Marlin's Dreaming plays Nest Fest in Hawkes Bay next January. Photo / Supplied

The Coolest Music Acts To Catch This Summer

Give us a beer with any one of these local or international talents and we'll be happy

Royal Flush
Kiwi acts SWIDT, High Hoops, and k2k join forces for Royal Flush, a slick seaside gig put on by Red Bull and A Label Called Success. October 18. Mantells on the Water

Hans Pucket
Keep an eye out for this young Wellington trio at Whammy Fest, a two-night gig at Whammy Bar. The guitar-popsters released their second album Eczema this year; an eight-track delight that pairs wry musings on modern romance with unpredictable chord sequences and disco jams. October 25-26. Whammy Bar, St Kevins Arcade, Karangahape Rd

Mermaidens at Whammy Bar
Wellington trio Mermaidens' versatile sound has seen them grow into one of the country’s most exciting acts. The band — made up of Abe Hollingsworth, Gussie Larkin and Lily West — released their third album, Look me in the Eye, via Flying Nun last month. Catch Mermaidens (in matching boiler suits) performing at Whammy Bar this weekend - and at Laneway 2020. Saturday October 19. 183 Karangahape Rd, City. Tickets at

Lawrence Arabia at Pah Homestead
Catch James Milne (aka Lawrence Arabia) solo on mahogany piano — and “other things’ according to the bright pink poster — on a seven-date nationwide tour kicking off this weekend at Pah Homestead. Sunday October 20. 72 Hillsborough Road, Hillsborough. Tickets $30 at

Joan As Police Woman
New York indie artist Joan As Police Woman (Joan Wasser) is performing three solo concerts this October, off the back of this year's release of her career-retrospective JoanthologyNow 48, she has collaborated and performed with a host of incredible artists including Beck, Lauri Anderson, Sufjan Stevens, RZA of Wu-Tang Clan, Antony & The Johnsons and Rufus Wainwright. October 23 - 25 (Wellington, Christchurch, Auckland).

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Friday Jams Live
Janet Jackson, Black Eyes Peas, 50 Cent, aaaaand Jason Derulo are all coming? It’s going to get hot at ZM’s annual R&B party. November 17. Western Springs Stadium

Mini Simmons
It’s all-out 70s vibes with Auckland band Mini Simmons — think shaking hips, guitar licks, and perfectly frizzed hair. Formed in 2017, the fellas celebrated the release of their debut self-titled album with a string of high-energy shows around the country earlier this year. Catch Mini Simmons at their 'The Rock ‘n’ Roll Time Machine' show November 30 at the Tuning Fork, at Kaleidoscope NYE Festival in Tauranga and Soundsplash in Raglan — fingers crossed it gets a little wild. 

Ella Mai
Grab your boo for R&B star Ella Mai’s New Zealand debut. The British singer-songwriter’s breakthrough single Boo’d Up was one of the biggest tracks in 2018 and earned two Grammy nominations. January 5. Logan Campbell Centre.

Fat Freddy’s Drop
It wouldn’t be summer without some beats from Fat Freddy’s Drop, so we’re super-excited about their latest tour of Aotearoa. The Auckland show at Western Springs includes Kiwis Bailey Wiley, Tom Scott’s Avantdale Bowling Club and international DJ David Rogan. January 18. Western Springs

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Soaked Oats
Dunedin four-piece Soaked Oats is top of our playlist for hazy, chilled-out summer afternoons. Catch Soaked Oats at Kaleidoscope NYE Festival in Tauranga, Laneway 2020, and Womad 2020.

Laneway 2020
There’s plenty of pop beats from The 1975 and Charli XCX, along with Aussie rockers King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard, The Chats and songwriter Julia Jacklin on the Laneway line-up. Local talent includes Benee and hip-hop newcomers eleven7four.
January 27. Albert Park.

Grammy nominee Khalid has added a second show in Auckland after selling out the first. The 21-year-old singer, from El Paso, Texas, is known for his double-platinum debut album American Teen. November 20-21. Spark Arena.

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Shawn Mendes
Canadian teen icon Shawn Mendes returns to melt hearts this November. And we’re secretly glad girlfriend Camila Cabello isn’t coming so there’s one less senorita in the room. Holla! November 9. Spark Arena.

Nest Fest
It's hard to beat Nest Fest's venue —  a natural amphitheater at Black Barn Vineyards in sunny Hawkes Bay. The festival launched last year offering a refreshing take on a 'doof doof' line-up with a mix of exciting local bands and a few international talents. The atmosphere is laidback and friendly. Next year's lineup includes The Murclocas, Being, Gabriella Cohen, Sophie Ozard, Mild Orange, Los Telepaticos, Marlin's Dreaming, Nicholas Franchise, Joe Ghatt, Daily J, Sam Wave, Wax Mustang, Earth Tounge, Flamingo PIer, '121 Presents', and Lord Echo. January 11Black Barn, Hawkes Bay 

Reb Fountain
If you caught Reb’s recent Neil Young’s Live Rust tribute concert series or The Others Way Festival performance, you can vouch for the standing ovations. The singer-songwriter appears all over the place, working alongside other notable artists. Reb won the 2018 APRA Best Country Music Song for Hopeful & Hopeless and the Recorded Music NZ Best Country Music Artist Tui for the EP of the same name. Reb has a new album out early next year, produced with long-time music collaborator Dave Khan (Marlon Williams). The duo have kicked off a nationwide tour this month, giving a taste of what’s to come, and Reb will perform at Womad next year. March 13-15. New Plymouth

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Steve Gunn
Americana/blues singer-songwriter Steve Gunn comes to NZ in November for his first tour since the release of The Unseen In Between. The latest album of folk-rock reflections and electric guitar jams has been critically adored as his best yet. Rolling Stone magazine named him "rock's best secret" earlier this year. Gunn will play six dates around the country kicking off in Auckland. November 6. Tuning Fork, Auckland.

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