So, me and 12,999 others decided that “Coro Gold” was the event of choice to see 2011 in. And, aside from the increase in numbers from the previous year and the half-hour wait for a maximum of FOUR alcoholic beverages, it was a very good choice.
Our group of revellers rolled in through the gates at around 3:20pm to catch the last 20 minutes of the ever-impressive Katchafire (who managed to somehow get to Martinborough’s La De Da event later that night for their set at 6:55pm). The first mission for drinks was easy enough, as it seemed half the eventual crowd thought it better to pre-load more than we had, before seeing the later acts. After last year’s pre-mix-bourbon-fuelled event, it was awesome to see a larger selection of drinks at the pit-stop tents – Isaac’s Cider, JB & Coke, Smirnoff Ice’s, Speights, Speights Summit AND CC & Dry! Food stations were serving wicked feeds of pizza, paella, burgers, kebabs etc. and I opted for the carnivorous variety of Paella which was superb.
We found a laxy spot up on the hill of the surrounding natural amphitheatre and settled in for the afternoon. Next up were Little Bushman who I’d recently started to get into. Funky, bluesy NZ sounds and some soulful singing from Mr Warren Maxwell got the small stage-front crowd pumping and doing the various forms of what I like to call “Hippy Land-Swimming” motions. Ladi6 then wound her way through her set with ease and seemed to be enjoying the afternoon sun and the enthusiastic crowd. Mr Maxwell returned at 6:20pm with the rest of Trinity Roots and powered through an intense and melodic set of their well-known hits such as The Dream and Home, Land and Sea. Hats off to Warren ‘cos he can croon in that old-school bluesy way as well as anyone on earth.
By this stage the place was getting near-full and packed with teeny-boppers, chilled-out 20+’s and well-worn music festival veterans alike and the place was buzzing. The sound was fantastic, sounding crystal clear even at the top of the opposite hill. The vibe was laid-back, yet pumping and everyone seemed to be enjoying themselves. I witnessed one near-fight but the opposing dumbasses obviously had some good mates, as they were both held back and taken away.
Then, at 7:45pm, Tiki strolled on accompanied by a Maori warrior ensemble and blew the roof off things. Far from strumming a solo version of Always on my Mind, he and his band surprised many with a great performance. The crowd gathered from everywhere as the momentum built in an awesome set and Tiki obviously loved it. Great work that man.
My pick of the night were the Black Seeds. They had the crowd pumping from the moment they strolled on and managed to maintain the energy for their hour and a half set. All their hits were cranked into louder, awesome versions of their recorded entities and most of the laid-back hill-sitting crowd were up dancing (or at least toe-tapping) for the whole time.
And as for Shapeshifter… what can I say? They could never disappoint. I was pretty buggered by that stage but still had a bounce to Mr high-on-life-and-probably-other-things-as-well P Digsss. Good ol’ Shapeshifter.
Then, BOOM, countdown, fireworks, New Years pash and one last kanikani. Nice.
Overall, an awesome gig. Generally well organised – we stayed at Cooks Beach and there were buses running from the venue to the ferry and a bus waiting for us at the other side of the ferry ride. Good crowd and great music.