Metropolis

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: The Green Room, Hofbrauhaus Restaurant, Honeypot Pizza Bar

Location: 112a Lichfield Street, Central Christchurch – Above the Honeypot Cafe

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Current Status: Demolished post-earthquake

Active as a live music venue: Early 90’s (Metropolis), 1997 – 2000 (The Green Room)

Capacity: 50?

Though I have no experience of 112a Lichfield Street when it was in its prime as a venue – i.e. when known as Metropolis – I did see a couple shows upstairs from the Honeypot Cafe when the venue was known as the Green Room.

112 Lichfield Street from Kete Christchurch

In fact my debut as a performer was here in 1998, playing Bass guitar in Mysterioball – a grotty punk band that at that stage was just a duo (along with guitarist/vocalist Kyle Denovan). We had been invited to perform by our pals the Davidson Collective, in a show that was part of Christchurch Art Week – somehow we came on after a stage-play!

The Green Room (and presumably both Hofbrauhaus and Metropolis before it) was a tiny upstairs Cafe/Bar, with a small area in the corner allocated for performers. Eventually the Cafe would become the Honeypot Pizza Bar before being claimed by the Canterbury Earthquakes of 2010/2011.

The live music performance that sticks out in my memory was that of Nick Hodgson (later Harte) in his pre-Shocking Pinks group The Incisions, absolutely TEARING THE ROOF off the place by double-amp’ing his guitar in such a tiny space. Needless to say The Green Room had noise complaint before the first song had even ended, presumably from the Honeypot downstairs.

History

  • ?: Hofbrauhaus Bar
  • ?: Metropolis
  • 1997: Venue becomes The Green Room.
  • 2000: The Green Room shuts, becomes Honeypot Pizza Bar / Hofbrauhaus Restaurant.
  • 2010: Building damaged and eventually demolished after the Canterbury earthquakes.

Links

Black Albino

a one-off return to more caustic noisy sounds from nick hearte (the troubled figure behind the shocking pinks), black albino was the name of a trio harte fronted as guitarist for a single show in 2005, reuniting last-generation incisions members tim mcdonald (drums) and carl (bass) for a balls-to-the-wall explosion of noise – excellent stuff and an indication of what harte can do given the context.
discography
picks in bold

  • no releasesrn

The Incisions – Let Terror Rain

2003, Self-Released

Wow, this is loud, caustic stuff.

The 2nd album from the ever-changing Christchurch 3-piece The Incisions blow the current crop of rock’n’roll revivalists out of the water. Its pure fire in a recording, scratchy, loud, abrasive and rude – more in the style of Japanese noise merchants Guitar Wolf or (particularly) Teengenrate than The Datsuns (who seem positively polished in comparison).

An excellent set of explosive songs fueled by the standard rock’n’roll metaphors (girl’s play a big part lyrically – with vocal duties split between Nick Heart and former Hi-Tone Destroyer, bassist Ben Johnstone), but maybe with something else a little special underneath the wall of feedback and grit.

From the very first blast of opener ‘Axis of evil’ – which actually mimics the driving and distorted bass rhythm of the Velvet Underground’s debauched ‘The gift’, the album feels like a homage to its musical heritage. And things don’t just stop there.

The album concludes with a number of acoustic based tracks, showcasing Heart’s vocal and guitar talents along with some excellent sugary sweet accompanying vocals from Mel Smith (reminiscent of The Brunettes merely for their shared Beach Boys influence).

It may not be hi-fidelity (tape noise and hiss drench the album), but it’s certainly a very distinctive and effective album – highly recommended.

The Hi-Tone Destroyers

Biography

During the mid 90’s, no man represented the Christchurch underground rock movement more than Matt Alien (aka Matt Johnstone).

As the leader of blue-revivalists The Black Panthers and his long-surviving scuzz-rockers The Hi-Tone Destroyers Matt was the equivalent of Iggy Pop to Detroit, Jim Morrison to California or (perhaps) Chris Knox to Auckland.

He managed to combine a little bit of each into his stage-performer, a drug-fueled, leather-pant wearing masochist who would bait his audience, sing lewd lyrics and absolutely roar on the guitar – totally encapsulating rock’n’roll at its dirtiest.

The Hi-Tone Destroyers were a little less raunchy than their Black Panther brothers – despite sharing half the same members, but had the swagger of the MC5 at full-force and could deliver the goods at any moment – usually at a punishing volume.

They spent a good decade playing parties and self-releasing scuzzy, amateur recordings, until the rock’n’roll revival hit full swing in 2002, resulting in Matt’s abandonment for Auckland (and warmer shores) to chase success., forming the group Slavetrader.

Members

  • Matt Johnstone (Guitar/Vocals/Drums, 1995 – 2002)
  • Ben Johnstone (Bass/Vocals, 1995 – 2002)
  • Pat Faigan (Drums, 1995 – 1996?)
  • Don Campbell (Keyboards, 1995 – 1998?)
  • Simon Nunn (Drums, 1996? – 2001?)
  • Alan Cameron (Keyboards/Guitar, 1996? – 2001?)
  • Nick Hodgson (Drums, 1998?)

Discography

  • ‘Icepick’/’Motorcity Rumble’ 7″ Lathe-Cut Single [Solarphonic]
  • Play The Music Of The MC5 7″ Lathe-Cut Single [Solarphonic]
  • ‘I’ll Put A Spell On You’/’Sonic Reducer’/’Now I Wanna Be Your Dog’ 7″ Lathe-Cut Single [Solarphonic]
  • ‘Headache Head Headache’/’No Way Son’ 7″ Single [1996, Kato Kato2]
  • Born WithoutAn Off Switch [1996]
  • Enter The Lair Of The Black Flame Cassette [High Tension House HTH016]
  • Light Up Your Life [2001]
  • Modern Rock Can Kiss Our Ass Cassette [2001 Stink Magnetic]
  • Calling All Destroyers [2005 Archival Compilation, Kato]
  • Burn In The Fire Of… [2011 Archival Live Release from 2008 show at Venus Cafe]
  • Stay High! [2011 Archival Compilation]

Links

 

The Incisions

Biography

Nick ‘Harte’ Hodgson’s loud rock’n’roll outfit.

Started life as Tony Valens and the Incisions in the mid 90’s and were mostly concentrated on harsh primal dirges and noisy guitar flourishes – creating some absolutely brilliant sounds far outside the commercial scope of rock’n’roll.

Band competitions, a short-lived lead singer and the rock’n’roll revival brought changes to their sound, reverting to a more pop (but still incredibly loud) rock format, but Nick was unhappy and soon the band was changing again.

The result was the manic Let Terror Rain – Nick’s first attempt at adding vocals to his old blend of sonic mayhem, and it worked.

Thick guitar-dirges and sound-checking The Velvet Underground was the order of the day, and it looked like the band was onto a promising direction before Hodgson split the band (and Christchurch) to seek his fame with Auckland-based popsters The Brunettes, eventually settling with his own new band The Shocking Pinks.

Members

  • Nick Hodgson (Guitar/Vocals/Drums, 199? – 200?)
  • Ben Johnstone (Bass/Vocals, 199? – 2003)
  • Tim MacDonald (Drums, 199? – 200?)
  • George Gossett (Keyboards, 200?)
  • Karl (Bass/Vocals, 200?)

Discography

  • Tony Valens and the Incisions Lathe-Cut 7″ EP [High Tension House]
  • All the Greatest Hits of.. cassette [High Tension House HTH015]
  • Tony Valens and the Incisions [Kato KCD3]
  • Let Terror Rain [2003 self-released] [Review]

Links