Deep Forest & Gaudi, Auckland NZ, 2017

Deep Forest & Gaudi (AUM: The Eclectic Garden)
2nd December 2017
Corban Estate Arts Centre, Auckland, New Zealand.

Review by Shan Iyer. Photography by Ivan Karczewski.

Deep Forest & Gaudi photo by Kioui Pix.

The Legendary Grammy Award winning Deep Forest have unfortunately never humbled us Kiwi’s by playing on our sometimes musically isolated shores before. So fans were more than jubilant when it was announced that not only would the French due be playing in Auckland but they would be joined by the ’21st Century one-man band’ Gaudi; aka Italian composer and record producer Daniele Gaudi. With musical content not entirely dissimilar, this would indeed be the perfect pairing.

Advertised as a ‘sun to sunset’ family event where people were encouraged to bring picnic blankets and settle in for an afternoon of music that would take them through to the main event it was nice to note that children under a certain age were free. Presented by Aum Productions as a lead up to Auckland’s New Year’s Eve family camping, arts and music festival AUM NYE 2017 this debut event was impressively fully designed – as well as owned and operated – right here in New Zealand.

The event certainly was a more distinctly intimate affair, the grassy enclosure at The Corbans Estate filled with several swaying trees that provided much needed shade at times from the afternoon Auckland sun. Populated with half a dozen tents, canopies, chairs, and various free-spirited, loose clothed bohemians; it was great to see much dancing and grooving throughout the warm afternoon with several children joining in on the frivolities armed with hula hoops, tennis balls and other such items of fun.

The day’s musical selection commenced with Terranine, aka the virtuoso that is Michael Wescot performing on an electrical violin set to an electronic wall of sound; a gentle extravagance, unique enough in style and fare to gather post-concert interest. The presence of Wescot under the afternoon sun, serving as a welcome for the fashionably laid back concert goers who were beginning to relax into the evening.

The general vibe of the support acts was indeed one decidedly unique to the Kiwi culture; Huia with Baitercell & Rei’s fusion of hard electronica dazzled when accompanied with the organic percussions and warm vocalizations sung in beautiful Te Reo; this wonderful representation of the indigenous culture of NZ seemingly embraced by the happy masses. Their rendition of Scribe’s ‘Not Many’ also sung in Te Reo a welcoming accomplice to their performance.

Sola Rosa, always a class act soon had the audience enthusiastically dancing to their phat beats while Kirsty Hargreaves and Ferksta’s DJ set served as an interesting and welcome background between the supporting acts, at least until Deep Forest and Gaudi took the stage. The actual concert stage itself while not inherently in any manner ascendant was still more than suitable with the general lighting for each of the support acts rather pleasant. What did stand out however was the quality of the sound which was crystal clear throughout the day with none of the technical hiccups that can often plague outdoor events.

As evening fell the main acts of the festival took to the stage, the audience surging forward to fully immerse themselves in the experience. Deep Forest are well known for their eclectic mix of tribalistic rhythms and sampled vocals from a global ethnic background and these seemed to go down well with the crowd who were ready to get lost within the music and dance the night away.

Gaudi dazzled with his skills on items such as analogue vintage synthesizers; while Eric Monquet’s long pale hair (and quite humble demeanour) were immediately recognized by concertgoers, drawing a cheer when he and Gaudi graced the stage together. Monquet’s rigorous and varied skills and eclectic improvisations upon his several electric synthesizers, proving him to indeed be a master performer. Deep into the show, smoke machines and an assortment of green lasers hypnotized the crowd with their superb displays; the unblemished night sky itself adding its own touch to the orchestrated mixture of light and deep-seated pulsing sound. The Deep Forest set list kicked off to rousing cheers from the audience and included such recognizable crowd-pleasers as “Deep Forest” from their 1992 debut World mix, “Sweet Lullaby” from 1995’s Boheme and of course “Endangered Species” from Music Detected; the set even including some tracks from Monquet’s 2013 Album Deep India. The duo even returned to the stage after their blissful hour and a half set to perform one final ballad after a passionate plea for an encore from the audience.

AUM: The Eclectic Garden – Deep Forest and Gaudi was indeed a unique festival and one that will hopefully continue well into the years to come.

Deep Forest & Gaudi:
Random Festival Images:

Were you there at the Corbans Estate Arts Centre for this beautiful music festival? Or have you seen Deep Forest  or Gaudi perform live some other time? Tell us about it in the comments below!

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