Hey it’s almost time for the very last Camp A Low Hum, but if yer missing out on going this year you’d be pleased to know both Christchurch and NZ in general get a whole bunch of cool bands on the bill playing side-shows up and down the country.
Kicking off in the next couple of weeks there’s Anthonie Tonnin (aka Tono of The Finanace Company fame) with the super sweet Shenandoah Davis (from the States) playing shows at the Hilltop Tavern tonight (Thursday, Jan 30th), the Wunderbar tomorrow (Friday, January 31st) and the darkroom on Wednesday (Feb 5th), whew!
For the electronically-inclined, Ninjatune whizz Daedelus is playing Dux Live on Wednesday (Feb 5th) too – so how’s that!
Last but not least, punky dudes Bare Grillz – a fantastic trio of upstanding gents from the sprawling urban metropolis of Newcastle, Australia are back after lighting up Camp a couple years back. I LOVE these guys, and can’t wait for their Wednesday (Feb 12th) show at Darkroom with similarly fantastic Auckland indie-rock duo Carb on Carb, and local math-rock-y good tunes lads Coate, and hardcore-y cool rock tracks with shouting kids Winter.
Japanese noise legend Merzbow, comes to Christchurch.
Opening with an excellent set from Stanier Black-Five (check out her new inner-city listening-post / wine-bar venue The Auricle) producing out-there sounds with a heavy locomotive motif, and US-born Rotorua act Acclimate, who’s approach was more beat orientated and featured some pretty out-there video accompaniment.
Merzbow himself created a cacophony of noise at his requisite thunderous volume utilizing all analogue electronics, custom built for his specific requirements including an electric pseudo-banjo looking device crafted from what looks like a pot and springs.
So next Thursday (November 21st) is quickly creeping up, and that means Japanese extreme noise LEGEND Merzbow will soon be in town, playing Dux Live (of all places!) with Lyttelton’s Stanier Black-Five and Rotorua’s Acclimate. Here’s what Audio Foundation have to say:
One of the most extreme and uncompromising musicians of the 21st Century is coming to New Zealand this November – playing all major centres!!! Worshipped internationally for his brutal, speaker destroying sonic assault, underground Japanese industrial noise musician Merzbow (Masami Akita) is a true legend for both his relentless solo releases since 1980 (via Tzadik, Digital Hardcore, Extreme, Relapse and his own ZSF Product) and his crucial collaborations with heavy-hitters Boris, Genesis P-Orridge (Psychic TV), Eye (Boredoms) and more! DON’T MISS OUT on this pivotal tour by the definitive dark master of Japanese noise – presented by Altmusic. Bring earplugs, this show will be LOUD!
Delving deep into otherworldly extremes of industrial, metal machine noise and beyond, Merzbow’s blistering output runs the gauntlet of his definitive brand of Japanese noise – from charred & blackened subterranean lows to interstellar cosmic highs. Punishing, remorseless frequencies pour forth in a relentless onslaught of pure sound, decomposing electronic textures devolve into tsunamis of brutal guitar wreckage. Impossible to pin down due to his uncomprehendingly vast ouvre, simultaneously contemplative & aggressive, Merzbow’s sound is way beyond music, it simply IS.
“Think of those artists who overpowered the grind of their eras: Bach, Wagner, Miles Davis, The Beatles – all of these people were consistently displaced of their time by the striking originality of their work… there is a case for including Masami Akita (Merzbow) in such a group.” – Pitchfork
“Everyone should own at least one Merzbow record.” – Tiny Mix Tapes
“Though the work is largely atonal and non-harmonic, it is bursting with timbre and texture and vibrancy” – The New Yorker
Special thanks to Asia New Zealand Foundation for their support of this tour.
Presale tickets available via Undertheradar – http://www.undertheradar.co.nz/
With Opposite Sex and Ipswich at Dux Live. Saturday July 28th 2012.
It’s no secret that Die! Die! Die! are one of my favourite New Zealand bands. Since the group first morphed from the ashes of Smokefree Rockquest champions Carriage H (initially taking the name Rawer), the formative duo of Andrew Wilson (Guitar and Vocals) and Michael Prain (Drums) have been pushed the boundaries and expectations of what a New Zealand group can be. Now supplemented with former Mint Chick Michael Logie on bass guitar (replacing the departed Lachlan Anderson) the group are now very influential in their own right.
You can see an element of Die! Die! Die!’s fury and passion in opening act Ipswich. The trio have made great strides in the last year establishing themselves throughout New Zealand. Ipswich have releases coming out on excellent Auckland-based independent label Muzai Records and recently won the coveted RDU ‘Round-Up’ band competition – a testament to their power in a live setting. Their songs are built on jagged guitar riffs and overdriven bass, invoking the likes of the Skeptics, the Gordons and other Flying Nun era groups.
Dunedin group Opposite Sex made for an intriguing contrast. With their North Island based guitarist Fergus Taylor sitting out these South Island shows, the duo of Lucy Hunter (Bass and Vocals) and Tim Player (Drums and Vocals) varied between primal drumming and sing-shout songs and melodic, whispered numbers built on Hunter’s extraordinary virtuoso approach to bass guitar. I saw elements of old-school Welsh post-punk group Young Marble Giants in their songs, very cool.
You can tell Die! Die! Die! are a very special group – as soon as the boys hit the stage the audience surged forward, hanging on every word from frontman Andrew Wilson and thrusting back and forth to the military rhythm of exception drummer Michael Prain. Starting their set with a handful of older songs before gradually introducing their new material the trio never relented in intensity. Michael Logie showed he’s no slouch on bass, adding huge crunchy, fuzzy riffs to Prain’s powerful beats and allowing Wilson to freely roam around the stage and into the crowd, leading the audience in anthemic chants ‘A.T.T.I.T.U.D’ and ‘How Ye’. The new album Harmony shows the groups continued evolution and refinement – truly one of New Zealand’s finest bands.
Ok, a couple of big shows at Dux Live this weekend; firstly Goodshirt returned after what seems like a decade, playing material from their to-be-released comeback EP plus a string of their catchy earlier singles.
Sleepy Age we’re just phenomenal in support, playing in a new line-up with three (sassy) backup singers. Check out the photos here.
The 2nd show was saturdays final of the RDU 2012 Round-Up band competition, won by the talented up-n-coming lads Ipswich.
Only got the chance to see Ipswich, but they were a lot of fun, with the crowd moshing around to ‘Alien vs. Sexual Predator’. Choice. Photos here.
The evening began with the debut Christchurch performance of Flying Sorcerers – a Wellington-based trio of displaced Christchurch-natives, augmented by local musician extraordinaire Simon Nunn.
Playing a brand of country-inflected Indie-Rock, they rushed through a swag of brief, catchy numbers at lightening speed.
Formed by Hit-Machine members William Daymond and Paul Glub and with Margaret Gordon on drums, the 4-piece created a great rapport with the audience.
Ed Muzik (and his ‘Burning Sensations’) have a habit of polarizing his audiences. With lyrics heavy on sarcastic witticisms and a level of irony in his music, he’s found it hard to gather a strong following over the past few years and not without trying.
This would be his last performance (at least, with the current backing band), and so he attempted to pull out all the stops.
Unfortunately his rather skillful bassist and drummer were drowned out behind his own electronic rhythms, and I felt the duet performance of a certain Ace of Base hit single (with Icelandic-born vocalist Hera) fell a little flat.
Steffan van Soest’s eponymous group are more of a semi-regular event than an actual gigging band these days.
With only the front-man and drummer ‘Heavy-Metal’ Simon McKenzie usually available for local shows the group tends to play when their various out-of-town members are around. With Nunn, Glubb and Daymond well warmed up from their opening slot, the 5-piece hammered out a loud and brash set, lacking a bit of finesse but certainly high on fun – a cornerstone of most Hit-Machine shows.
I started the evening checking out the newly opened and somewhat controversial ‘Smash Palace’ bar on the corner of Victoria and Bealey Avenue. Run by Johnny Moore (former proprietor of the red-zoned ‘Goodbye Blue Monday’), Smash Palace is an outdoor bar with a focus on the social environment. Those familiar with Moore’s previous bars will feel right at home at Smash Palace, with plenty of seating and a good selection of Beer and Wine.
Opening the show at Dux Live was the low-key 3-piece shoe-gaze band Miniatures. I’d recommend checking out their BandCamp recordings as they’re about to relocate to Melbourne. With shimmering, glacial guitar, simple electronic drumming, groove-heavy bass and ethereal vocals reminiscent of Scottish shoe-gaze cornerstones the Cocteau Twins – they are an immersive experience.
Dunedin 3-piece Brown took things in a more conventional direction, with poppy songs that focused on tight performances and snappy lyrics. Garnishing a good response from what was now a decent Dux Live crowd, they set the scene for Tono, who was up next.
After recently hitting the New Zealand album charts with their terrific album ‘Up here for Dancing’, Tono and the Finance Company have been on the up and up, and it’s easy to see why. With songs full of catchy melodies and deadpan lyrical platitudes, the group relive the prime pop groups of the britpop era – the influence of Morrissey is particularly prominent in the style of Tono’s vocals. With the support of a top-notch touring band behind him, Tono commands the stage with the authority of a slick professional frontman.
The night concluded with bombastic 3-piece T54 – a common site at the Dux these days, the boys have been trying out new material and of course performing with as must gusto and technical skill as any local group.
Baltimore, Maryland based electronic performance artist Dan Deacon has been touring New Zealand for the past week as a lead-up to the magnificent Camp A Low Hum festival in Wainuiomata next weekend, followed around the country by Auckland-based DIY synth-nuttos Golden-Axe.
Golden-Axehave been quite visible in past year, with their latest release ‘Liquid Bacon’ and accompanying tours up and down the country receiving praise. Monday’s performance was one of their best; the duo costumed as usual in day-glo outfits adorned with CD’s, natty wigs and surgical masks. They sounded terrific, pushing fuzzy synthesizers and distorted vocals through the Dux’s wonderful PA system to a small but intrigued crowd.Multi-Instrumentalist Deacon – who had previously enticed crowds as a solo performer in New Zealand back in 2009, is this time accompanied by an ensemble that includes two additional keyboardists and the thrilling sight of two syncopated drummers (which Deacon himself christened ‘Sushi Boy’ and ‘Pancake Boy’ during the show).
Although Deacon has spent much of the past year producing contemporary classical pieces (such as ‘Ghostbuster Cook: Origin of the Riddler’ – a piece he scored for New York quartet So Percussion), his Christchurch show displayed many of his signature traits. Electric, pulsing and dance-orientated songs, silly high-pitched vocals with addictive melodies and of course the one element that defines a Dan Deacon show – heavy audience participation.
After coercing 2nd-level crowd dwellers down to the ample ground-floor space he set about creating a dance circle to entice the revellers out of their shells. Deacon maintained this approach through-out the night, leading the crowd through dance moves and creating formations in, about and even outside the venue as his talented band flew through a driven, punch set of songs which pulled from the likes of the critically acclaimed ‘Bromst’  and ‘Spiderman of the Rings’  albums.
Deacon sets a high-water mark for performance. His infectious positive enthusiasm, catchy songs and accomplished, snappy live band really created a memorable, engaging evening – and I for one cannot wait to see his larger scale festival show. I thoroughly recommend catching one of his shows, or checking out the superb ‘Bromst’ – one of my favourite releases from the past few years.
This show seemed to be under most people’s radar, as there wasn’t much of a crowd down at Dux Live; though it was a tuesday night. After laid-back drinks and a dj spinning drum’n’bass for a while, the more recently configure Monsta Machine (a new version of the Steffan van Soest Hit-Machine with a Monster Costume wearing front-man) took the stage.
Quite a departure from the old Hit-Machine, the guys were revelling in playing monster-themed Rap-Metal; which bassist Simon Nunn described as a kind of music he always wanted to play – the Judgement Day soundtrack was bandied about.
Anyway it was all good fun – and those costumes (which front-man Grubby produced himself) are bloody brilliant.