Orchestral Manoeuvres In The Dark (OMD)

British electronic synth pioneers Orchestral Manoeuvres In The Dark (OMD) make their triumphant return to New Zealand to headline Sounds Series 2025.

OMD have sold over 40 million albums and recorded some of the most iconic songs of the 1980s.  Combining their love of synth, electronic music, and their talent for writing great pop songs, OMD have established themselves as of one Britain’s most- loved pop groups. Don’t miss your chance to witness one of the most influential bands in electronic music history.

Celebrating 45 years in music, former schoolfriends Andy McCluskey and Paul Humphries, will play their catalogue of hits that include some of the most beloved songs of the 80s – including If You Leave from the Pretty in Pink soundtrack, Enola Gay, Secret, Souvenir, So in Love, (Forever) Live and Die, Electricity, Joan Of Arc (Maid Of Orleans) and  many more alongside songs from their stellar fourteen studio albums including their latest release, Bauhaus Staircase, released in 2023. 

Their latest studio album Bauhaus Staircase, charting at no.2 in the UK, is OMD’s most explicitly political record and the crowning achievement of their desire to be both Stockhausen and Abba – born from the impetus to kickstart new explorations during lockdown. A broad, electronic, sonic masterpiece that lyrically tackles the topics of the future, it was predominantly written, recorded, and mixed by both McCluskey and Paul Humphreys.

Thompson Twins’ Tom Bailey

Tom Bailey’s creative past, present and future can’t be plotted along a straight line. It’s a prism, with dub, pop and world influences at each corner. 

The pop element is his most well-known and came back into play in 2018 with a brand new album, Science Fiction. It arrived just over 25 years after Play With Me, the last single by the Thompson Twins, which sat alongside tracks by Bowie, Eno and Moby on the soundtrack to 1992’s Cool World. 

The previous decade of course, had seen the Thompson Twins rise from squat-based free-form indie anarchy – with 1981’s Set and ‘82’s A Product Of… – to world domination, with a set at Live Aid backed by Nile Rodgers and Madonna. They had 7 top 40 hits in the US and 10 in the UK with another 4 top 40 hits in the US Dance Chart including 2 No1’s with ‘Lies’ and ‘Hold Me Now’ and over 10 million album sales worldwide. 

Playing the Thompson Twins’ hits live around the world for the past few years has also forced Tom to reassess the group’s music. 

“One thing I’ve discovered – that I never really consciously understood back in the day – is that, although the Thompson Twins’ songs nearly always have this bright punchy positive chorus, often evoking love and togetherness, there’s actually a dark heart in most of the verses. There’s all sorts of weird complications and confusions going on. They’re not just boy-meets-girl love songs. I found myself relating very strongly to that, and what it means about what we all did 30 years ago, and what’s happened to us all ever since then.” 

“I so much enjoyed playing concerts around the world over the last few years. There’s something so special about the way this kind of music works and, for me, it’s like finding a long-lost friend.”

Jon Stevens – Noiseworks & INXS collection

Australian based Kiwi rocker Jon Stevens brings his acclaimed Noiseworks and INXS collection to Sounds Series.

Jon Stevens: The Noiseworks + INXS collection has been rocking large festivals across Australia. Now it is New Zealand’s turn to hear Jon perform INXS classics like Need you Tonight, New Sensation, Never Tear Us Apart, Devil Inside and many more, as well as Noiseworks smash hits like Take me Back, Touch, No Lies and Hot Chilli Woman. 

Jon Stevens fronted Oz rockers Noiseworks throughout their hit-packed career, and became new lead singer for the legendary INXS as they transformed into the new millennium.

This tour concept focusing on his two iconic Downunder bands was cemented recently when INXS’s Andrew Farriss told Jon backstage: “That was an awesome gig, but you really need to do more INXS songs!”.

Every song on the setlist is a smash radio hit and guaranteed to have you on your feet from the outset. 

And for the Kiwi crowds, this born and bred Upper Hutt legend hints his set list may go way back. Montego Bay anyone? Jon’s Sounds Series finale at Hutt Sounds in his original hometown, Upper Hutt, will be a very special moment.

DIESEL

Born in Fall River Massachusetts, the youngest of seven from a sax playing electronics technician father and a mother in nursing, Mark Lizotte aka DIESEL grew up in Australia and in the U.S. 

He formed the band ‘Johnny Diesel & The Injectors’ in 1986 from remnants of a previous band before embarking on a solo career in 1991. 

In 2017 Diesel celebrated 30 years “off the bus” landing in Sydney in 1987 after a 3-day bus journey across Australia, launching into 9 shows per week – the rest is history. 

With over thirty five singles, sixteen albums, 6 ARIA awards and record sales edging 1 million, DIESEL is a journeyman of music. 

With blues music in his DNA, an influence largely from his Father’s record collection, DIESEL has blended styles to come up with a truly unique sound, punctuated with his distinct guitar playing and vocals.

His fanbase in New Zealand is strong, thanks for NZ chart hits like Tip Of My Tongue, Come To Me, Don’t Need Love, Never Miss Water and many more.

Ardijah

Ryan Monga grew up in Otara, Auckland with a melting pot of Pacific peoples, and was exposed to a rich blend of both traditional Cook Island/Tahitian music and the sounds of international funk bands.

Meanwhile, Betty-Anne’s musical influences consisted of great Jazz/Blues singers Sarah Vaughan, Ella Fitzgerald and Australia’s Renee Geyer.

Ardijah’s first album ‘Take A Chance’ was released in 1988 holding a Top 20 position on the sales charts for four months and achieving platinum status. The four singles released from the album were all radio hits, with all 3 charting Top 10. 

Ardijah toured extensively, attracting large crowds from a broad range of music lovers, cementing their reputation not only as talented recording artists but also as dynamic performers.

In 1990 their burgeoning musical career took Ardijah to Sydney, Australia where they

were chosen as support act on Bobby Brown’s Australian Tour. A cameo performance for musical legend Quincy Jones was definitely a highlight.

After returning home to New Zealand in 1996, Ardijah released their album ‘Influence’ on their new independent label South Central Productions of which the singles ‘Bad Buzz’ and ‘Oh Baby’ received national airplay. Excellent sales from this album also reinforced Ardijah’s ongoing popularity with people from all walks of life. 

1998 saw the band produce their first single release by a major record label in several years. The obscure Bee Gee’s track, ‘Love So Right’ was released – catching the attention of the original artists/songwriters, resulting in a meeting with Ardijah and the Gibb brothers. 

‘Love So Right’ was one of New Zealand’s most played radio hits of the year, remaining in the Top 20 for seventeen weeks – seven of those weeks in the Top 10 – sending the song to Gold sales. Their follow-up single, ‘Silly Love Songs’, was released in January 1999 reached Number One, giving them another Gold. At the 1999 Music Awards, Ardijah were finalists in three categories Top Group, Top Single and Top Female Vocalist, of which Betty-Anne took the Best Female Vocalist Award.

The Human League

In 1981, The Human League’s refreshed line-up of Phil Oakley, Joanne Catherall and Susan Anne Sulley released the ground-breaking LP Dare – one of the greatest albums of all time.

Featuring immortal pop classic Don’t You Want Me, and hit singles Love Action, Sound Of The Crowd, Open Your Heart. 
Their success was particularly rapid for still-teenage Joanne Catherall and Susan Anne Sulley. The day after they performed Don’t You Want Me on hit TV show Top Of The Pops, they rushed back home to Sheffield to complete school exams. Many more hits were to come. Innovative albums and fantastic singles like (Keep Feeling) Fascination, The Lebabon, Human, and Oakley’s own Together in Electric Dreams. It’s a go-to playlist which discerning music-lovers return to year after year. Their spectacular and uplifting live show has been produced and well honed for the very best US and Europe festivals.

The Sound Series is proud to have The Human League headlining our three New Zealand festivals in 2024.

Go West

Go West’s Peter Cox and Richard Drummie had an immediate impact on the pop charts when their debut single We Close Our Eyes was released in the spring of 1985. It reached number 5 in the UK charts and became a top 10 hit in the USA. This was quickly followed with three more hits,  Call Me, Goodbye Girl and Don’t Look Down.

The album Go West sold 2 million copies worldwide and remained on the UK chart for 83 weeks, establishing them as one of the finest song-writing partnerships to emerge in the 80’s. In 1986 they won the BRIT Award for ‘Best British Newcomer’.

More international chart success followed, notably King Of Wishful Thinking, the opening song in hit box-office film Pretty Woman – the soundtrack sold a staggering 10 million copies. Both King Of Wishful Thinking and subsequent hit Faithful, from the Indian Summer album received ASCAP and BMI Awards for record-breaking record sales and radio plays.

Six albums and 20 million sales later, Go West are stronger than ever, entertaining audiences at huge festivals worldwide.

Nik Kershaw

UK legend Nik Kershaw heads to New Zealand for only the second time since his 1985 tour – when he skyrocketed to fames with chart-topping album The Riddle and performing on Live Aid to a worldwide audience of billions, as well as sold out NZ shows.

Get ready to experience Nik Kershaw and band performing his classics like Wouldn't It Be Good, The Riddle, Human Racing, Wide Boy and I Won't Let The Sun Go Down On Me.

Nik is also a sought-after producer and songwriter – he wrote the UK number 1 The One And Only for Chesney Hawkes, which often appears in Nik’s own set-list.

Elton John has called Nik Kershaw “one of the best songwriters of a generation”, and we’re privileged to have Nik in our Sounds Series lineup.

The Mockers

Kiwi hit-makers The Mockers reform their classic line-up to proudly perform their pop gems like Forever Tuesday Morning, Swear It’s True, One Black Friday, My Girl Thinks She’s Cleopatra, Shield Yourself, and many more.

In celebration of 40 years since Forever Tuesday Morning – reuniting are Andrew Fagan, Brett Adams, plus Geoff Hayden travelling from London, and Australian-based Tim Wedde. 

The Mockers enjoyed three Top 10 albums and six hit singles, and played to huge crowds across the country throughout the 1980s, riding a wave of New Wave pop success.They disbanded in the late 80s, but in 2017 returned better than ever to charm old fans and win over many new ones, with a NZ tour and a live album and DVD, which returned them to the charts for the first time in 30 years.

Choirboys

Charismatic Australian rockers Choirboys are ready to turn it up and rock out with enthusiastic Kiwi fans at the Sounds Series.

Look forward to all the Choirboys hits like Run to Paradise, Boys Will Be Boys, and Struggle Town. 30 years on they are still rocking, performing, and entertaining thousands.  The Choirboys are one of the classic Australian rock bands to emerge from the 1980s, singer Mark Gable and the boys have gone out to record more than 10 acclaimed albums. Their sound is an ever evolving transition, never forgetting their rock n roll roots – the formative years playing around home base – Sydney’s Northern Beaches.

Automatic 80s

Automatic 80s is a world class group of musicians featuring the astonishing sound alike vocals and high energy stage antics of front man. The Show features the very best of early to mid-Eighties New Romantic and New Wave hits, performed live, loud and pumping. The hundreds of hours of pre-production, musicianship and attention to vocal detail create an authentic live Eighties Music experience that leaves enthralled audiences exhausted and voiceless from dancing and singing.

Blam Blam Blam

Born out of a band called Whizz Kids, Blam Blam Blam had their roots at Westlake Boys High on Auckland’s North Shore. Tim Mahon and Mark Bell migrated across the bridge during the punk heyday in 1978 to join the avant-punk-theatre act The Plague, whose major claim to fame came with their naked live performance (albeit covered in paint) at the 1979 Nambassa Rock Festival in front of 30,000 confused hippies.

Mark, Tim and Ian Gilroy were the "band" in the Plague (and kept their clothes on) and soon spun off as Whizz Kids, releasing half a single Occupational Hazard for Ripper in 1980. Fame called and Ian Gilroy left to join The Swingers in Melbourne, leaving Tim and Mark to find a drummer. As luck would have it the guys stumbled (literally) across multi-talented musician Don McGlashan in late 1980 and played their first gig in October that
year on a harbour cruise party. An invitation to record for Propeller Records followed shortly after and the first release was the track Motivation on the Class of 81 compilation of new bands in March 1981.

The first Propeller Blam's record was a four track EP, called simply Blam Blam Blam, a month later which was, on the first few promo copies, notable for its screened cover (the released copies were printed facsimiles of that) to the surprise of many unaware of the building buzz around the trio, charted almost immediately and sat in the top forty for several months. It peaked at No.13.

In July 1981, the Blam's released their soon-to-be unofficial national anthem, There is No Depression in New Zealand which appeared at the same time that New Zealand was rocked by the nationwide anti-Springbok tour protests and riots. The song became linked with the protests and was sung up and down the country. It peaked at No.11 in August. The same month the Blams were one third of the now legendary Screaming Blam-matic Roadshow.

December saw the release of Don't Fight it Marsha, Don McGlashan's drum machine anchored bittersweet love song with a political twist, it becoming another top 20 hit. In early 1982 Blam Blam Blam started recording their debut album, and for a short while were a four piece with vocalist Dick Driver joining then leaving. The album Luxury Length was finally released in July 1982, to rave reviews, reaching number four in early August. A month later, during the album tour, the band suffered a near-tragic van crash with Tim Mahon suffering serious injuries.

The crash effectively meant the end of the band, although they reformed briefly in 1984 to record the live Blam Blam Blam Story, and once again in 2003-5 for a series of one off gigs and a well-received tour with The Newmatics and The Chills. They also reformed in August for a sold out tour around New Zealand including a spot on The Others Way Festival.

In retrospect, Blam Blam Blam were one of the most important New Zealand bands of the early eighties, easily the most musically literate, hugely influential and one whose legacy goes far beyond their small number of releases.

Jordan Luck Band

‘Legend’ is a word suffering from chronic overuse syndrome these days, but when it comes to Jordan Luck, the word regains it’s full meaning and one the NZ public associates with this
true blue Kiwi icon.

This affection is obviously felt amongst his musical peers as well who bestowed Jordan the honour of Inaugural Inductee into the New Zealand Rock n Roll Hall Of Fame and in 2015 The NZ Music Legacy Award.

As frontman and pop-writing genius with the legendary Exponents, he clocked up a
staggering 18 Top 40 singles over the years, with ‘Victoria’ recently voted by the public as the 8th greatest New Zealand song of all time.

These days on any given weekend you will hear packed stadiums of sports fans singing in unison (if not in-tune) ‘Why Does Love Do This To Me?’ a song that seems to have taken on the mantle as the ‘unofficial’ alternative NZ national anthem.

THE JORDAN LUCK BAND is the new super deluxe Frankenstein incarnation backing the iconic kiwi singer these days.
Every gig, the band play the best of all those iconic Exponents tracks we know and love as well as a collection of the bands favourite Kiwi classics.

Meticulously designed by Jordan himself from the ground up, this band has just the one purpose…to bring Jordan’s blend of pop rock genius from the past, present and future… back to the masses!

Hand-picked from a wish-list of players Jordan wanted to work with, the word went out, his fantasy starting line up were contacted and unsurprisingly they all signed up…so, starting from the stage right part of the paddock…

Bryan Bell – ex-frontman of the much loved Dead Flowers, Beaver – rocknroll royalty and drummer of the world famous D4, Rich Mixture – God of all things musical, formerly graced the stages of D4, Dead Flowers and many more, Joe Walsh – frontman of Auckland rocker’s
Ekko Park.

The Jordan Luck Band released the acclaimed; ‘Not Only….But Also’ album in 2016 and were
nominated for Best Rock Album at the 2016 NZ Music Awards.”

Ardijah

If ‘Time makes a Wine’, then the essence of one of Aotearoa’s finest blends is in our very own Ardijah. Home-grown in the humble soils of Otara, South Auckland. Their exclusive flavour would meet the needs of those looking for a freshness, enveloped in the original fusions of yesterday brought into today; “rootsy groove”, as founder and producer Ryan Monga so aptly puts it, and later to become known as POLYFONK! 

With the urge to cut their own tracks at the forefront of their ambitions, it would only take until the end of the 90’s decade for Ardijah to go from local, to national icons, as well as having four of their very own singles place in the Top Ten of the NZ charts 

Like all premium blends, developing over time, the band’s members would evolve into Ardijah today. Original main-stayers, Betty-Anne and Ryan “Captain Fonk” team with, Rico Tali (guitars, saxaphone, vocals), Kaitapu Monga (bass, drums, and vocals) recent millenials, Kolo Hansen (keyboards) and Jesse Monga (vocals & percussion). Collectively providing a stunning combination of vocals and instrumental diversity that continues their historic PolyFonk sound. A sound that reawakens the palates of those who harbour that quintessential collective desire that is Aotearoa (New Zealand); to come together, to enjoy, to be culturally aware of our sameness(es) and our differences. Ardijah is the perfect accompaniment to any gathering, harnessing peace and love. 

DEFINING MOMENTS Most Promising Group, NZ Music Awards – (1987) Female Vocalist of the Year, NZ Music Awards – (2000) Album of the Year, Pacific Music Awards – (2005) ‘Lifetime Achievement Award’, Pacific Music Awards – (2010) Industry Award, Waiata Maori Awards – (2012) 

Supports for: George Benson / Mick Jagger / Simply Red / James Brown / Jimmy Cliff 2015….. National Festivals – Ragga Muffin, One Love, Festival of Lights, Waitangi Day, Auckland festival…. International Festivals – Tahiti, Rarotonga, Florida, Arizona, Samoa, Australia, Capetown South Africa 

ARDIJAH PLAYERZ Ryan Cpt Fonk / Drums, Bass, Vocals, MD Betty-Anne / Vocals, Uke, Percussion Kaitapu Monga / Bass, Drums, Vocals Rico Tali / Gat, Sax, Uke, Vocals Kolo Hansen / Keyboards Jesse Monga / Vocals, Percussion 

Rietta Austin

Rietta is one of BBC’s “Strictly Come Dancing” vocalists, touring arenas and performing on “Strictly Come Dancing” live shows. Rietta starred in a worldwide released, UK Channel 5 Freddy Mercury biopic, “Who Wants To Live Forever”, and was selected to perform for legendary band Queen at the 2015 Artists & Managers lifetime achievement awards for Jim Beach, the band’s manager. 

With a 5-octave range, Rietta was the first artist to open the O2 Arena in London prior to Bon Jovi. Rietta has recently signed a UK record deal with “Strictly Come Dancing” & “Dancing With The Stars Australia & NZ” judge Craig Revel Horwood, for a duets album to be released this year. 

Rietta has appeared on a posthumously released album by Falco, which charted at No. 1 in Austria and No. 8 in Germany. Her song writing involvement in that project led to a UK publishing deal which further led to recording with Oscar nominee Elizabeth McGovern (Downton Abbey) on her debut album and with Dame Shirley Bassey live at Glastonbury Festival and on “Get The Party Started”, the title track for the Warner Bros. feature film Cats & Dogs 2. Rietta has also featured on an international compilation album, alongside legendary artists Luther Vandross, Marvin Gaye, Gladys Knight, Maxwell, Dionne Warwick and Earth Wind And Fire. Other recordings include Bonnie Tyler, INXS and Sam Smith. In the UK, Rietta appeared as support artist for Bryan Adams & Jocelyn Brown and on tour in Russia for Johnny Gill and Joe Cocker. She has also worked in New York City for Grammy Award winner Kirk Yano.