Tono and the Finance Company with T54, Brown and Miniatures at Dux Live, May 4th 2012

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.

Miniatures

Excellent shoe-gaze trio formed around the songs of Annemarie Duff (vocals, electronics and production), with Ché Walden (guitar) and Steven Marr (bass). Duff’s vocals (a wispy Cocteau Twins type approach), enveloping electronics and Walden’s guitar engulf the groups sound, with Marr’s bass adding substantial groove. The Christchurch group picked up steam in 2012 with more and more live performances, but sadly both Duff and Walden are now leaving for Melbourne.

Discography (picks in bold)

  • This & That (home demo’s) [April 2010 self-released]
  • New stuff (Dunedin 2011) [March 2011 self-released]

See-Also

Psych Tigers

Originally the solo recording alias of teenage frontman Sam Perry (Vox/Guitar), now a live band also consisting of Matt Gunn (Bass, also of Ipswich), Steven Marr (Guitar, Ipswich and Miniatures) and Todd Williamson (Drums). Perry’s recordings have made a splash since first appearing in mid 2011 – very colored, stylistic sounds from such a young musician, showing a lot of variation and a spazzy, exciting approach to making music.

The Group is now trying their hand at establishing themselves in the Christchurch live scene; with both Marr and Gunn also quite prolific in local Post-Punk 3-piece Ipswich.

Discography (picks in bold)

  • Glitter [May 2011 self-released]
  • Crystal Methods single [June 2011 self-released]
  • Baptism (Crystal Castle remix) [July 2011 self-released]
  • Psych Tigers EP [November 2011 self-released]
  • Wake-Up single [December 2011 self-released]

See-Also

Ipswich

Excellent young Christchurch Noise-Pop / Post-Punk group featuring a trio of musicians that are becoming regular sites around local venues. Steven Marr (Guitar/lead vocals, also of Psych Tigers and Miniatures), Matthew Gunn (Bass/backing vocals, Psych Tigers), and Jamie Larson (Drums).

The group released their debut EP in late 2011, and then signed to Auckland-based independent label Muzai Records in early 2012, releasing a live album, then the full length studio album ‘Baby Factory’. Along the way the group were the 2012 champions of the coveted RDU (Christchurch Student Radio) Round Up band competition.

Discography (picks in bold)

  • Ipswich EP [May 2011 Self-Released]
  • Living In A Strangers Home EP [November 2011 Self-Released]
  • Live In Dunedin [April 2012 Muzai]
  • Baby Factory [July 2012 Muzai]

See-Also

Piha Rescue

Most likely defunct 3-piece surf-guitar covers group from Christchurch. Formed some time around late 2009 by Che Walden (guitar, also of Miniatures), Ben Dodd (bass, Lonely Harris Club, Bits and Pieces) and Alice Connelly (drums), who left for Wellington in early 2012. The group became quite popular at venues such as the pre-earthquake central city favourite Goodbye Blue Monday and Lyttleton surf-guitar-haven El Santo Porteno for their rough and ready, well-recognizable surf-guitar classics.

Discography (picks in bold)

  • Misirlou [April 2010 self-released]
  • Live at El Santo [July 2010 self-released]
  • Shakin’ and Stompin’ (MAINZ Legit) [August 2010 self-released]
  • Happy Days! [October 2011 self-released]

See-Also

Kenya Fundraiser

Another slow-to-add photoset, this time from a fundraising event at the Brewery. Caught a few sets in this VERY late night show, with acts going all night… Picture is Will Roud, who opened the show with a (mostly) set, followed by Mikey Summerfield and up-and-coming shoe-gazey act Miniatures.

Will Roud at the Brewery
Will Roud at the Brewery