Local musicians surviving the double-edged sword of Covid barriers

March 29, 2022

Local musicians surviving the double-edged sword of Covid barriers

Grabbing a chance between Covid level restrictions - Auckland punk band Late to Chelsea performs at the "Bangers n' Mosh" concert July '21 at Grey Lynn Library Hall. Photo: Chris Double.

Local Kiwi musicians have battled it hard through a variety of Covid-19 restrictions but found a silver lining – of sorts.

Despite lockdowns affecting if they could perform at all, and then audience numbers when they could, the dearth of international acts in Aotearoa over the last two years has boosted audiences.

Bands say attendance of local gigs has exceeded expectations as Kiwis showed extra appreciation of live local music.

“It’s made it easier for local bands like DARTZ to gain a significant amount of traction with local audiences”, said bassist Clark E. Mathews, from the Wellington-based punk rock band.

In the limited pockets of time where restrictions have loosened, local bands have scrambled in an attempt to put on as many gigs as possible.

But despite the good audience turnout, the inconsistency of being able to put on guaranteed live events was a significant low for musicians nationwide

Guitarist Max Roskilly, of Auckland based heavy metal band Senarius, said they found the process of gigs “draining”.

This included there being no guarantee that gigs would happen due to the changing alert levels and red-light restrictions.

“I felt a lot more pressure when organising gigs, to make sure they can meet red-light requirements, that we can still make a profit and that an audience would come,” he said.

Local musicians have also regretted the effect Covid has had in interrupting their careers and their bands’ success due to restrictions.

“As a collective, COVID’S impact was negative because obviously we would have preferred to practice together during that time period and play live shows,” said guitarist Benji Perez of Auckland-based melodic hardcore band Stacked.

“We discussed this as a band and we reckon we would have seen a lot more success than we are currently, as we would have probably completed our first EP and played many more shows, gaining us more recognition,” he added.

Stacked were a finalist in the Smokefree Rockquest Nationals.

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