The Penthouse

Also known as: Unlimited Paenga Tawhiti, Level 5

Location: 135 Cashel Street, Central Christchurch

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Current Status: Demolished post-earthquake, replaced by commerical buildings

Active as a live music venue: 2005 – 2011

Capacity: 250

All-Ages: Yes

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 EdmondsOut 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

The Shocking Pinks at the 1st Citizen Jam show, June 2005

 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:

Poster for Earthquake-cancelled rave

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.

History

  • 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.

Links

Goodbye Blue Monday

Also Known As: Ya-Ya House of Excellent Teas

Location: 138 Lichfield Street, Poplar Lanes, Central Christchurch

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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

Fuse Youth Cafe

Location: 25 Wakefield Ave, Sumner

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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

The Undercurrents

Excellent Christchurch guitar band that evolved from earlier group The Centre Will Hold. From that group Jamey Holloway (Guitar / vocals), and Nathan Bycroft (Drums) were joined by Nik O’Keefe (Bass, Vocals) and Marcus Winstanley (Guitar) to form the original line-up in mid 2003. This original line-up played in a low-key manner, with just Winstanley’s guitar adding an extra layer of Shoegaze type guitar into the mix (as he had done with previous band Barnard’s Star).

Eventually Bycroft left and after a short stint by Stephen McCarthy (Pine) the ever-versatile Simon Nunn (also of the Steffan Van Soest Hit Machine, Hi-Tone Destroyers etc) filled the drummers seat more permanently, and beefed up their sound quite a lot. Michael Summerfield (Palace of Wisdom, Cowboy Machine) joined on viola, adding a level of country/folk inflection to their sound. The group managed to win the 2004 RDU Round Up band competition, released an EP with the help of Michael Brassell (aka Michael J Hex) / Arc Life Records and set up All Plastics – a small recording studio.

Simon Nunn eventually found himself committed to his regular gigs as a professional musician, so young drummer Matt Scobie (Black Market Art, T54) was brought in to replace him, and long-time bassist Nick O’Keefe also left, replaced by Vaughan Watson (Pumpkinhead, Squirm). The group has continued a low-key existence, with only a handful of shows a year and recordings few and far between.

Discography (picks in bold)

  • Undercurrents (Blue Stripes) EP [2004 Arc Life]
  • Undercurrents (Big Ears) EP [2005 All Plastics]
  • Undercurrents EP (Black Birds) [November 2006 All Plastics]
  • Heavy Sky [July 2010 All Plastics]

See-Also

T54

Rock Power-Trio from Christchurch City, announced in late 2011 as one of the revitalized Flying Nun records new signings. Led by guitar-slinger Joe Sampson, with productive drumer Matt Scobie (Undercurrents, Black Market Art, Planet of the Tapes) and bassist Sam Hood the group only formed in 2009 but quickly shot to prominence in their home-town before ‘making our way to Dunedin in July 2010 to record 6 songs in Dale Cotton’s home studio’. They’ve since released those recordings on Jasper Bryant-Green’s ‘Gold Sounds’ label, plus a 2nd EP in late 2011.

Discography (picks in bold)

  • Drone Attacks [December 2010 Gold Sounds]
  • Scammers [October 2011 Self-Released]

See-Also

Black Market Art

Biography

Fantastic youthful Christchurch pop-rock trio from the mid 2000’s.

Darian Woods channeling his inner Edgar Winter

Forming at Cashmere High School, Darian Woods, Joseph Harper and Matt Scobie were a popular band within the All-Ages and eventually the indie-rock scene within Christchurch, releasing a terrific debut album (which subsequently became their swan-song) in 2007.

Matt Scobie

Woods would go on to form Wet Wings before relocating overseas to study, Joseph Harper is a stand-up comedian and writer now living in Auckland, whilst Matt Scobie has become a big part of the Christchurch live music scene, playing in a handful of popular local bands (The Undercurrents, T54, Planet of the Tapes etc).

Joseph Harper

Members

  • Darian Woods (Guitar/Vocals)
  • Joseph Harper (Bass)
  • Matthew Scobie (Drums)

Discography

  • Kids (2007, Self-Released)

Links

 

O’Lovely

Biography

O’Lovely began as a duo (originally named The O’Lovelys) consisting of Laura Lee Watson (Synth/Vox – also of Pop Hits City) and Brooke Singer (Keys – formerly of the Ragamuffin Children and now French for Rabbits). In 2007 the pair were joined by Matt Scobie (Drums – formerly of Black Market Art and now T54 etc) and Joe Sampson (guitar – formerly of Charlie Bones, now front T54).

Sampson left the group to be replaced by Lee Devinish, but with the groups impending tour of Europe in mid-2008 (where they would be performing as a 3-piece), the line-up was then reverted back to Sampson on guitar for their final few shows. The group were the focus of a lot of attention in late 2007 and 2008, and eventually released their debut self-titled album with distribution through Global Routes.

Around this time the group fractured, with Singer leaving to pursue different avenues, and Watson establishing more authority, quickly building a new line-up. At the same time Watson had been playing in Pop Hits City with Ross Heath (formerly of Bang! Bang! Eche!), Will MacFarlane, Chris Andrews (Bass – Palace of Wisdom) and Tim Woods (Drums). The new O’Lovelys took the rhythm section of Woods and Andrews, and added Perry Mahoney (also a former Bang! Bang! Eche! member) on guitar.

This line-up recorded the ‘Lost Love’ EP with Dale Cotton in Dunedin – songs that eventually made their way onto the groups 2nd album ‘Constellation’. However by the release of the album the group had relocated to Auckland, had cycled through a small handful of supplementary bassists and had been renamed ‘O’Lovely’.

Members

  • Laura-Lee Watson (Vocals/Keyboards, 2006 -)
  • Brooke Singer (Keyboards, 2006 – 2008?)
  • Matt Scobie (Drums, 2007 – 2008)
  • Joe Sampson (Guitar, 2007 – 2008)
  • Lee Devenish (Guitar, 2008)
  • Chris Andrews (Bass, 2009)
  • Tim Woods (Drums, 2009 – )
  • Perry Mahoney (Guitar, 2009 – 2011?)

Discography

  • The O’Lovelys [2008 Self-Released]
  • Lost Love [2009 Self-Released]
  • Constellation [2011 Self-Released]

Links