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: Gladstone Tavern, Durham Arms Hotel, DB Gladstone, The Christchurch Club, The Devonshire Arms, The Glad
Location: 328 Durham Street, Central Christchurch
Current Status: Demolished in 2005, replaced by commercial buildings
Active as a live music venue: 1971 – 1990
Bar Manager: –
The Gladstone has the doubtful distinction of being the last hotel in Christchurch to host a post mortem. The examination was carried out in July of 1901 by a Dr. William Diamond, who told the coroner that there was extreme difficulty working in such cramped and unsuitable quarters as those provided by a hotel and he sincerely hoped that something would be done about it soon. His wish was granted, for on that very day the eminent architect Mr. S Hurst-Seager, designer of the new morgue, had handed the keys to the completed building to the City Council.
– Stephen Symons’ ‘The Watering Holes’
1856: First Meeting of the Christchurch Club in the original building on the corner of Durham and Peterborough Streets’, Owned by George Woodman. The 1st Liquor in Christchurch is acquired a couple months later.
1862: The Christchurch Club moves to Latimer Square, the original building becomes the Devonshire Arms
1875: Christchurch Hotels are forced to accept cadavers prior to burial.
1876: Original building is replaced with a new larger, 2-Story Hotel under John Barrett’s ownership and christened the Gladstone Hotel.
1901: Christchurch’s last autopsy performed at a public house is done at the Gladstone, just days before the City morgue is opened.
1970: The Gladstone is purchased by DB Breweries.
1971: Under Gary Lings’ proprietorship the Gladstone becomes a popular live music venue.
1985: A proposed development on the site fails to eventuated when funding falls through, accommodation is closed and the Hotel becomes Gladstone Tavern.
Also known as: Provincial Hotel, Provincial Larder
Current Status: Demolished
Active as a live music venue: – 2009?
Bar Manager: Mike Bare (Late 1990’s – Early 2000’s)
The Provincial Lounge was a traditional Kiwi Tavern with a long history:
The licence for the hotel was granted to Robert Wagner on 1 May 1865. During the earlier years there were two licences, one for the hotel and another – a wine and beer licence – for an eating-house known as the Provincial Larder. The licensee from 1898 was D. Edmonds. This building was condemned by the Licensing Committee in 1902 and rebuilt.
Michael Bare was a notable publican who ran the Provincial Hotel with his partner during the late 1990’s till the early 2000’s. They brought live music back to the old tavern, fitting out the left pub with a decent stage and a sizable PA that belonged to regular Chris ‘The Hippy’, even bringing their own tap beer (‘Bare Beer’, with a shot of Mike’s bare ass on the label).
During this period the left-side of the Hotel was known as the Provincial Lounge and drew large crowds for regular Thursday Night ‘Lounge Night’ events hosted by appropriately decked out DJ’s Bella Caramella and Miss Lilly, plus emphasized the show-casing of up-and-coming under ground Christchurch acts.
The Provincial was a hot ticket during the late 1990’s heyday – from complete unknown local acts right through to legendary Flying Nun bands such as Bailter Space and The Clean crammed in huge sweaty crowds. Bare would eventually go on to manage The Jetset Lounge.
I have a handful of particularly fond memories of the Provincial:
The Clean’s return to Christchurch in 2000, with the crowd hanging out the windows and crammed in to every available space – I was pressed hard up against Robert Scott’s keyboard, with Chris Knox to my immediate right.
The loudest show I have ever attended was at The Provincial. Thanks to a combination of Into the Void (drummer Mark Whyte playing ‘The loudest drum-kit in existence’), the mammoth PA stacks and Marcus Winstanley on the sound-desk. Marcus had been up all night mixing a rave so he was fairly hard of hearing already – when Whyte’s double-kick kicked in during set opener ‘Motorbike’ I could feel the beater pounding away directly on my ear-drums – they didn’t stop ringing for 3 days!
I was a regular at the Thursday night ‘Lounge’ nights – in fact although the venue closed for several years after Bare moved on to the Jetset Lounge, my named remained within the building, on the top of the Limbo competitors board! Decked to the nines in gaudy retro clothing, I’d dance through the night with a whole swag of regulars every week.
1865: Original Hotel acquired liquor license, trading on the corner of Cashel and Barbadoes 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: Metro Cinemas
Location: 103-5 Worcester Street, Central Christchurch
Current Status: Demolished post-earthquake
Active as a live music venue: 2002 – 2006
Capacity: Around 300?
Excellent multi-use space established by the Therapeutic Arts Trust in 2000 – Ciaran Fox was originally involved before Adam Hayward joined the board in 2001 and took over directorship in 2002.
The entire compound was composed of a few parts which served quite a few purposes:
The main brick-lined hall-space, which retained the projection screen behind the stage – formerly the Metro Cinema. Run by Marcus Winstanley until 2005, with Joseph Veale taking over until Creation closed in 2006.
A foyer used as an office, ticket sales and retail gallery run by Cas Simonsen. The first floor functioned as a shop housing retailers like Kate Wyrd’s Wyrd Clothing store, and the top floor was a drop in and artist studio.
A separate building down-stairs was a concrete bunker used as a band practice space, Project Legit’s graffiti workshop (managed by Miriama McDonald from 2004 – 2006) and at one stage a small gallery .
From the very beginning Creation was an All-Ages friendly venue, hosting early shows for Out of Kilter and show-casing many of Christchurch’s up-and-coming bands.
Though they did have a small bar for limited alcohol sales, the venue existed on government funding – housing the Artist Wage (until the Ministry of Social Development was disbanded in 2006), and as such was opened up for a wide variety of creative exploits. From live music and movie screenings (often with the Canterbury Film Society) to dance, art, and graffiti.
Creation’s main venue was previously the cinema itself, and as such had a large screen behind the stage. The stage itself was massive – one of the biggest in Christchurch, with the PA system well to the sides and fold-back speakers lining the front.
The space was flanked with long curtains covering a brick interior and there was a sound-desk around 2/3rd’s of the way back from the stage. The venue usually had excellent sound – no surprise considering that over the course of the venues lifetime Joseph Veale and Marcus Winstanley (both excellent local sound guys) were the in-house managers.
Creation hosted a whole swag of live shows with varying degrees of success. I saw touring bands play to an empty hall (excellent Napier/Hamilton pop-hardcore group Amy Racecar and spazzy Auckland group Body Corporate), local groups absolutely pack the place out (Christchurch’s own spazz kings Leper Ballet), even a handful of international performers (The Mountain Goats, Lou Barlow, Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy) with thoroughly mixed audiences.
One of my proudest moments was a show I put together at Creation back in 2004 – I’d become friends with Mary-Rose and Brian Crook of The Renderers and managed to persuade them to put on a show along with The Terminals – who Brian was still playing guitar for at the time.
Though I figured this was a momentous show, things took on an even greater magnitude when I got a call a couple days before the show – Hamish Kilgour had heard about the show and politely asked if he could join the bill! Absolutely stunned me – plus it was a terrific gig.
Unfortunately Creation followed a similar pattern to most venues that are dependent on NZ funding – with the disbanding of the Ministry of Social Development in 2006, Creation struggled to maintain financial viability. Only half a decade after it was opened by Prime Minister Helen Clark, Christchurch’s best multi-faceted community space now had to close.
Thankfully Creation signaled the beginning of a new era in Christchurch live venues – paving the way for many subsequent venues and promoters (such as All-Ages group Red Panda) to get moving with their own shows.
1986: The Metro Cinemas opens at 103 Worcester Street – one of 3 cinema’s within the same stretch of Worcester Street (along with the Mayfair and the Little Odeon).
2002: Creation opens as a shared-used performance space, though the screen remains. The Christchurch Film Society continues to show films here.
2006: Creation closes due to a lack of continued funding.
2010 / 2011: Damaged in the Canterbury Earthquakes, eventually demolished to make way for a car park.
Current Status: Demolished post-earthquake, currently a bare site with a memorial
Active as a live music venue: 1916 – 2010
Bar Manager: –
Capacity: 300 (circa 2010)
Fantastic old Theatre in the heart of Lyttelton’s London Street that stood for 83 years prior to the Earthquakes of 2011.
The Harbour Light Theatre was thought to have been designed by J.S. and M. J. Guthrie and purpose-built as a picture house and theatre for the Lyttelton Picture Company. It could seat 550 people in both stalls and circle. The front of the building was two storeys high, with a mezzanine floor, and two decorative brick towers topped with spherical domes on either side. The entry was framed by large Tuscan columns, with quoin stones on the corners of the building. The material of the building was mostly brick with a stucco finish on the facade painted white in the “California style”. The entrance featured an art nouveau style etching of a pattern above the verandah roof.
At first the theatre management had concentrated on screening of films three times during the week. Then in 1920 they decided to extend the back of the theatre building and erect a stage with up-to-date fittings and lighting effects. The first performance on the new stage in December 1920 was delivered by the first “big-town” company to appear in Lyttelton, and apparently lived up to all expectations.
Over the course of it’s long history the building had been used as a theater, a cinema, a social gathering hot-spot, a nightclub and as a particularly special concert and performance venue.
Having the stage meant that the Harbour Light could be used for fund-raising and benefit concerts, public talks and other social occasions, not just to screen films. Attractions presented on the new stage included illusionists and hypnotists, even vaudeville from the “Jolly John Larkin Happy Folks Company”.
From 1992 onward groups would utilize the large stage and ample setting for music performances, prior to the 2010/2011 Earthquakes which ravaged Lyttelton, I saw enchanting performances from Pine and The Renderers in this wonderful old theater – it was a sad day when it was finally pulled down.
1917: 24 London street is opened as a movie cinema and theater
1983: Peter Harris purchases the dilapidated venue, building a squash court in the rear of the venue.
1988: New owner Tom Jones converts the building into a nightclub and performance theater, becoming a licensed entertainment venue by 1992.
2010: Damaged and eventually demolished in the Canterbury Earthquakes
Lower Hutt death-metal / grind-core with a handful of self-produced recordings and some international support slots under their belt since forming in the late 1990’s (after a myriad of lineup changes).
The group released the track ‘Bone Collector’ on the absolutely bonkers ‘Stop the Bypass’ compilation of random Wellington acts – a fundraiser aiming trying to prevent a highway bypass that was constructed through Te Aro Valley in Wellington in 2005.
The group would continue through the 00’s, producing a fairly large catalog of self-released albums and EP’s (including a split release well-known Auckland act Malevolence) – despite having trouble holding on to bass players.
Tragically, 35-yr old vocalist Matthew Hall died in January 2011 as a result of a ferocious attack while in bed at his Johnsonville flat – the victim of multiple stab wounds.
Things took a dramatic turn during the investigation of Hall’s murder – Petone man Timothy Parlane (a former bassist with another Metal Group – Wellington Thrash group Bulletbelt) supposedly confessed to Halls murder, but was subsequently hit and killed by a train mere hours after talking to investigators of the Hall case.
THE STORY SO FAR
February 2011: Matthew Hall is found stabbed to death in his bed in Johnsonville, Wellington.
March 2011: Lower Hutt man Timothy Parlane is interviewed by police in connection with Mr Hall’s death and released soon after. Hours later he is hit by a train. An IPCA investigation is started.
April 2011: The Dominion Post reveals Mr Parlane confessed to a woman he was dating that he had murdered Mr Hall.
August 2012: The IPCA investigation into police conduct before Mr Parlane’s death is completed, but it decides not to publish its findings.
December 2012: The police file is passed on to the Wellington coroner.
Christchurch-based pop-group, The Insurgents were the darlings of the all-ages scene courtesy of their involvement with Will Edmonds’ Out of Kilter. The original line-up of Young, Coffey and Ellis displayed a strong Brit-pop influence on Chris Young’s songs, whilst Mike Ellis added an element of US Indie-Pop to proceedings.
Ellis and Young have tremendous chemistry together, shaping their songs with perfect harmonies and huge hooks, whilst Coffey keeps things nice and tight.
The band spent a year on hiatus courtesy of guitarist/vocalist Chris Young’s other pop-tastic band Neil Robinson winning the Smoke-Free Rock-Quest in 2006, and eventually succumbed to the big OE, with all 4 members leaving Christchurch for an overseas experience.
Along the way the group recorded an EP with Jo Veale, added Will Edmonds on guitar and recorded what was essentially a post-breakup album for Rob Mayes Failsafe Records.
This release eventually saw them frequent New Zealand television with their song ‘Rather Be Dead’ in adverts for Canterbury University.
With the albums release the group hastily shot and released a handful of music video’s with director Peter Bannan, each filmed as largely continuous shots at the groups established suburban Sockburn House-Party flat with a huge number of Friends and fans.
Chris Young (Guitar/Vocals, 2004 – 2009)
David Coffey (Drums, 2004 – 2009)
Mike Ellis (Bass/Keyboards/Vocals, 2004 – 2009)
Will Edmonds (Guitar/Vocals/Keyboards/Bass, 2007 – 2008)
Current Status: Demolished post-earthquake, replaced by commerical buildings
Active as a live music venue: 2005 – 2011
The Penthouse (sometimes just referred to as ‘Level 5’) was a venue name given to the 5th floor of Unlimited Paenga Tawhiti School in Central Christchurch, above the old Hallensteins building in Cashel Plaza.
The school was originally used as a venue for All-Age shows promoted by Unlimited Paenga student Jeremy Barribeau, and was quickly established as a suitable spot for shows for AA community group Red Panda, plus several others associated the school such as Will Edmonds‘ Out of Kilter and a series of Raves organized by teacher and DJ Brent Silby.
We started with a couple gigs called Citizen Jam. The Glasson family owned it and leased it to the school – so getting permission for an alternate usage was not the easiest. Lots of planning with the fire department and security/risk analysis plans – Rose Jenson Banner helped a lot with that stuff.
– Jeremy Barribeau
Funding initially came from the city counsel and school board in the form of seed capital to start a radio station (Metropolis Radio) with the intent of fostering a local all ages community. (Early headliner) The Shocking Pinks charged what we all thought at the time was an exorbitant NZ$1000 to play haha!
– Jeremy Barribeau
I organized several alcohol-free raves up there under the Audiodreams brand. We called the venue “Level 5” for our raves.
Audiodreams was a company started by myself with some students. White Elephant helped with supervision and marketing of the raves.
– Brent Silby
Every show had a strictly no-alcohol policy and security was provided at the ground floor.
The floor was a large, open plan space, and Red Panda shows utilized a decent PA (provided by the White Elephant parent group), plus the schools facilities such as a film projection screen.
Red Panda had connections to A Low Hum and as such a handful of A Low Hum’s touring parties put on AA shows at the venue – the highlights including So So Modern‘s show in September 2006 with Australian act Alps, popular Christchurch electro-pop duo Frase+Bri and youthful indie-pop trio Black Market Art.
Another fun event put on by the group was the Red Panda Prom, held at the Penthouse in both 2008 and 2009. I had the pleasure of playing in a couple bands (including a ‘super-group’ made up just for the event) and dressing up for the occasion.
Last AA show we did was the weekend before the quakes with Parking Lot Experiments in the basement of Unlimited (under the Crossing). I remember it vividly – was 48 hours before the Feb shake. Last normal weekend in old Chch. It was a WE show I think as RP was officially wound up into WE and I was working at WE. A local AA band supported (Die Robotor).
– Netta Egoz (Red Panda / White Elephant)
The venue was in heavy use right up until the 2011 Earthquake – in fact AudioDreams had a rave planned for March 2011 that was cancelled due to the February Quakes:
However the Earthquakes unfortunately brought a particularly active period in Christchurch All-Age shows to a close, with the Hallensteins building eventually demolished and the school moved.
2005: Students from Unlimited Paenga Tawhiti move into the Northern Tower – i.e. the Hallensteins building, after 2 years in the smaller Southern Star Building. In June the first Citizen Jam gig is held.
2010: Building is damaged in September earthquakes, however it remains open until February 2011 Earthquakes.
2011: US group Parking Lot Experiments are the last headline act to play with a show in the basement, an AudioDreams rave planned for March is cancelled after the Canterbury Earthquakes of 2011 close the venue for good.
Born Celia Patel (and at one stage known as Celia Pavlova), Celia Mancini was a smart, creative, talented and volatile musician. A born front-woman and general icon within the music community, who was never afraid to speak her mind, and unfortunately passed away at a far too young age.
Patel was born in Auckland but her musical history started in Christchurch, playing in a number of bands in the mid to late 1980’s, as well as managing seminal Christchurch sonic explorers Into the Void.
She was the original front-woman for legendary scuzzy lo-fi group The Axel Grinders (and writing their most excellent single ‘Apparatus of Love’ – Rita Le Quesne replaced her on the recording), fronted the fantastic all-girl group The Stepford 5, and kept things mellow in the lounge group The After Dinner Mints with Bill Vosburgh (formerly of Perfect Strangers).
By 1992 Celia had met Chris Heazlewood and Pat Faigan (aka Duane Zarakov) up in Auckland – kicking off the next phase with what must be her most well known group; New Zealand’s boundary-pushing surf-kings King Loser. For a period the duo also pulled double duty in Peter Gutteridge’s wonderful Snapper.
The group were relentless prolific in the early years – recording their practices to ghetto-blasters / walkman’s and expanding their overseas connections with a handful of 7″ releases plus the original King Loser LP – ‘Super Sonic Hi-Fi’. The album caught the attention of Flying Nun – however Celia noted they never considered themselves a Flying Nun group, and at times conflicted with individuals within the label as it reached its commercial apex in the late 1990’s.
Celia released a solitary 7″ under her own name in 1996, and by late 1997 King Loser were no more. However she did resurface (at least temporarily) in the hard-rocking Auckland group Mother Trucker, plus created a handful of online videos under the moniker ‘Slightly Delic’, including documenting the bFM music awards, where she stormed the stage after failing to be nominated for the ‘Foxiest Chick’ award…
As the 90’s became the 2000’s, Celia disappeared from view. It wasn’t until April 2015 before she was back in the public eye – with a video performance of a reunited King Loser at Audio Foundation in Auckland. Celia sports casts on both arms, but the group rip through the classic ‘Morning Dew’ like they’d never been away.
Further live performance and a short tour followed in 2016, with director Andrew Moore releasing a promo video for a promising upcoming documentary on the band, which seems to shed a lot of insights in to what was going on with Celia (and the other King Loser members) at the time.
Celia passed away in September 2017, the news sent shock-waves through the online community. She was a bright spark and will be greatly missed.
Located upstairs on the corner of Lichfield and Colombo Streets (though the address is Colombo Street, the entrance was actually on Lichfield) and ran by the Yee family for a few years in the mid 90’s.
..Open around mid ’93. Owned by the Yee Family. Had bands and then even had happy hardcore/trance parties! Daega Bar was downstairs to the left of the main entrance. Got demoed and replaced with the Contemporary Lounge part of Ballantynes.
-Tim Baird (Pinacolada Records)
Quadrophenia had three rooms joined by arches, one with no windows in the centre had a stage at one end, with a big painting on the wall behind it. At the other end of that space was the mixing desk.
Through the archway in one direction took you into the bar, which was a slightly bigger room than the band room, and adjacent to that was the pool table room, bar and pool room both overlooked Colombo st and the bar end also looked out over the corner of Lichfield/Colombo.
Most memorable night there was with Snort and Squirm and Apes, had it pretty full, best show I ever saw there was Shaft, on their ‘The Hots’ tour, come to think of it also saw a great gig there by Blunt ( I think that was their name…Palmy travelers…turned into Flamin Werepigs…) Bill Fosburg played some amazing shows during this era, unfortunately very few were recorded or filmed.
– Martin Henderson
Posters from the era show that it was a very regular venue with shows 4 nights a week and close ties to both then-student radio station RDU and local skate and clothing outlet Cheap Skates.
Particularly notable are posters from Ape Management‘s Rock Hardman, showing a very dynamic comic style which would also feature on Ape Management (and other Homebacon groups) art work over the coming years, along with further posters at the likes of Warners and His Lordships.
1993?: Quadrophenia opens as a venue hosting bands up to 4 nights a week
1996?: Quadrophenia closes, replaced by Daegar Bar?
2011: Building is heavily damaged and eventually demolished after the Canterbury Earthquakes, replaced by what is now part of Ballantynes.