Rockstar Clothing

Location: 299 Selwyn Street, Spreydon

Loading
Center map
Traffic
Bicycling
Transit

Current Status: Demolished post-earthquake

Active as a live music venue: 2000’s

Bar Manager: Andrew ‘Ox’ O’Connell

Capacity: About 20

All-Ages: Yes

Notorious local rock’n’roll vocalist and Downhill Mountain Bike clothing entrepreneur Andrew ‘Ox’ O’Connell ran a small clothing retail shop on Selwyn Street in Spreydon before the Earthquakes claimed it in February 2011.

Hi-Tone Destroyers at Rockstar Clothing

As the long-standing vocalist of Palace of Wisdom, Ox utilized the shop as both a practice and occasional performance space for the group, along with several other groups that fit in with his specific aesthetic.

Over the years that meant Rockstar Clothing hosted impromptu shows by Palace of Wisdom, The Hi-Tone Destroyers, The Transistors, the Stefan Van Soest Hit-Machine and  several others.

Stefan Van Soest Hit-Machine at Rockstar Clothing

Additionally, back in 2001 Ox released a compilation of rock’n’roll groups on his own Rockstar imprint (he also ran ‘Gone Magazine’ an online rock’roll publication), accurately entitled ‘No Thanks To New Zealand On Air‘ as a dig at the local New Zealand Creative grant system.

History

  • 2001: Rockstar release ‘No Thanks to New Zealand on Air
  • 2011: Rockstar Clothing is damaged in Canterbury Earthquakes, Ox is forced to move out

Contact Details

Links

Lumière Theatre

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: Midday Theatre, Alska Theatre

Location: Westpac Lane, 147 Hereford Street, Central Christchurch

Loading
Center map
Traffic
Bicycling
Transit

Current Status: Demolished post-earthquake

Active as a live music venue: 1997 – 2000

Bar Manager: Nick Paris

 

Capacity: 300?

All-Ages: Yes

Wonderful quirky cinema theatre resurrected by Christchurch Film Society boffin Nick Paris in 1998, after years of neglect. Originally the Mid-city Theatre and one of many cinemas that were dotted around the Christchurch Square until major movie complexes started to dominate in the early 90’s.

Under Paris’ management, movies were often accompanied by either live musical performances (i.e. the largely dialog-free Baraka and Microcosmos), or were given opening-night parties with live bands performing in the foyer.

Hi-Tone Destroyers at Lumiere Theatre

On some occasions the entire venue was put aside for live performances – of particular note was Stereolab’s sole Christchurch show in 1998, supported by local group Hawaii Five-O.

The quirky nature of the theatre was exemplified by it’s inclusion in the Christchurch editions of Ant Timpsons’ Incredibly Strange Film Festival, run ably by local nutball’s Steve Austin and Nick White.

After the Lumiere closed down around 2000 it was converted in to an English language school, before being damaged and eventually demolished after the Canterbury Earthquakes. The site is currently part of a new hotel development.

History

  • 1982: Mid-City Theatre Opens with a seated capacity of 408.
  • 1996: Theatre renamed the Alska, with a reduced seated capacity of 317.
  • 1998: Nick Paris takes over the venue, renaming it the Lumiere and refurbishing the interior in a quirky style. Live music performances become a part of the new venue.
  • 2000: The Lumiere closes down and is replaced by an English language school.
  • 2011: Damaged and eventually demolished after the Canterbury Earthquakes.

Contact Details

Links

The Palace Of Wisdom

Biography

The Palace of Wisdom originated in 1999 when well established Christchurch rock’n’roller Ben Johnstone (Guitar/Backing Vocals – Hi-Tone Destroyers, The Incisions) got together with intimidating vocalist Andrew ‘Ox’ O’Connell, adding hooky guitar riffs to O’Connell’s hurricane force vocals. The resulting recording was released as part of the No Thanks To New Zealand On Air compilation in 2000. Matt Alien (Hi-Tone Destroyers, Black Panthers, Space Dust, Slavetrader) joined on drums, with the line-up complete by English bassist Ian Lloyd.

With Lloyd’s departure in late 2000, ALC5 (yet another Hi-Tone Destroyers member) joined the group on Bass, however after a year with the group he was also replaced, this time by the legendary Mick Elborado (Scorched Earth Policy, The Terminals, Gas, The Axemen, Drowning Is Easy etc), who became a mainstay in the group and is responsible for the bands huge, over-driven bass sound on the excellent Pills EP.

The group then started to rotated through a number of drummers with Nick Harte (The Incisions, Shocking Pinks, Black Albino, CM Ensemble, The Urinators) in February 2002, Tim MacDonald (The Incisions, Shocking Pinks) in March 2003, Simon Nunn (Steffan Van Soest Hit-Machine, The Undercurrents, Kate in the Lemon Tree, Weaponized, Hi-Tone Destroyers etc) in December 2003, and then Chris Andrews (a million lights, Mysterioball, Idols of Eve, Pop Hits City, O’Lovely) in November 2004.

This line-up was the longest of the group, though recordings from this era (which lasted almost 4 years) are limited to Stuck In The Suck. After a disastrous recording session at Christchurch’s MAINZ, and other internal issues – Mick Elborado left the group. Jared Kelly (The Pickups, Blue Moon) then joined in May 2008, with Andrews and Kelly switching instruments after their first practice.

2008 was a particularly important year for the group, recording the Common Threads EP with the lineup of O’Connell (Vocals), Johnstone (Guitar), Andrews (Bass) And Kelly (Drums) Before Stink Magnetic‘s Aiden Moody (Bad Evil, Grand Chancellors) joined as a 2nd guitarist, moving down from Palmerston North. This was an important change for the group as in late 2009 founding guitarist Ben Johnstone left to raise a family in Canada, and Moody took over his lead guitar duties.

Both Kelly and Andrews left for other towns in 2010, however Ox enlisted the help of drummer Michael Summerfield (The Undercurrents, Cowboy Machine), before Andrews rejoined in early 2011 on bass guitar. The group played the very last show at historic Lyttelton venue El Santo Porteno, just 2 days before the February 2011 earthquake. This disrupted the progress the group had been making, with guitarist Moody moving on to form surf group The Grand Chancellors.

The group resurfaced in early 2012 with Jared Kelly once again playing drums (replacing a departing Summerfield), with John Harris (Lonely Harris Club, Doctors, BnP) quickly establishing himself as their latest guitarist. Summerfield would eventually find himself back in the group after a hilarious stage moment at the (now bull-dozed) New Brighton Tavern which saw Kelly replaced mid-set by multi-instrumentalist Rhett Copland, and this line-up played quite a few shows over the next couple years.

Which Palace’s recorded output completely stagnant Ox formed a new group with guitarist Dave Branton named The Ruling Elite, which eventually picked up Andrews (switching to 2nd guitar). Eventually both groups began utilizing talented free-form drummer Rory ‘IRD’ Dalley – with the new group quickly writing and recording a whole swag of new recorded output, whilst Palace remains a tight live-act-only type of group.

Over the course of the last 15 years the group has played a string of high-profile support slots, including The Chills, The Datsuns and of particular note – US group Dead Moon, who the group cover (‘Unknown Passage’) and are of particular importance to vocalist O’Connell with their never-say-die attitude to Rock’n’Roll. The Palace of Wisdom’s set is augmented by a number of re-interpreted covers, often quite removed from the originals, or obscure in their origin – this includes The Great Unwashed‘s ‘Born in the Wrong Time’ (as ‘Sending Him Away’), and Joy Division’s ‘Sound of Music’.

 

Members

  • Andrew ‘Ox’ O’Connell (Vocals, 1999-)
  • Ben Johnstone (Guitar, 1999-2009)
  • Matt ‘Alien’ Johnstone (Guitar, 1999-2002)
  • Ian Lloyd (Bass, 1999)
  • Alan ‘ALC5’ Cameron (Bass, 2000-2001)
  • Mick Elborado (Bass, 2001-2007)
  • Nick ‘Harte’ Hodgson (Drums, 2002-2003)
  • Tim MacDonald (Drums, 2003)
  • Simon Nunn (Drums, 2003-2004)
  • Chris Andrews (Drums/Bass, 2004-2010, 2011-)
  • Jared Kelly (Bass/Drums, 2008-2010, 2012)
  • Rhett Copland (Drums, 2012)
  • Aiden Moody (Guitar, 2008-2010)
  • Michael Summerfield (Drums, 2010-2012)
  • John Harris (Guitar, 2010-)
  • Rory Dalley (Drums, 2015-)

Discography

  • The ‘P’ EP [2001 Self-Released]
  • Candy Pants [2002 Self-Released]
  • Pills EP [2003 Self-Released]
  • Stuck In The Suck [2006 Self-Released]
  • Burnside EP [2008 Self-Released]
  • Common Threads EP [2009 Self-Released]

    Links

  • MySpace
  • BandCamp
  • Facebook
  • LastFM
  • Photo’s on Flickr

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

Scuzzbuckets

As the name suggests, a scuzzy rock’n’roll outfit from Christhurch, part of the Hi-Tone Destroyers / Ape Management crowd that released singles on Kato during the mid to late 90s.

Discography (picks in bold)

  • ‘Heartmeat’/’Freeloadin’/’Horny As Fuck’ 7″ Single [Kato Kato 8]

See-Also

Slavetrader

Pure rock’n’roll from the now-auckland based ex garden-city native Matt Alien (Ex Hi-Tone Destroyers etc) and his troup – including fellow Christchurch’er James Jett (bass), plus Paul Pablo (drums), and Andy Halford (replacing Rob Ting on guitar). A bit slicker, brasher and just a little underwhelming compared to Alien’s fire-breathing best.

Discography (picks in bold)

  • The People’s Party 7″ [2005? Fast Food]
  • Black Magnet 7″ [2005? Fast Food]

See-Also

Thee Strapons

2 piece scuzzo-rock’n’roll with weird elements and a thoroughly lo-fi leaning from christchurch fixtures (and heads of the Solarphonic label) Bev Greene and Done Campbell – now residing in Wellinton.

This long-lived, stylistically versatile group, began producing music in Dunedin in 1988! Transferring operations to Christchurch in 1993, Thee Strapons temporarily exchanged the William Burroughs-meets-Throbbing Gristle industrial rock, of their Dunedin phase, in favour of no-nonsense punk rock and r’n’b. However, beyond this popular, public persona, the 1996-2001 period also saw much experimentation with psychedelic lounge music and electro-industrial cabaret
Krkrkrk

With the key duo of Thee Strapons relocating to Wellington to raise their child, the Hi-Tone Destroyers‘ Matt Alien moving north to try his hand at greater success, and the Incisions imploding in the early 2000s, the Christchurch underground rock’n’roll outfit was dealt quite a blow.

Mid-fi punk-industrial stuff, some garage moments, often experimental – lots of William S. Burroughs/Psychic TV tape loop fuckery etc… don and i remixed and remastered these to DAT from the original 4-track tapes mid 2000.
Dave Khan on the 2 Early Fears compilations

After a lengthy absence, Thee Strapons finally resurfaced in Wellington in 2004, appearing on the rather mixed Stop The Bypass compilation. Hopefully more is on the way.

A wonderful collection of lounge-rock numbers and synth-pieces recorded 1996-99. longer, more keyboard-driven compositions. lots of local musos are on this recording inc. Joanne and Sharon Billesdon, George Churton (Gene-Pool Belmondo of Gas etc), Chris Rigby and even moi. Bits from Come Back To My Place And Lost Found Sound were originally released on Krkrkrk in early 1997 on the tapes Beyond The Valley Of The Strap Ons &and Fingerless Love

Dave Khan on The Lost Found Sound

Discography (picks in bold)

  • Ouch Lucky Fight Lathe-Cut 7″ Ep [Solarphonic]
  • ‘Predator Sway’/’Strap-Ons Are Go’ Lathe-Cut 7″ [Solarphonic]
  • ‘Get Outta Town’/’Grind Las Vegas’/’Diabolique’ Lathe-Cut 7″ [Solarphonic]
  • ‘Taboo’/’Hey’/’Everybody’S Wiser Now’ Lathe-Cut 7″ [Solarphonic]
  • ‘Daughter Of Horror, Uptight Surfite’/’Tokyo Striptease, Are You Gonna Be There’ Lathe-Cut 7″ [Solarphonic 001]
  • Dance All Night With Thee Strap Ons: ‘Race With The Devil’/’You’Re Gonna Miss Me’/’Pedophile’ Lathe-Cut 7″ [Solarphonic 011]
  • ‘For What Its Worth’/’Psycho’/’Big In Japan’ Lathe-Cut 7″ [Solarphonic Sop10]
  • Beyond The Valley Of The Strap Ons Cassette [1997 Krkrkrk Krk069]
  • Fingerless Love Cassette [1997 Krkrkrk Krk079]
  • Come Back To My Place… [1997 Krkrkrk Krk105]
  • Pretty Ugly Things [1998 Solarphonic]
  • No Time To Be A Work Of Art [1999 Solarphonic]
  • Lost Found Sound [1999 Krkrkrk Krk106]
  • Early Fears 1 [2000 Krkrkrk Krk102]
  • Early Fears 2 [2000 Krkrkrk Krk103]
  • Eat The Mess Age [2000 Krkrkrk Krk108]
  • Bottle [2001 Krkrkrk Krk115]
  • Hellbox [2001 Krkrkrk Krk116]

See-Also

The D4 – 6Twenty

2001, Flying Nun, FNCD449

The garage rock explosion of recent times has given way to the world again discovering rock’n’roll outside the borders of the United States. After Japanese outfit Guitar Wolf got everyone pumped up all those years back, the Hives have shown that even without the hype, great rock’n’roll can sell, with their lead-off singles entering the charts worldwide backed by the truly American sounds of the White Stripes and latecomers the Strokes. Meanwhile in New Zealand, the garage rock scene has been prominent since the early 90’s. In Christchurch, bands like the Hi-Tone Destroyers, The Black Panthers and Thee Strap-Ons had already formed and released a substantial body of work before The D4 and the Datsuns (of Cambridge) had even penned a song.

But that’s just made their impact seem more explosive. In a short period of time, both bands have been trust into the limelight of the New Zealand rock scene, and have earned their reputations as New Zealand’s best live acts.

6Twenty is the fruit of the D4’s past 2 years of relentless touring. It’s a tight, punchy collection of party songs that jump out at you with more venom than the Strokes have even been able to muster. The album jumps out at with Andrew WK style song titles (luckily no reflection on the contents of the album itself) – the bustling ‘Rock’N’Roll Motherfucker’ opens at a hundred miles per hour and the pace never succumbs. Sure it’s cliched, but the d4 put in the kind of energy Iggy Pop would have been proud to front.

The second track, “Party”, rolls off with a manic agility test drum-roll before the killer bassline kicks in. The song fluctuates between twin vocalist breakdowns, and phased guitar attacks to ends the track in a true party atmosphere before their debut hit “Come On!” winds up blasting your eardrums. Another scorching bassline and confident, punchy guitar – you know you’re onto a winner with this album. Only the choice covers of the Scavengers classic “Mysterex” and the Japanese outfit guitar wolf’s “Invader Ace” break the run of great original material.

Probably best compared to the Hives, The D4 have developed an album that sounds like a pounding live performance with a thin mix of guitar and thick bass with simple but deadly drumming propelling the band to near bursting point, the way a rock’n’roll album should sound.

Both Jimmy and Dion are skilled vocalists, choosing the sing-song approach of vocal treatments, and even harmonizing to their wailing guitar sounds and each other on tracks like the dynamic “running on empty”. The album doesn’t give way to slower numbers as the white stripes have recently employed, choosing to go the hard way, but still sneaking in complimentary organ vibes on “ladies man” and “little baby”.

With 12 songs, it’s considerably lengthier than the current crop of garage albums, but the d4 pull off just about perfect the formula with almost 40 minutes of attention-seeking go-getting rock. So, catch them while you can, before the nme gets a hold of them, because they are already garnering praise for their live shows in Britain.

The Black Panthers

Biography

Late 90’s sleaze rockers out of Christchurch and featuring Garden City rocker extraordinaire Matt Alien (aka Matt Johnson also of The Hi-Tone Destroyers).

Made a habit of being even more extreme than The Hi-Tones, with Matt constantly baiting the audience (not having to play guitar freed him up to provoke the surly members of the audience).

Alien was joined by Bob Cadillac (aka Rob Buick), Ayatolla Blitzkrieg (Vaughen Richardson) and Leon Zchvargo (aka Matt’s brother Ben), and put out a small issue self-titled release on the local Kato label in 1998.

Both The Hi-Tone Destroyers and The Black Panthers used the disclaimer ‘No Squares or Hippies!’ on all their posters and releases, though bassist Blitzkrieg was always accompanied by a handful of hippy girls eager to throw marmite-stained underpants at him while he performed.

The group was less prominent than the Hi-Tones, and disappeared once Alien relocated to Auckland forming the similarly minded Slavetrader.

Members

  • Matt Johnstone (Vocals, 1996? – 2003?)
  • Ben Johnstone (Drums, 1996? – 2003?)
  • Vaughen Richardson (Bass, 1996? – 2003?)
  • Rob Buick (Guitar, 1996? – 2003?)

Discography

  • Hey Hey 7″ single (1998, Kato Records, KR79)
  • The Black Panthers (2001, Kato Records, KR003)

Links

 

The Datsuns

emerging out of hamilton in the mid 90s, originally as the more pop ‘trinket’, the datsuns soon became the epitome of raucous rock’n’roll. with the release of the ‘super-gyration’ single and a strong tour ethic, the band produced a fervent fan base. quite simply in the couple of years before their overseas success, the datsuns we’re the most explosive and primarily, most in-your-face-fun band in new zealand – maybe even the world.
sure it wasn’t original, but their huge riffs, sing-shout vocals, and ‘in-with’them approach to stage presence was something to behold. eventually the band became notorious as part of the rock’n’roll revival that built up in 2002 – they had been touring the united states and britain with the same kind of enthusiasm they displayed back home when journalistic interest took hold. signing to richard branson’s virgin offshoot (and home of fellow rock’n’rollers the white stripes) v2, they become a phenomena in new zealand, selling out show after show to increasingly manic audience, and further tightening their repertoire.
the self-titled debut was unfairly over-looked by most critics, mostly due to the entire hoopla involving the revival itself. what it represented was a raw, powerful collection of pure rock songs that was far more t-rex than ac/dc, but some critics didn’t see it that way. unfortunately, as they’ve become such a spectacle now, its a little hard to relate to the human side of their live performances, as playing on a big stage to a big crowd is a little different than mucking it in with 20 or so punters down the local.
2004 saw the band release their jean-paul jones (he of led zepplin fame) manning the decks for their sophomoric release, outta sight / outta mind, recorded at jacob studios in surrey.
discography
picks in bold

  • ‘super-gyration!’/’hoochie mama’ 7″ single [2000 hell-squad HS002]
  • ‘fink for the man’/’transistor’ 7″ single [2001 hell-squad HS003]
  • ‘lady’/’motherfucker from hell’ 7″ single [2001 hell-squad HS005]
  • ‘in love’/’little bruise’ 7″ single [2002 hell-squad HS007] rn
  • 2002 european tour 7″ single [2002 hell-squad HS008] rn
  • the datsuns [2002 in-fidelity IF001CD] rn
  • ‘harmonic generator’/’freeze sucker’ 7″ single [2002 hell-squad HS012]
  • ‘motherfucker from hell’ 7″ single [2003 hell-squad HS015]
  • outta sight / outta mind [2004 in-fidelity IF011CD]

recommended songs
download from mp3.co.nz

  • super-gyrationrn
  • motherfucker from hellrn
  • ladyrn