belting out your favourite songs. And then go home and grab whatever qualifies as an instrument and add to the ruckus.

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