Ah yes, the taste of bittersweet nostalgia. Dreamy throwback festival videos are the only thing doing wonders for my required work-life-balance escapism at this very moment. Since we’ve been unable to get our required fix of prodigious live festivals, we’ll absolutely settle on scrolling through old videos in anticipation of the next large-scale doozie. (You won’t find that word in the dictionary).
The thing that stands out about SIX60’s live-music performances are the memories each track can seamlessly draw out of your internal memory box. Like a fine wine paired with a select food dish, each track pairs with a beaming memory of summer – I get flashes of the drive up to Northern Bass in the old station wagon with ‘Don’t Forget Your Roots’. ‘So High’ reminds me of the rolling playlist when I used to work on the unforgiving grill at Pita Pit, and ‘Closer’ gives me hard 2018 Crate Day vibes.
Six60 absolutely raised and then smashed the bar for live-shows in the last year, holding two sold-out shows (the first New Zealand band to ever sell-out at Western Springs Stadium) amidst other appearances. Let’s take a look at six of their best.
6. Their acoustic set of ‘Please Don’t Go’ on The Edge 2020
Some may find their music somewhat corny in the way it evokes feeling-the-love-vibes, but there’s no denying what we’re dealing with here are straight-up anthems. This is music that will grow old with New Zealand, lasting us a lifetime. Sure, they’re not bassy tunes that go hard at the trending nightclub, but they do fantastically serve the Sunday morning beach trip without adding to the night’s headache. With lyrics stripped back bare and performed with affection and sincerity, SIX60’s live acoustic performance on The Edge is number 6 on the list. Check out the talent.
5. Their trip to Whangarei at Toll Stadium March 2018
What I like about this show is its spontaneity. It was a damn gloomy evening in Whangarei, rain pouring down, wind breaking out, and a looming fear that the show may not go on. 10,000 fan arrivals later, we certainly had a packed stadium ready for their slice of the six60 goods. Walters got into the solo vocals with a sweet tribute to his mum with ‘Green Bottles’, and ‘Mothers Eye’s’. It was beyond special, so good in fact, they came back for another show in March 2020. Here’s the highlight reel:
4. Their ‘homecoming’ in Dunedin, March 2019
After a viral campaign that fought to get the band back to play at their hometown, Forsyth Barr Stadium had 20,000 attendees waiting to see the boys. Matiu Walters (singer and guitarist), came out to address the crowd with his hand over his heart and performed a soulful nod. “SIX60 is home baby!” The night kicked off with ‘Vibes’ and got straight into the setlist.
3. Their second sold out show at Western Springs 2020
I mean the footage says it all but if we’re going to put words to the masterpiece let’s use the word vociferous – as that was the level of roar that came from the audience as our humble Kiwi boys returned to the Springs to shake down the house. SIX60 carries the power to bring together Kiwi’s like no other; their music cleverly intertwines modern pop with influences of Māori and contemporary reggae-fusion. Their cover in this show of ‘Don’t Forget Your Roots’ in Te Reo Māori was something sensational. What a moment for New Zealand.
2. ‘Don’t forget your roots’ RnV 2012
If being in Gisborne, the first place in the world to see the sun for New Year’s isn’t a win in itself, let’s add the fact SIX60 was in the lineup bringing us all together. I didn’t attend this New Year’s myself, but boy do I get shivers from the footage. It’s got the classic New Year’s magic in that song, with everyone chanting the lyrics in perfect unison. The simplicity of SIX60’s lyrics makes for easily memorisable verses – no confusing raps and interchangeable chorus’s; just one good beat with a few rolling one-liners.
Can we just watch this video and vibe out:
1. The entire performance of their first sold out show at Western Springs February 2019
It began with a warmup playing Queen – and have you ever heard 50,000 people sing ‘Galileo, Galileo?’ There was just nothing like it in Aotearoa to date. “It was SIX60 and a choir of 50,000 strong” as put by Matiu. Whilst the boys and the crowd belted out the lyrics, creating a next-to-nothing atmosphere of positive pop-culture energy, the massive screens behind them aired videos of their old Castle-Street flat in Dunedin where the music all began. It was beyond awesome to see their journey of where they started and where they’ve come. A great reminder that there’s talent to be found everywhere.