The gays and theys come out in force to support touring international pop acts, so why doesn’t Jason Parker see our communities at Kiwi music gigs?
It’s 6 pm on a Wednesday in Auckland City. I run home from my 9 to 5 to throw on some sequins and knock back a glass of red. My boyfriend offers to clasp my pearls while I zip up my boots. I’m rushing; we might be late for the opening act of (insert NZ artist name) at (insert Auckland music venue). Live music is my happy place; honestly, I’m obsessed.
Since moving to Auckland 6 months ago to live the Popstar fantasy, I’ve been lucky enough to watch gigs 2 or 3 nights a week. I must say this right now, Aotearoa’s music is the best in the world. We are genre-bending, lyric-loving passionate performers. I feel blessed to be here witnessing musical magic. My passion for this scene makes me wish more people were here; mostly, I wish more of my girlies were here.
It’s common knowledge queer people love music. We all have our favourite diva who we stan unwaveringly; we stay out till 2 am to scream for the Kings and Queens of K-Road while they lipsync the house down (be sure to catch my personal fave Pinkie Promise when you’re out next). And it’s oh-so correct of us to hold a golden ticket to Dua Lipa. However, I have noticed a lack of queer people in the audiences of local music acts at smaller venues. Where are the queers? Do queer people not connect with homegrown acts? Do we not feel comfortable in these venues? I don’t know the answers, but I do know there is a disconnect.
I recently went out to party with Tove Lo at the Power Station in September; the show was gay-Heaven. It was heaving with queer bodies, all sweating and yassing and pashing. She flashed her nipples while we snapped our fingers; it was a perfect night. I’m hungry for more nights like this.
Of course, I’m not saying that no queer people are going to Whammy or Cassette 9 on a weeknight. I’m sure if I erected a pride flag by the bar and waited, we would roll call around it. But are we the invisible audience? We live in a country praised globally for being forward-thinking and tolerant, with progressive views on queer rights; it seems bizarre that so few of my community feel the urge or confidence to get out and support local live music.
I love New Zealand music, and I’m proud to be a queer artist in Auckland’s vibrant music scene. So I have hope that one day soon, there will be a swarm of LGBTQIA+ people rushing around their homes with a glass of wine in hand, excited to go out and experience what Aotearoa has to offer at Galatos or The Wine Cellar on a Wednesday night. I promise you it’s gorgeous. So come party, see you there.
ABOUT JASON PARKER:
Virgo Sun with a Popstar rising, Auckland-based artist Jason Parker is here, queer and confident this is his year – and he’d be right. His music’s been spinning on the radio, featured in the NZ Music Charts, dazzled on TV and now he’s releasing his debut EP: How To Be Lonely (out today). This five-track delight showcases Jason’s unique ability to meld catchy pop hooks with real emotion, only enhanced by his one-of-a-kind vocals. He is also one half of popular pop culture podcast Kick Ons Pod. You can discover more of Jason at jasonparker.co.nz
Photos | Louis John Hill