Rockstar Clothing

Location: 299 Selwyn Street, Spreydon

Current Status: Demolished post-earthquake

Active as a live music venue: 2000’s

Bar Manager: Andrew ‘Ox’ O’Connell

Capacity: About 20

All-Ages: Yes

Notorious local rock’n’roll vocalist and Downhill Mountain Bike clothing entrepreneur Andrew ‘Ox’ O’Connell ran a small clothing retail shop on Selwyn Street in Spreydon before the Earthquakes claimed it in February 2011.

Hi-Tone Destroyers at Rockstar Clothing

As the long-standing vocalist of Palace of Wisdom, Ox utilized the shop as both a practice and occasional performance space for the group, along with several other groups that fit in with his specific aesthetic.

Over the years that meant Rockstar Clothing hosted impromptu shows by Palace of Wisdom, The Hi-Tone Destroyers, The Transistors, the Stefan Van Soest Hit-Machine and  several others.

Stefan Van Soest Hit-Machine at Rockstar Clothing

Additionally, back in 2001 Ox released a compilation of rock’n’roll groups on his own Rockstar imprint (he also ran ‘Gone Magazine’ an online rock’roll publication), accurately entitled ‘No Thanks To New Zealand On Air‘ as a dig at the local New Zealand Creative grant system.

History

  • 2001: Rockstar release ‘No Thanks to New Zealand on Air
  • 2011: Rockstar Clothing is damaged in Canterbury Earthquakes, Ox is forced to move out

Contact Details

Links

Lumière Theatre

NOTE: This post probably contains quite a few errors and an inaccurate timeline – there is very little info online about old Christchurch venues, so I welcome all corrections and additions!

Also known as: Midday Theatre, Alska Theatre

Location: Westpac Lane, 147 Hereford Street, Central Christchurch

Current Status: Demolished post-earthquake

Active as a live music venue: 1997 – 2000

Bar Manager: Nick Paris

 

Capacity: 300?

All-Ages: Yes

Wonderful quirky cinema theatre resurrected by Christchurch Film Society boffin Nick Paris in 1998, after years of neglect. Originally the Mid-city Theatre and one of many cinemas that were dotted around the Christchurch Square until major movie complexes started to dominate in the early 90’s.

Under Paris’ management, movies were often accompanied by either live musical performances (i.e. the largely dialog-free Baraka and Microcosmos), or were given opening-night parties with live bands performing in the foyer.

Hi-Tone Destroyers at Lumiere Theatre

On some occasions the entire venue was put aside for live performances – of particular note was Stereolab’s sole Christchurch show in 1998, supported by local group Hawaii Five-O.

The quirky nature of the theatre was exemplified by it’s inclusion in the Christchurch editions of Ant Timpsons’ Incredibly Strange Film Festival, run ably by local nutball’s Steve Austin and Nick White.

After the Lumiere closed down around 2000 it was converted in to an English language school, before being damaged and eventually demolished after the Canterbury Earthquakes. The site is currently part of a new hotel development.

History

  • 1982: Mid-City Theatre Opens with a seated capacity of 408.
  • 1996: Theatre renamed the Alska, with a reduced seated capacity of 317.
  • 1998: Nick Paris takes over the venue, renaming it the Lumiere and refurbishing the interior in a quirky style. Live music performances become a part of the new venue.
  • 2000: The Lumiere closes down and is replaced by an English language school.
  • 2011: Damaged and eventually demolished after the Canterbury Earthquakes.

Contact Details

Links

Otautahi Social Centre

NOTE: This post probably contains quite a few errors and an inaccurate timeline – there is very little info online about old Christchurch venues, so I welcome all corrections and additions!

Also known as: Kreation Art House, Kreation Milk Bar

Location: 206 Barbadoes Street, Central Christchurch

Current Status: In Repair

Active as a live music venue: 2007 – 2010 (Otautahi Social Centre), 2011-2012 (Kreation Milk Bar)

Bar Manager: –

Bookings:

Website:

Capacity: 200?

All-Ages: Yes

The Otautahi Social Centre was a mid-sized old hall on Barbadoes Street in Central Christchurch which ran for a couple of years as an All-Ages-Friendly live music venue.

Being an unlicensed youth centre, there was no bar or much in the way of formal organisation, just a space set up with a small PA system, a few couches and a small kitchen and toilets out back. On occasion some kids would bring alcohol to shows (it was even openly endorsed at some punk gigs), but generally things got along in a friendly, community-orientated kind of way.

Youth events group Red Panda utilized the centre for a couple of their events, including an excellent ‘secret show’ by Die! Die! Die! and a tea party event involving Auckland trio Bear Cat which involved baked goods and a sit-down hoedown!

Die! Die! Die!’s secret show

Aside from Red Panda the centre was mostly utilized by local punk groups, putting on some pretty anarchic and (most importantly) fun events. The space was used for more than just gigs too – in fact for a period the upstairs level was used as sleeping quarters!

Otautahi Social Centre went through a few changes before and after the Canterbury Earthquake, shutting up shop before coming back again (for a short time at least) as Kreation Art House / Kreation Milk Bar, however as of August 2017 the building is currently going through a major repair job, as it was actually quite damaged in the 2011 Earthquakes.

History

  • 2007: Starts hosting live music as Otautahi Social Centre at 206 Barbadoes Street.
  • 2011: Canterbury Earthquakes damage building, however it is still in use for some time after under the new name Kreation Milk Bar
  • 2017: 206 Barbadoes Street going through extensive rebuild.

Contact Details

Links

Mollett Street

NOTE: This post probably contains quite a few errors and an inaccurate timeline – there is very little info online about old Christchurch venues, so I welcome all corrections and additions!

Also Known As: Club de Rox

Location: Mollet Street, Central Christchurch

Current Status: Demolished

Active as a live music venue: 1977 – 1978

Bar Manager: Al Park

Capacity: –

All-Ages: Yes

Mollett Street was an informal performance space above the Longhorn Leather shop on Mollett Street, just off Colombo Street in Central Christchurch. It was particularly notable as the first punk-friendly venue in Christchurch, however by all reports Mollett Street had a communal party vibe, doubled as a market, and managed to bring together the long-hairs, the freaks and the punks of all varieties – pretty much all-comers.

After school, Scott and I regularly hung out at the record counter of the University Bookshop, which was run by Tony Peake, an Aussie, a few years our senior. One afternoon Tony told us of a new club that had just opened in the city in a lane way off Colombo St. It wasn’t really a club at all, more like a few rooms above a leather shop with a homemade stage and a single toilet, which rarely flushed.

– Mark Brooks of Johnny Velox and the Vauxhalls, from AudioCulture’s ‘Mollett Street Madness

Christchurch music legend Al Park is always tied to the history of Mollett Street – he was responsible for booking bands (and named it ‘Club de Rox‘, though that never seemed to catch on), plus his early group Vapor and the Trails were regulars through-out the two year lifespan (1977 – 1978) of the venue.

Mollett Street Bands – Appendix from Wade Churton’s ‘Glam, Punk and Scorched Earth Policy’

Christchurch’s original British-style punks The Doomed were one group that made their mark at Mollett Street – garage rock historian Andrew Schmidt (of Mysterex Fanzine fame) detailed the venue with some rather stellar photos of the group performing in July 1978 – Johnny Abort’s (aka Dick Driver) wild afro haircut standing out in every shot – TVNZ’s ‘Eyewitness Punk‘ piece from 1978 captured the performance, along with some typically bristly punk attitude from Driver disparaging Auckland Punks as ‘plastic’.

I can remember goin there on a Sunday evening with the Clean and the Enemy to see the Basket Cases….i dont remember there being anymore than about 5 people there. And here was a band playing live some of the music we all loved. A song off the Pretty Things LP Parachute, Velvets etc etc!…The only other memory is when Jane walked off stage Chris jumped on her. Everyone hit it off! I dont remember playing there. I remember playing Foresters Hall (?) and breaking a string, which I had never done before. I thought to myself “what the fuck do I do now”?, when Al Park jumped on stage with a string and re strung it the gat while it was round me neck. …what a guy!….anyway the Mollet ST meeting was quite something, little did we all know what was coming!

– David Kilgour

Wade Churton detailed the groups that played the venue, with Vapor and the Trails, Sugar Cane, Blueprint, Doomed, Soundchaser, Vandals, Janice Gray, Johnny Velox and the Vauxhalls and the Basket Cases making the most appearances – though it’s also notable for touring groups such as The Enemy (twice), Scavengers, an early performance from The Clean, Citizen Band and Bamboo coming from out of town.

The Sunday night bill on a typical night might feature Al’s group Vapour and The Trails, a folk singer, a prog rock group and us playing our own two minute songs and a few sped up Who covers. This attracted a pretty diverse crowd of hippies, students and a few punk rockers eager for some Sunday night entertainment, as nothing else was open. There would always be a queue around the corner and up Colombo Street clutching the obligatory two dollar cover charge.

– Mark Brooks

After the venue closed, legendary Christchurch film-maker (and drummer for the Axemen) Stu Page shared the space with photographer Peter Towers for a period in the early 1980’s.

Though the building was heavily damaged in the February 2011 earthquakes, with Christchurch’s South Frame redevelopment progressing in 2017, it appears new life may finally be brought back to Mollett Street with Otakaro opening the space as an ‘inner city oasis’, framed by the newly developed Justice Precinct.

History

  • 14th August 1977: ‘Club de Rox’ Opening show with 2 movies, a play and performances from Sugar Cane and Vapor and the Trails.
  • Late 1978: Closes as a performance space.

Links

Goodbye Blue Monday

Also Known As: Ya-Ya House of Excellent Teas

Location: 138 Lichfield Street, Poplar Lanes, Central Christchurch

Current Status: Demolished

Active as a live music venue: 2006 – 2011

Bar Manager: Johnny Moore (2008 – 2011)

Capacity: 100

Ya-Ya was a popular, mellow place to hang-out. Though it only ran for a couple years in Poplar lanes, it managed to house at least one Craftwerk – a super-fun regular event show-casing live bands along with hand-made crafts, along with live shows by the Ragamuffin Children and Black Market Art‘s most excellent album release party. However the spot didn’t really hit its stride as a venue until Johnny Moore took over and relaunched it as Goodbye Blue Monday (or GBM for short).

How to describe Goodbye Blue Monday?

It was a super-fun place to hang out in Central Christchurch, a very informal bar with excellent outdoor lounging couches, well-priced drinks, friendly bar staff and well selected live performers.

Dylan DJing at GBM

And it was named after a Kurt Vonnegut novel. Oh and there was artwork done by local legend Tony Delatour.

Shows at GBM were mostly free and attracted huge, bustling crowds that hung around well in to the night – quite often as an after-party venue. On both occasions that the Buzzcocks played the nearby Bedford, it was GBM where Pete Shelley, Steve Diggle and a great chunk of their audience found themselves after the show.

Eamonn and the GBM Bar

The bar was divided in to two parts – the inside venue had hard wood floors, a bar that stretched the length of the room and a small corner stage propped up against the windows which allowed those seated in the casual outdoor area (which was under cover and well sheltered, with gas heaters and ample room) a good view of what was going on inside. On occasion DJ’s would spin records for the outdoor crowd, however inside was firmly reserved for dancing!

The Klap play to a packed crowd at GBM

A favorite hang-out for a fairly youthful crowd prior to the devastating February 2011 earthquake. It was a great relief when bar manager Johnny Moore opened his post-Earthquake venue, Smash Palace – capturing a great deal of the spirit of the original.

Of course a venue can’t be as fun and as popular as GBM and not attract a bit of the wrong crowd too. Over the 3 year run there definitely seemed to be an increase in jock types frequenting, however it never got confrontational – GBM had excellent door staff who ran a pretty tight ship.

History

  • 2006: Poplar Lanes is redeveloped with several bars and restaurants opening, including Ya-Ya House of Excellent Teas at 138 Lichfield Street.
  • 2008: Ya-Ya closes and is taken over by Johnny Moore – re-launched as Goodbye Blue Monday
  • 2011: Heavily damaged in 2011 Earthquakes, eventually demolished.

Contact Details

Links

Metropolis

NOTE: This post probably contains quite a few errors and an inaccurate timeline – there is very little info online about old Christchurch venues, so I welcome all corrections and additions!

Also known as: The Green Room, Hofbrauhaus Restaurant, Honeypot Pizza Bar

Location: 112a Lichfield Street, Central Christchurch – Above the Honeypot Cafe

Current Status: Demolished post-earthquake

Active as a live music venue: Early 90’s (Metropolis), 1997 – 2000 (The Green Room)

Capacity: 50?

Though I have no experience of 112a Lichfield Street when it was in its prime as a venue – i.e. when known as Metropolis – I did see a couple shows upstairs from the Honeypot Cafe when the venue was known as the Green Room.

112 Lichfield Street from Kete Christchurch

In fact my debut as a performer was here in 1998, playing Bass guitar in Mysterioball – a grotty punk band that at that stage was just a duo (along with guitarist/vocalist Kyle Denovan). We had been invited to perform by our pals the Davidson Collective, in a show that was part of Christchurch Art Week – somehow we came on after a stage-play!

The Green Room (and presumably both Hofbrauhaus and Metropolis before it) was a tiny upstairs Cafe/Bar, with a small area in the corner allocated for performers. Eventually the Cafe would become the Honeypot Pizza Bar before being claimed by the Canterbury Earthquakes of 2010/2011.

The live music performance that sticks out in my memory was that of Nick Hodgson (later Harte) in his pre-Shocking Pinks group The Incisions, absolutely TEARING THE ROOF off the place by double-amp’ing his guitar in such a tiny space. Needless to say The Green Room had noise complaint before the first song had even ended, presumably from the Honeypot downstairs.

History

  • ?: Hofbrauhaus Bar
  • ?: Metropolis
  • 1997: Venue becomes The Green Room.
  • 2000: The Green Room shuts, becomes Honeypot Pizza Bar / Hofbrauhaus Restaurant.
  • 2010: Building damaged and eventually demolished after the Canterbury earthquakes.

Links

Ministry Nightclub

NOTE: This post probably contains quite a few errors and an inaccurate timeline – there is very little info online about old Christchurch venues, so I welcome all corrections and additions!

Also known as: Propaganda, G.A.Y., Smile Bar, Cruz Nightclub (?)

Location: 88-90 Lichfield Street, Central Christchurch

Current Status: Demolished post-earthquake, site now part of the Christchurch Bus Exchange.

Active as a live music venue: 1992 – 2011

Bar Manager: Bruce Williamson

Bookings: Old Bookings Email

Website: http://ministry.co.nz/

Capacity: 800 / 180 / 100

All-Ages: No

Large 3-room warehouse-style nightclub on Lichfield Street – a big part of the local dance music scene until the Christchurch Earthquakes of 2010 and 2011. The building was acquired by the City council and incorporated into the new Bus Exchange.

The Ministry

Opened by Bruce Williamson and named after the UK’s Ministry of Sound, the Ministry Nightclub (plus the additional spaces – which seemed to have changed names several times of the years) were a HUGE part of both Christchurch Dance Music and Gay scenes for over 20 years, before falling victim to the Canterbury Earthquakes in 2011.

Roni Size performing at Ministry 2006, photo by Matt Peterson

I saw just a handful of shows at Ministry so my memory is not particularly clear – I do however remember the cavernous industrial interior and the stifling heat on a busy night.

The most notable shows I witnessed would have to be British Sound-system group Rockers Hi-Fi in 1999 during their ‘Overproof‘ tour, plus turntablists like (member of the legendary X-Ecutioners) Rob Swift, and Canadian whiz-kid A-Trak.

History

  • 1875: Original Building built on Lichfield site
  • 1992: Ministry Nightclub opens at 88-90 Lichfield Street
  • 2011: Damaged and eventually demolished after the Canterbury Earthquakes

Contact Details

Links

Space Academy

Also known as: Kadett Cafe, Doki Hair Salon

Location: 371 St Asaph Street, Central Christchurch

Current Status: Running!

Active as a live music venue: 2015 –

Bar Manager: Richard Sewell and Hamish Campbell

Bookings: spaceacademychch@gmail.com

Website: http://spaceacademy.ac.nz/

Capacity: –

All-Ages: Yes

Multi-use space on St Asaph Street, opposite the established Darkroom bar. With Doki Hair Saloon at the front, and running during the day as Kadett Cafe, Space Academy is a lively, spacious live music venue and bar from 4pm – 11pm every Tuesday till Saturday.

Every Tuesday through Saturday Mirabell and Gareth run the Cafe during the day before Richard and Hamish run the bar from 4pm, with Miki running the saloon at the front from 11am till 7pm.

Space Academy doesn’t just host live music though – a variety of performances plus movies and other events have taken place in the main venue, making use of the permanent PA system, bright decor and comfortable seating. Closing at just 11pm – forcing efficient running schedules, the venue harks back to the old days of the Dux de Lux.

Shows at Space Academy are easy to organize and run with minimal fuss – a straight forward two speaker PA with a control desk location fairly close to the performing area allows easy setup, the foyer area at the front of the venue is ideal for setting up a cover charge and merch area, and the bar staff are very warm and accommodating.

History

  • 2015: Space Academy / Kadett Cafe Opens in a former warehouse at 371 St Asaph Street
  • 2016: Doki Hair Saloon is added to the venue

Contact Details

 

Links

Fuse Youth Cafe

Location: 25 Wakefield Ave, Sumner

Current Status: Running!

Active as a live music venue: 2001 –

Bookings: Email Fuse

Website: Fuse Website

Capacity: Around 80?

Fuse Youth Cafe is Christian-focused Youth Centre in Sumner that regularly hosts events for teens and even pre-teen kids. As one of a dwindling supply of all-age friendly venues in Christchurch, over the years it has hosted a number of general admission events with a broad appeal – without any Christian focus.

The Tiger Tones at Fuse

Events I’ve seen at Fuse include early shows by Black Market Art, Jimmy Zoom and the Beytown GriftersThe Tiger Tones,  Bang! Bang! Eche!, and Not So Experimental, plus US duo The Evens – i.e. the current group of Fugazi-frontman Ian McKaye.

The Evens at Fuse Poster

History

The Fuse Youth Centre was started in 2001 by the Shoreline Youth Trust and has developed into a vibrant, multi-faceted space that exists to work with local youth to provide programmes, events and services for the young people of our community.

-Fuse Website

Contact Details

Links

Venus Cafe

Location: 76 Lichfield Street, Central Christchurch

Current Status: Demolished post-earthquake, replaced by bus exchange

Active as a live music venue: 1990’s – 2000’s ?

Bar Manager: –

Capacity: Around 60?

All-Ages: Yes

When Cafe Culture exploded in Christchurch in the mid 1990’s, I was a student at Christchurch Polytechnic, surviving on a $14 a week student allowance (and living at home). Due to my modest means I marveled at how people could spend what seemed like a fortune on fancy new coffee’s and cafe food.

However, Venus Cafe was the kind of place where you’d see students hanging out all day nursing an extra-large hot chocolate – getting their full moneys worth. The place was one of a few in the central city (most notably Java Coffee House) that had a hippie vibe, and was often involved in the promotion and support of local raves and dance parties.

The Cafe itself was up a handful of steps in an old building on Lichfield Street, above the Lick er Lounge (later to become Carbon) and next to the notorious upstairs Danz Nightclub. Long and narrow, and quite dark at the back – more than a few live shows were put on within the Cafe itself (noted on the Barnard’s Star poster below as taking place in ‘The Pluto Room’), though the capacity can’t have been more than 60 or so people – usually sitting on the floor.

The shows I remember attending were:

Barnard’s Star bringing out their debut EP supported by Le Mot Cafe (making their debut) – Helen spent the show sprawled out on the floor playing bass, whilst every Le Mot Cafe song went along the lines of “This song is… how do you say? An instrumental! It has no words…” – funny stuff from a bunch of the Puffins (who were my favorite band at the time).

Poster for Venus Cafe show with Le Mot Cafe, from http://flamingrednz.blogspot.co.nz/

Early shows by The Dialtones – this local group had a whole swag of great songs, but it took the best part of a decade before Fleur De Lis saw fit to record and release them.

Lastly, the mighty rock’n’roll experience that was The Black Panthers – who were obviously far too loud to play in a cafe. Singer and guitarist Matt Alien spent a period of the show jumped up on tables, whilst their bass player Vaughn had his usual cadre of groupies throwing Marmite-stained women’s underpants at him…

First there was The Vic, then there was Caffiends, then there was Java, then there was Venus. Was that a Helm Ruifrok mural? I remember lots of James Robinson’s paintings. I remember hearing Ornette Coleman there, In All Languages for the first time and remembering it from the John Zorn versions on Spy vs Spy. I remember seeing the James Last Appreciation squad blow up Here Comes Jack Thompson’s amps there, before it was even dark outside, before we even to a chance to play. I remember seeing Kaylo walk past in the Winter sun with a freshly shaved head. I remember regrouping there with the Spook billstickers crew. I don’t remember the coffee. I do remember the muffins.

  • Jason Tamihana-Bryce

The Cafe can’t have last too long as there are scant all details at all about it on the web, though I have heard about further shows such as Auckland punk group Sommerset some time in winter 1998, kRkRkRk recordings ‘foremost avant-garde collaborative project’ DiS towards the end of 1999, plus Rhian Sheehan, Jolyon Mullholland, as well as Matt Bullimore and Dave Murphy’s group SeaWorld.

 

History

Contact Details

Links