The VICE Guide to Auckland’s Laneway Festival

As hard as it is, we've narrowed down some highlights.
January 23, 2018, 12:56am
Image by Jun Iwasaki.

The only good thing about being back at work after the New Year break is knowing that there are heaps of public holidays right around the corner. Like, for instance, Auckland Anniversary Day. It’s the perfect sort of day off—it’s always on a Monday, so you get a long weekend—and most importantly, it’s the same day as Laneway, one of the coolest festivals of the year.

After making the move from the boiling hot carpark that is Silo Park last year, Laneway is back once again in the middle of the city at Albert Park. There’s lots of shelter from the sun and enough space so that you don’t feel quite so crammed in like previous years. And as usual, the line-up should tick all the boxes when it comes to the so-called artists you need to know about in 2018.


Here’s a few that we fully recommend you don’t miss.


Where to start: ‘BELLYACHE’

Is she pop’s best new hope?” That’s the type of question that’s being asked of Billie Eilish, the 16-year-old songwriter from Los Angeles, after a hot streak of singles saw her blow up in basically no time whatsoever. Laneway marks Eilish’s second visit to New Zealand in just four months and her sideshow scheduled for the day after the festival has already sold out, too. ‘Bellyache’, a song written from the perspective of a serial killer, is the place to start, but her newest single with Vince (don’t call him “Vincent”) Staples is also very much worth adding to your favourite playlist.


Where to start: ‘THE SEASON / CARRY ME’

A word of advice: don’t trust anyone that doesn’t like Anderson .Paak. Ever since the release of his 2016 stunner Malibu, New Zealand fans have been hanging out to finally see .Paak in person. And counting out any weather setbacks, Albert Park should be the perfect venue for his laidback and glistening R&B/funk jams. He’ll be a must-see in every sense.


Where to start: ‘I’M THE MAN, THAT WILL FIND YOU’

Te Awanga kook Connan Mockasin has recently spent his time linking up with artists like James Blake, Charlotte Gainsbourg and MGMT, but a new record of his own is on the way too. It’s called Jassbusters and it’s a concept album about a teacher who falls for a male student who he thinks is a girl. According to Mockasin, it’ll also go hand in hand with a five-part movie. With a little luck, we’ll get a preview of what’s to come when he takes the stage at Laneway.


Where to start: ‘PANDEMONIUM’

Coming straight off the back of Avontales , his 2017 EP that pays homage to the West Auckland suburb where he was raised, Melowdownz is locked in as one of the must-see local acts at Laneway this year. “Although I love New Zealand and the music scene here, I want to take it further,” he told VICE recently. “Not only for me, but for the culture as well.”


Where to start: ‘LOVE COME DOWN’

Noah Slee has mostly flown under the radar here at home, but lately he’s been busy making a name for himself in Europe off of his soulful debut record OTHERLAND. You might not guess it from listening, but it was Thom Yorke’s solo album The Eraser that was a game changer for the New Zealand-born/Berlin-based musician. Daft Punk, too. “They can have a cup of coffee somewhere and not be noticed, then play a massive show on the same day,” he says. “I wouldn't mind a bit of that life.”


Where to start: ‘GIRL’

The last time The Internet were in the country for Laneway, they played an unmissable mid-afternoon set that was as cool and collected as you would expect from the left-field Californian group. While they’re still coasting off the excellent Ego Death, a handful of band members have spent the past year releasing music of their own. Which reminds us: can we get a Steve Lacy sideshow, or what?

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