23 Feb 2024

Five acts to see at Electric Avenue

7:14 pm on 23 February 2024

New Zealand's biggest one-day music festival is on in Christchurch's Hagley Park on Saturday, RNZ takes a look at five must-see acts.

Lady Shaka

A magnetic presence behind the controller; Kiwi expat Lady Shaka has quickly cemented her reputation as an adept selector and master party starter over the past two years. The recent Boiler Room sessions are already the stuff of legend, owning revellers in Berlin, Melbourne and London (where she is now based). However, she has done it by seamlessly weaving both homegrown and indigenous sounds into her frenetic, pop-heavy club blends, a nod to her own Māori and Pasifika heritage. In Berlin, she threw down floor-ready reworks by Auckland DJ/producer Caru, of Savage/Aaradhna's 'They Don't Know' and Nesian Mystik's Hawaiian-tinged 'Nesian 101'. In other words, she reps hard. Amid this kaupapa, she is set to unleash a breathlessly eclectic and riotous party that should not be missed.

The Chemical Brothers

The Manchester veterans are undoubtedly an excellent get for the organisers, considering how supreme a live force they are. Tom Rowlands and Ed Simons remain arguably the biggest festival-closing drawcard of any of their fellow electronic knob-twiddlers and have been for most of their 30 year-plus career. They were at the forefront of big beat's commercial breakthroughs at the backend of the 90s. And while it's been many a year since they've served up an anthem as enduring as 'Block Rockin' Beats', 'Hey Boy Hey Girl' or 'Galvanise', it's the Chemicals' live show which may prove to be their greatest legacy. They have delivered face-melting headlining turns at Glastonbury, Coachella and Japan's Fuji Rock. An unmistakable element to this lore is their jaw-dropping light and visual effects, courtesy of long-time collaborators Marcus Lyall and Adam Smith. This accompaniment has proven to bolster their acidic bombast to something truly transcendent. So girls and boys, buckle up.

Greentea Peng

Hailing from South London, Aria Wells' Greentea Peng cuts an exploratory and well-travelled figure, bred on several musical and cultural influences. Both vocally and aesthetically, it's hard not to evoke the whimsical soul associated with Erykah Badu, or more recently Hiatus Kaiyote. But you feel Greentea Peng defies easy categorisation by adopting a sense of adventure and curiosity, that has long had a home in the UK off the back of sound system culture. An uncompromising artist with killer vocal chops backed by a tight band, oozing with range. There's a bit of reggae here, a bit of jazz-funk there, and so on. If you're after something a bit more contemplative, all-encompassing but funky as hell, Greentea Peng is your cup.

The Electric Avenue music festival is being held in Christchurch's Hagley Park on 24 February 2024.

Photo: Supplied / Electric Avenue / Team Events

Cosmo's Midnight

You can already see it with the name; palm trees, peach and pink coloured UV lights. That's not too far away from the "vibes" of Cosmo's Midnight. The Sydney twin brothers have transitioned from bedroom producers to live outfit, mining a sound that admittedly has become very in vogue over the past decade, perhaps since the point Daft Punk took to the Grammy podium with Nile Rogers. The Aussies really do this blissed-out sun-kissed disco quite well (see The Avalanches, Tame Impala, etc) and Triple J has lapped up these cosmic bros. Throw in some filtered harmonies and guitar upstrokes, their breezy sound is lovingly refined for group hugs and sunsets.

Frank Booker

Another homegrown hero, Auckland's Frank Booker has made a compelling case as an impeccable producer and DJ for more than a decade earning many plaudits across the globe in the process. In fact, he was handpicked to get behind the decks for a private party during Prince's 2016 visit to these shores. During his extensive travels, he has spun alongside the likes of Detroit legend Moodymann, Gilles Peterson and Californian funktronic exponent Dam-Funk. That is some pedigree. His sets typically extract from disco, funk and soul, deftly selected the result of a deep knowledge of what works wonders on the dance floor. He will have patrons shaking when he takes to the Circo stage mid-afternoon.