Darkroom’s 1st Birthday

Brown Leaves
Brown Leaves

The dynamic duo of T’Nealle Joie (Bang! Bang! Eche!) and Jasper Bryant-Greene (who ran the Gold Sounds record label, releasing T54’s first recordings) saw a hole in the Christchurch Music and entertainment market after the earthquakes of February 2011. With virtually no live music venues in the city and very little night-life to speak of, the pair leased ‘The Archive’, a multi-use venue on St Asaph Street, initially with a warehouse all-ages event that featured the Transistors, Bang! Bang! Eche! and Valdera. After a refit the Archive would go on to encompass the venerable Galaxy Records, a studio for the RDU radio station, the art space Room 4, and perhaps most importantly, the Darkroom.

Transistors
Transistors

Back in October 2011 the new bar opened with the experimental sounds of US sound artist C Spencer Yeh and a very special sell out show from Christchurch’s own Bachelorette. Over the course of the last year the venue has not only grown in reputation as Christchurch’s finest local venue for independent music, but also in stature, with additional seating area, a huge array of drinks and an ever-increasing clientele. Saturday marked the Darkroom’s 1st birthday, and as a tribute to the early history of the venue, the same key groups were present to celebrate.

Brown Leaves are a rebirth of prior group Valdera, featuring the same duo of James Musgrave (guitar, vocals and pedals) and Matt Scobie (drums), though in a punkier, more straight-forward style. These days Musgrave seems more comfortable as a front-man and the duo ripped through a short set of sharp, jagged rock numbers with gusto.

Bang! Bang! Eche!
Bang! Bang! Eche!

Speaking of gusto – the Transistors have recently returned from the United States, touring alongside Japanese Rock n Roll icons Guitar Wolf. Lead singer James Harding was a live-wire, bouncing around the stage but still hitting ever mark in their blistering, non-stop show. The trio showed the well-honed chops of a group that’s spent months on the road together, not stopping for a breath during their opening handful of songs.

Lastly Bang! Bang! Eche! took to the stage, building up the tempo of their performance as the night came to a close. With Joie and Charlie Ryder exchanging bass, guitar and keyboard parts, vocalist Zach Doney triggering electronic effects and climbing around the audience, and drummer James Sullivan as energetic as ever behind the kit – it’s hard not to have fun at a Bang! Bang! Eche! show. What a great way to cap a terrific 1s year as a venue.

You can see more photos from this show here.

Guitar Wolf and the Transistors at the new Dux Live!

Guitar Wolf
Guitar Wolf

Ok so what would be the best possible way to debut a new venue, replacing a landmark institution in an earthquake-hit city? Why have Guitar Wolf play the opening of course! Oh and make it free! Oh and the Transistors can open too!

Guitar Wolf
Guitar Wolf

Holy heck what a night. Gorgeous summers evening, hanging in the new, rather large, but still inviting Dux Live, with the massive side-doors wide open to show off a lovely sun-set, enjoying a Ginger Tom or 3… then the Transistors came on and kicked arse – James was climbing around the the furniture, trying in vein to get up to the overlooking 2nd story.

Transistors
Transistors

I thin Guitar Wolf may actually be undead. These guys have been playing Ramones-style super fast ‘lock and loll’ since 1987, and since they take no breaks between songs, they whip up a bit of a maelstrom of raunchy party-vibes and killer rock’b’roll moves. Great show-men, addictive energy, just plain all round great show from these Japanese legends.

Guitar Wolf
Guitar Wolf

Looking forward to a ton more shows at the new Dux Live.

The Axemen, Transistors, Poetry and Connie B

Connie B
Connie B

The Axemen are one of the great underground New Zealand groups. With a huge wag of releases over the years either on their own label or various others through out New Zealand and the world, they always seem to bring something eclectic and catchy.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Speaking of eclectic – the rest of the performers this night at the Darkroom were certainly that. From the straight-up, super-fast punk of the Transistors, the surf-guitar soloist Connie B to the Poetry of Gorgeous Disorders.

Stevie McCabe of the Axemen
Stevie McCabe of the Axemen

Check out the rest of the photos here.

Thunderdome: Familia Moja Fundraiser

Transistors
Transistors

Cracking fundraising event for Fionn and Netta’s trip to Kenya last night. They put together 10 of the best young acts in Christchurch to raise a little dosh to help with the construction of an orphanage.

With Sleepy Age, Transistors and Bang! Bang! Eche! all playing a whole swag of new material it seemed like a real milestone event, putting the last year behind us.

Great to see the younger kids getting into the show too, I’m just sad I missed the opening few acts – I still haven’t managed to catch the much-vaunted Psych Tigers, instead arriving at the beginning of St Eden’s mellow electronic set, followed by similarly laid back sets from the thoroughly slick Coate, and a lovely droney set from Valdera.

Planet of the Tapes
Planet of the Tapes

From there things picked up a notch with Transistors kicking ass and taking names, Planet of the Tapes just going out of this world (and encouraging the crowd on stage to surf along), Sleepy Age bringing the Disco vibes and falsetta vocals, and Bang! Bang! Eche! playing their hand as the manic closers.

Sleepy Age
Sleepy Age

Click here for the rest of my photos from this excellent event.

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.

BandCamp: Transistors

BandCamp: Transistors

Christchurch Punky Rockers the Transistors have an album and an EP available for download on BandCamp, grab them here.

Known for their awesome live shows, the Transistors are a power-trio in the extreme, with catchy songs played with raw speed and fury.