Lawrence Arabia and band play Wanaka's Gin & Raspberry on Thursday 7 November. Lawrence Arabia and band play Wanaka's Gin & Raspberry on Thursday 7 November. CREDIT: EveNZ

Festival of Colour brings Lawrence Arabia's classic melodies back to Wanaka

Monday 23 September 2013, 11:53AM
By EveNZ


Following their sold-out appearance at this year’s Southern Lakes Festival of Colour, melodic Kiwi four-piece Lawrence Arabia return to Wanaka for a special one-off gig at the town’s new boutique bar and music venue, Gin & Raspberry on Thursday 7 November.

The band headlined the opening night of last April’s festival as part of ‘supergroup’ Fabulous Arabia that also featured musicians from the Black Seeds, Trinity Roots and Fat Freddy’s Drop as well as an impromptu, band-led conga line around the Central Lakes Trust Crystal Palace.

The Festival of Colour is presenting Lawrence Arabia’s Wanaka date as part of the band’s first ever nationwide tour outside the four main centres. Lead vocalist Arabia, aka Christchurch-born songwriter James Milne, said the show would be just as entertaining as April's gig but a whole new sonic experience for the town.

“There are a million reasons to come and see us again. Our core sound is more Beatles-esque and less funky. We have the same singers but a different drummer; shorter songs but lots more of them!” he said.

“It's a 90-minute plus show, abundant with banter and three-part harmonies, wit, beauty and occasional loud noise.”

Lawrence's most recent album The Sparrow was released in July 2012 to worldwide critical acclaim including the Sunday Times' (UK) CD of the Week, iTunes NZ's New Zealand Album Of The Year 2012 and a Taite Music Prize nomination.

Since releasing his debut album in 2006, Lawrence Arabia has toured extensively in Europe, Australia and North America, including tours with Feist, Beach House, Okkervil River and Crowded House. In 2009, his song Apple Pie Bed won the APRA Silver Scroll and the album from which it came, Chant Darling, won the inaugural Taite Music Prize.

After the release of The Sparrow, Lawrence and band toured Australia, New Zealand, North America, the UK and Europe again during the second half of 2012, returning to Europe in May this year for shows with The Phoenix Foundation and a special theatre show in Sweden organised by Peter Morén of Peter Bjorn and John, which incorporated local musicians and a string trio. Earlier this month, the band and accompanying string quartet sold-out their show at the Christchurch Arts Festival.

Lawrence Arabia comprises the eponymous Arabia on guitar, piano and vocals, Tom Watson on lead guitar, trumpet and vocals, Hayden Eastmond-Mein on bass guitar and vocals, and Alistair Deverick on drums (and the occasional vocal). Cassette songwriter Tom Watson plays a set in support.

The band play Gin & Raspberry, 155 Ardmore Street (above the Lake Bar), Wanaka on Thursday 7 November. Show starts at 8pm. Tickets cost $25 and are available for pre-sale online only to Festival of Colour patrons and benefactors at from Monday 23 September. Public sales from Monday 30 September from the festival's website or in person at Gin & Raspberry or Francesca’s Italian Kitchen, Wanaka.

The Southern Lakes Festival of Colour continues to promote the arts in the region with special events before the next festival that runs from 21-26 April 2015. For further information visit or follow the festival on Facebook.