Creation

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: Metro Cinemas

Location: 103-5 Worcester Street, Central Christchurch

Center map

Current Status: Demolished post-earthquake

Active as a live music venue: 2002 – 2006

Capacity: Around 300?

Excellent multi-use space established by the Therapeutic Arts Trust in 2000 – Ciaran Fox was originally involved before Adam Hayward joined the board in 2001 and took over directorship in 2002.

Exterior of Creation – from Kete Christchurch / Darren Schroeder

The entire compound was composed of a few parts which served quite a few purposes:

  • The main brick-lined hall-space, which retained the projection screen behind the stage – formerly the Metro Cinema. Run by Marcus Winstanley until 2005, with Joseph Veale taking over until Creation closed in 2006.
  • A foyer used as an office, ticket sales and retail gallery run by Cas Simonsen. The first floor functioned as a shop housing retailers like Kate Wyrd’s Wyrd Clothing store, and the top floor was a drop in and artist studio.
  • A separate building down-stairs was a concrete bunker used as a band practice space, Project Legit’s graffiti workshop (managed by Miriama McDonald from 2004 – 2006) and at one stage a small gallery .

From the very beginning Creation was an All-Ages friendly venue, hosting early shows for Out of Kilter and show-casing many of Christchurch’s up-and-coming bands.

Creation’s Tiny Bar – from Kete Christchurch / Darren Schroeder.

Though they did have a small bar for limited alcohol sales, the venue existed on government funding – housing the Artist Wage (until the Ministry of Social Development was disbanded in 2006), and as such was opened up for a wide variety of creative exploits. From live music and movie screenings (often with the Canterbury Film Society) to dance, art, and graffiti.

Carpark and entrance to the Metro Cinema which became Creation, from Kete Christchurch

Creation’s main venue was previously the cinema itself, and as such had a large screen behind the stage. The stage itself was massive – one of the biggest in Christchurch, with the PA system well to the sides and fold-back speakers lining the front.

The space was flanked with long curtains covering a brick interior and there was a sound-desk around 2/3rd’s of the way back from the stage. The venue usually had excellent sound – no surprise considering that over the course of the venues lifetime Joseph Veale and Marcus Winstanley (both excellent local sound guys) were the in-house managers.

Creation hosted a whole swag of live shows with varying degrees of success. I saw touring bands play to an empty hall (excellent Napier/Hamilton pop-hardcore group Amy Racecar and spazzy Auckland group Body Corporate), local groups absolutely pack the place out (Christchurch’s own spazz kings Leper Ballet), even a handful of international performers (The Mountain Goats, Lou Barlow, Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy) with thoroughly mixed audiences.

The Renderers at Creation, 2004

One of my proudest moments was a show I put together at Creation back in 2004 – I’d become friends with Mary-Rose and Brian Crook of The Renderers and managed to persuade them to put on a show along with The Terminals – who Brian was still playing guitar for at the time.

Though I figured this was a momentous show, things took on an even greater magnitude when I got a call a couple days before the show –  Hamish Kilgour had heard about the show and politely asked if he could join the bill! Absolutely stunned me – plus it was a terrific gig.

Hamish Kilgour at Creation, 2004

Unfortunately Creation followed a similar pattern to most venues that are dependent on NZ funding – with the disbanding of the Ministry of Social Development in 2006, Creation struggled to maintain financial viability. Only half a decade after it was opened by Prime Minister Helen Clark, Christchurch’s best multi-faceted community space now had to close.

Thankfully Creation signaled the beginning of a new era in Christchurch live venues – paving the way for many subsequent venues and promoters (such as All-Ages group Red Panda) to get moving with their own shows.

History

  • 1986: The Metro Cinemas opens at 103 Worcester Street – one of 3 cinema’s within the same stretch of Worcester Street (along with the Mayfair and the Little Odeon).
  • 2002: Creation opens as a shared-used performance space, though the screen remains. The Christchurch Film Society continues to show films here.
  • 2006: Creation closes due to a lack of continued funding.
  • 2010 / 2011: Damaged in the Canterbury Earthquakes, eventually demolished to make way for a car park.

Links

The Penthouse

Also known as: Unlimited Paenga Tawhiti, Level 5

Location: 135 Cashel Street, Central Christchurch

Center map

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

Otautahi Social Centre

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: Kreation Art House, Kreation Milk Bar

Location: 206 Barbadoes Street, Central Christchurch

Center map

Current Status: In Repair

Active as a live music venue: 2007 – 2010 (Otautahi Social Centre), 2011-2012 (Kreation Milk Bar)

Bar Manager: –

Bookings:

Website:

Capacity: 200?

All-Ages: Yes

The Otautahi Social Centre was a mid-sized old hall on Barbadoes Street in Central Christchurch which ran for a couple of years as an All-Ages-Friendly live music venue.

Being an unlicensed youth centre, there was no bar or much in the way of formal organisation, just a space set up with a small PA system, a few couches and a small kitchen and toilets out back. On occasion some kids would bring alcohol to shows (it was even openly endorsed at some punk gigs), but generally things got along in a friendly, community-orientated kind of way.

Youth events group Red Panda utilized the centre for a couple of their events, including an excellent ‘secret show’ by Die! Die! Die! and a tea party event involving Auckland trio Bear Cat which involved baked goods and a sit-down hoedown!

Die! Die! Die!’s secret show

Aside from Red Panda the centre was mostly utilized by local punk groups, putting on some pretty anarchic and (most importantly) fun events. The space was used for more than just gigs too – in fact for a period the upstairs level was used as sleeping quarters!

Otautahi Social Centre went through a few changes before and after the Canterbury Earthquake, shutting up shop before coming back again (for a short time at least) as Kreation Art House / Kreation Milk Bar, however as of August 2017 the building is currently going through a major repair job, as it was actually quite damaged in the 2011 Earthquakes.

History

  • 2007: Starts hosting live music as Otautahi Social Centre at 206 Barbadoes Street.
  • 2011: Canterbury Earthquakes damage building, however it is still in use for some time after under the new name Kreation Milk Bar
  • 2017: 206 Barbadoes Street going through extensive rebuild.

Contact Details

Links

The Log Cabin

Also known as:

Location: 448 Madras Street, St Albans

Center map

Current Status: No longer a venue

Active as a live music venue: 2000’s – 2010’s

Bar Manager: –

Bookings:

Website:

Capacity: –

All-Ages: House-Parties

Old and dilapidated wooden villa on Madras Street that functioned as a rather excellent venue for house parties and all-age events for a few years prior to the Canterbury Earthquakes in 2010 / 2011.

Occupied by a variety of individuals connected to Christchurch live music, student radio (RDU) and all-ages (Red Panda) scenes, the house was opened up for day time shows on the front-lawn or in the living room.

Chris Young of the Insurgents performing outside at the Log Cabin

The occupants lived through the 2010 / 2011 Canterbury Earthquakes, but eventually moved out – the owners then discovering how extensively damaged the building was – though the original building still stands as of 2017.

Former tenant, Red Panda member and RDU Sheep Technique DJ Eamonn Marra provided a (presumed) complete list of the acts that played the Log Cabin over the years:

  • Crackhouse 5
  • Ghostwork
  • Sleepy Age
  • (classic) Insurgents
  • The Hatemen
  • Valdera
  • Jeffrey and Jack Lewis
  • Wet Wings
  • Canterbury Rams
  • Body 125
  • Hypercolour
  • Thrill Collins
  • Tono and the Finance Company
  • Capsul
  • Delaney Davidson
  • Jack Hooker

History

 

Contact Details

Links

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.

Situations Red Panda Show

Ok, so I didn’t have a particularly great time at this party show – though all the bands were great as you know they can be (both the Transistors have to be two of the most consistent, give-it-all live bands in New Zealand, and Sam and Joe are a party waiting to happen), but unfortunately i was feeling quite sick and actually had to leave… still, managed to capture a few shots of each band…

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.