STAGES: The Cabana ..National Radio

THE EASTERN

20
/ Jan
Saturday
2018

THE EASTERN

Price
$19 / $25 DOOR

The Eastern are a string band that roars like a punk band, that swings like a gospel band, that drinks like a
country band, that works like a bar band, that hopes like folk singers, and sings love songs like union songs,
and writes union songs like love songs, and wants to slow dance and stand on tables, all at the same time.
Whether roaring as their big six-piece string band or swinging the loud lonesome sound as a three piece and
averaging over 200 shows a year, The Eastern can hold it down in all settings for all comers.
With over 10 years and over 1000 shows under their collective belts, The Eastern have played in every nook
and corner of the good isles of New Zealand, and have broken strings and dented floors in parts beyond. From
Papanui to Portland, Shirley to Switzerland, they’ve seen more than their share of stages, street corners and
bars but treat any opportunity to hold it down and play as a gift and one they’d be fools to waste. They play like
they mean it, like it’s all they know how do…because they do and it is.
They’ve toured with Steve Earle (twice), the Old Crow Medicine Show (twice) and the Lilʼ Band of Gold as
well as opening for everyone from Fleetwood Mac to the Jayhawks to Jimmy Barnes to Justin Townes Earle
as well as Hayes Caryll, Jim White, John Doe, Victoria Williams and Vic Chestnut.
Having delivered up four albums (‘The Eastern’, ‘Arrows’, ‘Hope & Wire’ and ‘The Territory’), three e.p.’s, and
of course the aforementioned 1000 plus shows, The Eastern have garnered a reputation as NZ’s hardest
working band. They gather converts and friends wherever they or their records land.
Thrillingly the rolling, rambling, spirit raising atmospheres they project in their live shows have endeared them
to the hearts of many. It’s obvious they care about the audience as much as the songs.
They make friendships and family wherever their songs and stories ring out. The trust they’ve built between
themselves and the folks who come and hear them is something they’re rightly proud of and they remain thrilled
and amazed it’s that relationship that has been able to keep their wheels on the road and their bellies fed, not
least the fact that as the years pass the threat of their former day jobs coming back to capture them fades back
into the ether.
Due to start recording their third album in February 2011 plans were waylaid by the Christchurch earthquake,
instead they gathered up friends and singers alike in their home town of Lyttelton (Christchurch’s port) and
began work on the charity record ʻThe Harbour Unionʼ, the album debuted in the top 20 of the NZ Chart, was
nominated for New Zealand country music album of the year and has proved to be a wonderful vehicle through
which The Eastern and their friends can trade music for donations to the Christchurch earthquake fund.
2012 saw the release of ‘Hope and Wire’ their most realized record yet. A bold double album that reached
Gold Status, climbed to #2 in the NZ charts, debuted at #1 on the NZ iTunes chart and most importantly
endeared itself into the hearts of the bands loyal following. All of this was done on the hint of smell of an oily
rag, no marketing budget, no videos, no funding, just the band translating the goodwill they have received into
something tangible. Their song ‘State Houses by the River’ became one of APRA’s best five songs of the year
and fought it out for the silver scroll songwriting award, one of the rare times a song of social commentary has
found itself in such a position in NZ. The Song ‘Hope and Wire’ became the inspiration for Gaylene Preston’s
primetime six-part TV drama series about the Christchurch earthquake ‘Hope and Wire’ and the band found
themselves not only providing the soundtrack but also starring in the show.
2014 saw the band complete two intensive laps of the country, two trips to Australia as well as an eight week
tour of Europe. Very few bands would’ve sustained that amount of touring just before releasing a record, yet
in classic eastern style, three weeks from landing home from Europe The Eastern began prepping the release
of their fourth record; ‘The Territory’. Released in October it hit the NZ charts in the number 2 position and
spent 5 weeks in the top 10, became the number 1 country album on the NZ iTunes charts. It picked up reviews
that are made the band blush and swell with pride in equal measure. With terms such as “Triumph” and
“National treasure” flying about ‘The Territory’ appears destined to hold the strongest place in The Eastern’s
canon with No Depression calling it “One of the meatiest albums of the year, from any band, anywhere!” and
described the band as “One of the best modern roots acts from any country”.
After a brief spell catching their breath, and with lead writers McGrath and Shanks carving out some solo
work, The Eastern are back in the ring and the swing, punching above their weight as ever, shaking hands and
cracking stages as they’ve always done, building things for the right reasons always and ever after from the
grassroots up. A people’s band playing people songs as honest and as furiously as they can.
“One of the best modern roots bands from any country”
-No Depression
“A national treasure”
-Radio New Zealand
“Stunning”
– Rip it Up
“the first New Zealand band in a long time to
do things the good old-fashioned way.”
– Dominion Post
“The Eastern are possessed of a sound which is heartfelt, authentic and infinitely
listenable…”
– NZ Musician Magazine
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-Q magazine (UK)
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-NZ Herald
“NZ’s toughest minded songwriter”
-Graeme Reid

 

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