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The Spinoff’s definitive Auckland City Limits playlist

Auckland City Limits (or ACL for short) returns on 3 March 2018 after a one-year hiatus. These are our favourite songs from the just-announced lineup.

Beck – ‘Loser’

I know wanting Beck to play ‘Loser’ at a show in 2018 is as annoying as hoping Radiohead play ‘Creep’ or going to a Billy Corgan solo acoustic gig and screaming “RAT IN A CAGE!” between every song. I may be guilty but I am not wrong. It would be fully sick if Beck played ‘Loser’ and everyone knows it. / Calum Henderson

Phoenix – ‘1901’

Ah, Phoenix. They’re a ‘bop’ band. Meaning even though I can’t dance, I always find myself bopping awkwardly when I listen to their music. Very much a summer sound and perfect for the Auckland City Limits atmosphere. There’s a hint of MGMT and a hint of Vampire Weekend and a hint of France because they’re French. But don’t worry, people who hate reading subtitles at the movies, they sing in English. / Madeleine Chapman

Justice – ‘Genesis’

Probably the second most revered French electronic duo out there, Justice are best known for two things: their trippy video for their MP3-era single ‘D.A.N.C.E’, and their remix of MGMT’s ‘Electric Feel’ which won a Grammy Award back in 2009. They’ve never been to New Zealand before, which makes their appearance on the line-up all that more thrilling. Their electro-clash, indie rock fusion – which falls along the lines of Ratatat, Soulwax, and Simian Mobile Disco – should be quite the jam under the Auckland night sky. / Jihee Junn

The Avalanches – ‘Frontier Psychiatrist’

Three years or so ago, I saw a bunch of Australian musicians recreate The Avalanches’ classic ‘Since I Left You’ live at the Sydney Opera House. It was amazing. I hope the real things is just as good. / Henry Oliver

Grace Jones – ‘Send in the Clowns’

Grace Jones did everything your favourite pop star is doing now, but thirty years ago, backwards, in leather and in spike heels. To properly use a popular phrase in the LGBT vocabulary: “Grace Jones is EVERYTHING.” I am praying at her altar that she does her seven and a half minute version of the Sondheim classic ‘Send in the Clowns’, because I am a stereotype of a gay man two generations older than myself. / Sam Brooks

Tourettes (aka Dominic Hoey) – ‘John Key’s Son’s a DJ’

Dominic Hoey’s had an insane twelve months or so. He’s published his first novel, put on a one-man show about his disease and life, and had a short film made about his disease and life and one-man show. Now he’s on a 20-odd town tour of the country reading poetry in pubs and community halls. What did you do this year? Anyway, his spoken-word-piece-turned-song ‘John Key’s Son’s a DJ’ feels, um, weird now that the soon-to-be prime minister is, herself, a DJ (and has calling capitalism a “blatant failure” for New Zealand’s poor). / HO

SWIDT  – ‘Mine’

SWIDT have been more than living up to their self-appointment as the “most electrifying rap group in entertainment” so it’s gonna be fun seeing what they do at ACL after a couple of months on the summer festival circuit. Psych-tinged jazz fusion jam ‘Mine’ could be set alight in the afternoon sun and twist some minds in the process. / HO

Sigrid – ‘Don’t Kill My Vibe’

It’s gonna be interesting to see how Sigrid – a Norweigian pop start with one EP to her name – fills out a festival set, but the only song I really like of hers, ‘Don’t Kill My Vibe’, I like a lot. Like, A LOT. And apparently she was great at Glastonbury, so… / HO

Tash Sultana – ‘Jungle’

Were it not for the downright religious experience of seeing Tame Impala while sufficiently primed at Laneway, Tash Sultana’s Powerstation gig would be a clear contender for show of the year. Recovering from food poisoning and probably gravity sickness too, the tiny, dreadlocked, barefoot genius put forward more energy than most full bands are capable of, burning through her admittedly small catalogue before straight up just freestyling some shit with the help of her stage manager/dad. I envy anyone who got to see her live as a busker in Melbourne, and look forward to seeing her again as a superstar at ACL. / Don Rowe

The Libertines – ‘The Good Old Days’

In 2014, I went to see The Libertines play at London’s historic Ally Pally – just their second major show since reuniting after their tumultuous breakup. It was sweaty, messy, raucous, and a right old riot. Carl Barat was donned in his quintessential ruby red military jacket, while Peter Doherty proudly sported his 2000s-era trilby. And with Doherty having (mostly) cleaned up his act after a few relaxing weeks in Thailand, the band have been stirring up nostalgia at summer festivals ever since. What’s more is that it’s 15 years since the band released its debut album. Grab your trilbies kids, because 2002 is back. / JJ

The Head and the Heart – ‘Lost My Mind’

Indie folk! The broadest, largest sub-genre in the game. The Head and The Heart are a sizable outfit (think Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros) and it can be heard with approximately every instrument being played in every song. It’s the kind of music you feel like you’ve heard before but never bothered to look up the artist, meaning they’re perfect for a festival. Their music is best paired with a Moscow Mule and a beard. / MC

The Staves – ‘I’m on Fire’

Sister trios are well and truly ‘in’ and The Staves are the British counterpart to LA’s Haim except, even if you don’t like Haim, The Staves are probably right for you. They’ve opened for the likes of Bon Iver and Florence & The Machine if that gives you an idea of their vibe. Their harmonies are something else and are given the spotlight on their cover of Bruce Springsteen’s ‘I’m On Fire’, which is the best cover of that song. And yes, I’ve listened to all of them. / MC


Auckland City Limits is at Western Springs Stadium and Park on 3 March 2018. Spark has an exclusive pre-sale for Spark customers, available 9 am Monday 30 October to 9 am, Wednesday 1 November.

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