Jacob Richardson | 2/11/2020

The most compelling documentary about a band you’ve never heard of. 


SIX60: Till The Lights Go Out follows the journey of New Zealand band SIX60. Relatively unknown internationally, SIX60 are a phenomenon in New Zealand, with often the top five songs  in the charts all being SIX60 songs. The documentary explores their backgrounds, the origin of the name, and the challenges and tribulations the band has experienced in recent years. It explores tensions between band members, and their feelings on the pursuit of greatness. 


Directed by Julia Parnell, the film is a well crafted and interesting look at the band. Interestingly, this documentary tackles a band that is definitely in their prime, as opposed to a more historical look. One of the benefits of this is that the documentary can capture a lot of film-specific content with modern day cameras, and that means that the visuals of the big concert, the drone footage of New Zealand, and the interviews are all stunning and beautiful. 


The documentary reveals a lot of intriguing elements to the band. There’s a tragic incident with a balcony collapse that injured a fan, a strong connection to New Zealand’s most notorious gang, and a persistent trend of sporting greatness. The film also explores the factitious relationship with some of the band members, and the tumultuous experience the band has had in pursuing an international career. 


The film smartly threads the band’s music and the incredible performance at Western Springs  through the piece, weaving an inspiring tapestry. The movie does have its issues though. Sometimes included B-Roll or interview elements feel somewhat conceited, or staged. Sometimes they feel like elements that are cliche, that the producers looked at and thought “well this looks like a documentary”. It’s times like these when you can see the seams of this piece, and as for any good documentary that is something you don’t want. 


An interesting documentary that will introduce you to a New Zealand ban you’ve never heard of.