Review: Peggy Gou, Sub Focus, Becky Hill + Wilkinson turned Golden Lights into a Berlin Rave
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Review: Peggy Gou, Sub Focus, Becky Hill + Wilkinson turned Golden Lights into a Berlin Rave

Who knew a field in West Auckland could go this hard?

By Matthew Pledger
The crowd at Auckland's Trusts Arena melted into swimming pools of bliss during Peggy Gou's exclusive performance at Golden Lights, but she was far from the only awe-inspiring act. 

As fast as that feeling of awe comes, it goes… (like na na na na).

The woman of the moment gave us 90 minutes of raving in what felt less like a field in West Auckland and more like an open air Berlin club. Peggy Gou is such a powerful presence on stage. 

Peggy Gou at Golden Lights NZ Credit: Aaron Moffitt / ADM photography

During the set, a girl next to us screamed with joy, “She feeds us!” to which her friend responded, “and we are fed!” perfectly summing up the vibe. Peggy supplied the entree, the main and the desert and all we had to do was enjoy.

DJ Mag recently listed Peggy as the number one ‘house’ DJ in the world. Peggy was also placed at 9th in DJ Mag's publicly voted ‘Top 100 DJs 2023’ - the only woman in the top 10.

The song of the (northern hemisphere) summer so far is her track ‘(It Goes Like) Nanana’. Which was met with a deafening roar, when Peggy dropped it. 

"There's a feeling we all know but is hard to describe, that feeling of love, warmth and excitement when you’re surrounded by friends and loved ones and the energy speaks for itself," Peggy has previously explained of the song's lyrics. 

"It's difficult to put into words but to me it goes 'nanana!'"

It's a song about a moment which then creates its own moments that turn to precious memories. 

As the song was finishing, Peggy spoke to the crowd for the first time:

Auckland, how you doing? This is my first time here. You guys have been so wonderful, thank you so much for your energy! Wow! I'm coming back, I'm coming back.

Her promise to return was met with a choir of thousands chanting “Peggy, Peggy, Peggy!”

As a proud Kiwi, it makes me feel stoked that Peggy Gou loved her short stop in Auckland. She shared on Instagram some photos of an adventure through the luscious Cornwall Park, which included multiple photos of sheep grazing in central Tāmaki Makaurau. 

Peggy went to Daily Bread, got coffee at Williams Eatery and then stopped for lunch in Britomart at Amano. 

However, no one was prepared for the iconic photo Peggy shared of her casually shopping for vitamins at Chemist Warehouse. Georgepittis owns the top comment on her post writing, “Peggy Gou at Chemist Warehouse wasn't the pic we wanted, but the pic we needed.” 

Peggy Gou in Auckland Peggy Gou visits Auckland's Chemist Warehouse and Cornwall Park

I'm really hoping someone from the Chemist Warehouse advertising team posts billboards all throughout NZ with the photo of Peggy Gou and the caption, “Be like Gou, and save too.” 

Day two of Golden Lights gave us Drum and Bass at its best as a bunch of stars of the scene let rip. 

Becky Hill was sensational. Her self-deprecating humour went down a treat with the NZ crowd and mixed with her powerful performance, it was a match made in heaven. 

Becky Hill at Golden Lights NZ Credit: Aaron Moffitt / ADM photography

Introducing 'Never Be Alone', which is being released later this month, Becky said, "I've been told to tell you all that we're filming it, so look like you're having a really good time even if it's shit." 

How can you not love her? 

Kiwis have raved to her anthemic hit “Afterglow” for a decade now, so hearing it live was a feeling hard to describe. 

Becky screamed, "who here is ready for the afterglow?" The response was deafening, and the performance that followed was a moment that will be talked about by dance music fans for years. 

I was one of the many who watched the clips of her New Year's Rhythm and Vines performance with awe (and bucket-loads of jealousy). I wouldn't be surprised if a few thousand people double dipped to get two doses of Becky Hill.

The day almost felt like listening to the DnB 2-Hundy live! Becky Hill featured twice in the top 5 this year with Afterglow at #4, and Disconnect at #3. 

Then the energy turned up a notch as Sub-Focus sent the crowd into a frenzy. He seems to just get better and better and better. 2023 was a massive year of milestones for Sub-Focus - he released his third solo album Evolve, which won D&B album of the year. He headlined Drumsheds - the biggest club in the world, and played the last ever drum & bass set at the iconic venue Printworks. 

At Golden Lights, we were treated to a refined set from one of the best in the world. 

Highlights include being one of the thousands belting out ‘Desire’, the impromptu live performance of Becky Hill singing ‘Disconnect’, and ‘Ready To Fly’ off his latest award winning album. 

Sub Focus and Becky Hill at Golden Lights NZ Credit: Aaron Moffitt / ADM photography

It felt almost comical that there was still more to come.

Wilkinson picked up where Sub-Focus left off, and the raving continued into the night. He was joined on stage by MC-APT, and the chemistry was undeniable. It was almost hypnotic as our bodies were commanded to move.

The directive: “I wanna see everybody jump,” was timed perfectly into the drop of Wilkinson's Tune “Wash Away”, and saw an ocean of people lift off the ground in unison. 

Celebrating Drum and Bass never felt better. 

Earlier that day, we revelled in the bass and trap of two rising stars of the scene ISOxo and Knock2, who recently played four sold out shows at the iconic Los Angeles venue Shrine. 

Local legend EMWA also played on Day two in what was a bonkers line-up. Her music has caught the attention of Alison Wonderland, who has let rip ‘Back At It’ during her sets. 

In short, Golden Lights' expansion to a two-day festival has been a roaring success. Next year let's make it three.