Categories
Venues

Creation

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.

Exterior of Creation – from Kete Christchurch / Darren Schroeder

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.

Creation’s Tiny Bar – from Kete Christchurch / Darren Schroeder.

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.

Carpark and entrance to the Metro Cinema which became Creation, from Kete Christchurch

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.

The Renderers at Creation, 2004

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.

Hamish Kilgour at Creation, 2004

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.

History

  • 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.

Links

Categories
Venues

Provincial Lounge

Also known as: Provincial Hotel, Provincial Larder

Location:

Current Status: Demolished

Active as a live music venue: – 2009?

Bar Manager: Mike Bare (Late 1990’s – Early 2000’s)

Capacity: –

All-Ages: No

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.

Christchurch Libraries

Provincial Hotel, circa 1902 (photo from Christchurch Libraries)

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 Provincial Lounge. Photo from the Nostalgia Black Hole.

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.

History

  • 1865: Original Hotel acquired liquor license, trading on the corner of Cashel and Barbadoes Street.
  • 1902: Original building is condemned and rebuilt

Links

Categories
Venues

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, Arcadia

Location: 206 Barbadoes Street, Central Christchurch

Current Status: Operating as Arcadia

Active as a live music venue: 2007 – 2010 (Otautahi Social Centre), 2011-2012 (Kreation Milk Bar), 2017 – present (Arcadia)

Bar Manager: Matt

Bookings: arcadia206@gmail.com

Website: Arcadia.net.nz

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