Darkroom’s 1st Birthday

Brown Leaves
Brown Leaves

The dynamic duo of T’Nealle Joie (Bang! Bang! Eche!) and Jasper Bryant-Greene (who ran the Gold Sounds record label, releasing T54’s first recordings) saw a hole in the Christchurch Music and entertainment market after the earthquakes of February 2011. With virtually no live music venues in the city and very little night-life to speak of, the pair leased ‘The Archive’, a multi-use venue on St Asaph Street, initially with a warehouse all-ages event that featured the Transistors, Bang! Bang! Eche! and Valdera. After a refit the Archive would go on to encompass the venerable Galaxy Records, a studio for the RDU radio station, the art space Room 4, and perhaps most importantly, the Darkroom.

Transistors
Transistors

Back in October 2011 the new bar opened with the experimental sounds of US sound artist C Spencer Yeh and a very special sell out show from Christchurch’s own Bachelorette. Over the course of the last year the venue has not only grown in reputation as Christchurch’s finest local venue for independent music, but also in stature, with additional seating area, a huge array of drinks and an ever-increasing clientele. Saturday marked the Darkroom’s 1st birthday, and as a tribute to the early history of the venue, the same key groups were present to celebrate.

Brown Leaves are a rebirth of prior group Valdera, featuring the same duo of James Musgrave (guitar, vocals and pedals) and Matt Scobie (drums), though in a punkier, more straight-forward style. These days Musgrave seems more comfortable as a front-man and the duo ripped through a short set of sharp, jagged rock numbers with gusto.

Bang! Bang! Eche!
Bang! Bang! Eche!

Speaking of gusto – the Transistors have recently returned from the United States, touring alongside Japanese Rock n Roll icons Guitar Wolf. Lead singer James Harding was a live-wire, bouncing around the stage but still hitting ever mark in their blistering, non-stop show. The trio showed the well-honed chops of a group that’s spent months on the road together, not stopping for a breath during their opening handful of songs.

Lastly Bang! Bang! Eche! took to the stage, building up the tempo of their performance as the night came to a close. With Joie and Charlie Ryder exchanging bass, guitar and keyboard parts, vocalist Zach Doney triggering electronic effects and climbing around the audience, and drummer James Sullivan as energetic as ever behind the kit – it’s hard not to have fun at a Bang! Bang! Eche! show. What a great way to cap a terrific 1s year as a venue.

You can see more photos from this show here.

Sherpa w/ Bang! Bang! Eche!, Dance Asthmatics and Zen Mantra

Tam November of Zen Mantra
Tam November of Zen Mantra
Smashing line-up friday at Dux Live, with a great mix of young, up-and-coming groups from Christchurch, with poppy Auckland group Sherpa headlining.

Youngest of all would be opening trio Zen Mantra. Fronted by the barely 17 year old Sam Perry, Zen Mantra take on a psychedelic approach to clean and concise indie-pop. With swirling guitar, bass and rolling drums their songs are warm, fuzzy and comforting and are simply drenched in melody. A young group absolutely absolutely overflowing with potential.

Dance Asthmatics make for quite a contrast. Brian Feary (drums), Joe Sampson (guitar) and Ben Odering (bass) create a tight, flowing and often groove filled backing with more than a little krautrock style rhythm – but frontman Stephen Nouwens can steer the group in any number of directions. He can take a plaintive but acerbic and poetic approach to singing (like a young Mark E Smith of the Fall), and then the next minute rip into an aggressive rant, gasping for breath between each delivered sentence. Always exciting and always a lot of fun.

T'Nealle Worsely  of Bang! Bang! Eche!
T’Nealle Worsely of Bang! Bang! Eche!
Despite lacking practice since previous shows, Bang! Bang! Eche! lived up to their reputation as one of Christchurch’s finest and slickest live acts – with the best reception of all the groups on the night. Particularly on form was bassist T’Nealle Worsely, though the group lock together like a syncopated, pulsing singularity.

Out-of-towners Sherpa have been making quite a reputation for themselves up in Auckland – their album Lesser Flamingo and stunning new video Turtles are unabashed slices of pure New Zealand power-pop. Gleeful and with great dollops of catchy guitar and keyboards. Frontman Earl Ho is a colourful character – leading the group through a sharp set of songs at blistering pace. A lovely way to end the evening.

See more photos here.

[Published in the Christchurch Press 27/07/2012]

Spring Break, Bang! Bang! Eche! and Tommy Ill

Spring Break
Spring Break

Phenomenal show at Dux Live. Check out all of my photos here:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/fraew/sets/72157629697885704/

Bang! Bang! Eche!
Bang! Bang! Eche!
Tommy Ill
Tommy Ill

Sleepy Age

Disco-pop indie-rock tunes from Christchurch’s own Josh Burgess (Guitar/Synth and Vocals, ex Bang! Bang! Eche!) with Josh Black (Bass, ex A Flight to Blackout), Julian Vares (Drums, Magic Eye) and more recently Charlie Ryder (Keyboards, Bang! Bang! Eche!).

The group formed in 2009, initially as a more straight-forward indie-rock group with Hayden Williams (drums, also ex A Flight to Blackout) and Will Edmonds (guitar, ex Insurgents) who contributed greatly to their original sound; with the group even going on to win the annual RDU ‘Round-up’ band competition at the Dux de Lux.

In 2010 and 2011 the group went through several line-up and style changes; played a low-key European tour and then released the excellent pop video ‘Décor’, which solidified their new direction.

Discography (picks in bold)

  • Self-Titled EP [September 2010 self-released]
  • Décor Single [June 2011 self-released]

See-Also

Thunderdome: Familia Moja Fundraiser

Transistors
Transistors

Cracking fundraising event for Fionn and Netta’s trip to Kenya last night. They put together 10 of the best young acts in Christchurch to raise a little dosh to help with the construction of an orphanage.

With Sleepy Age, Transistors and Bang! Bang! Eche! all playing a whole swag of new material it seemed like a real milestone event, putting the last year behind us.

Great to see the younger kids getting into the show too, I’m just sad I missed the opening few acts – I still haven’t managed to catch the much-vaunted Psych Tigers, instead arriving at the beginning of St Eden’s mellow electronic set, followed by similarly laid back sets from the thoroughly slick Coate, and a lovely droney set from Valdera.

Planet of the Tapes
Planet of the Tapes

From there things picked up a notch with Transistors kicking ass and taking names, Planet of the Tapes just going out of this world (and encouraging the crowd on stage to surf along), Sleepy Age bringing the Disco vibes and falsetta vocals, and Bang! Bang! Eche! playing their hand as the manic closers.

Sleepy Age
Sleepy Age

Click here for the rest of my photos from this excellent event.

The Archive: Grand Opening

Bang! Bang! Eche! at the Archive
Bang! Bang! Eche! at the Archive

The Archive is a new soon-to-be-bar and performance space setup up by T’Nealle Worsley (Bang! Bang! Eche!) and Jasper Bryant-Greene on st Asaph Street – a welcome site in post-quake Christchurch.
The Archive Grand Opening
The Archive Grand Opening

Although they haven’t got a license yet, friday night they put together a brilliant all-ages opening party featuring Valdera, the Transistors and Bang! Bang! Eche! which had the whole places pumping and the kids climbing the walls – check out some of the photos I managed to snap during this cracker of a show, and look out for future events at the Archive.
The Transistors at the Archive
The Transistors at the Archive

There will in fact be a pop-up shop opening within the spot at the start of June:
The Archive: Pop Up Store
The Archive: Pop Up Store

Red Panda Prom

This was a rather mammoth event organized at Unlimited Paenga (High School) by the good folk at Red Panda. With Bang! Bang! Eche! bringing down the house after performances from youngins’ Sand Fly Bay, the ever poppy Jimmy Zoom and the Beytown Grifters, and a hastily arranged ‘Red Panda Prom Band’ that i must admit i was a member of. There’s a TON of photos from this event; i’m listing a bunch of the candid and band photos that Fran and I both took, plus there’ll be a series of ‘Prom Photos’ the very talented Nick Robinson setup very soon.

Click here for the Photoset.

Red Panda: Thought Creature, Thrill Collins, Bang! Bang! Eche!

Red Panda All-Ages show with debutantes Thrill Collins and the ever-thrilling Bang! Bang! Eche! Another cool show at White Elephants headquarters.

Click here for the photoset.

Pop Hits City

Eclectic pop-rock 5-piece based in the Garden City of Christchurch. Formed as a group of friends by former Bang! Bang! Eche! vocalist Ross Heath (keys/vox), the group was fronted by the OLovelys Laura-Lee Watson (vox/synth), with Will MacFarlane (guitar/bass – Shocking Pinks / Overdrive) and Chris Andrews (bass/keys – Palace of Wisdom / Leper Ballet).

Originally backed by Insurgents front-man Chris Young on the kit – but due to other heavy commitments Young fell away; the group initially continuing with drum-machine backing, before Shocking Pinks‘ Nick Harte stepped in. Harte relocated to Auckland in early 2008, and MacFarlane’s former Overdrive band-mate Tim Woods quickly fell into place.

In mid-2008 the group quickly assembled a selection of songs which Andrews recorded in his own home environment – the group intends to release these songs before Watson departs for Europe with her group the OLovelys.

Discography (picks in bold)

  • Five Foxes EP [2008 self-released]

See-Also

Neil Robinson Leaving Party!

Christchurch-based former Rockquest winners and all-round fun-time band Neil Robinson play their last show with the departure of frontman Chris Young for England. Supported by Bang! Bang! Eche! at a well-known Sockburn flat, this was a damn epic (and messy) party.

Click here for the photoset.