Dux de Lux

Also known as: Llanmaes, Canterbury College Student Association

Location: 41 Hereford Street, Central Christchurch

Current Status: In Repair

Active as a live music venue: 1978 – February 2011

Bar Manager: Ross Herrick



Capacity: 100 in the main bar, up to 200 upstairs

All-Ages: Occasionally

Long-running Christchurch live-music venue based out of the Christchurch Art Center as part of a multi-use building, along with a vegetarian restaurant and an upstairs bar / private venue and office spaces.

The Dux was notable on a few fronts:

Live shows at the Dux were almost always free, a tradition they kept going through-out the venues 30 year history. The Dux was actually a very good spot to see up and coming music acts too – due to connections to student radio station RDU (now a private enterprise), regular ‘Battle of the Bands’ nights played out, with heavily biased judges promoting those groups that fit in to the current indie / underground trends.

Due to the Dux’s restaurant connection the pub food on offer was always terrific – the best nacho’s and wedges in town for many a year. This also coincided with excellent international food stall offers during the weekend, as the Art Center’s food trucks were just a few meters away from the Dux’s outdoor seating. A 3rd crown in their culinary jewel was the excellent locally brewed beverages on tap –  the Dux’s own Ginger Tom alcoholic ginger beer was a particular favorite.

The venue itself was always bustling – due to the combination of free entry, close-proximity to a healthy, bustling market located within a tourist attraction in its own right (the Art Center complex), and the venues word-of-mouth reputation with young international travelers. Booking agent / bar manager Ross Herrick was top notch and made setting up shows there a breeze; the Dux always had great advertising, and the likes of gear setup and soundcheck were always a breeze.

Fairly small and L-Shaped, it was fairly easy to make the place look packed out – though it had a reasonable maximum capacity (due to there being 3 easily accessible exits), which often led to people hanging out the doors on warm evenings. A prime spot for watching bands was sitting to each side of the stage under the windows that ran the length of the venue, or up front on the (usually freshly cleaned) carpet in front of the stage.

The PA was reasonably powerful and had great sound both from the audience and the stage – large main speakers that hung from the ceiling each side of the stage, plus a trio of feedback wedges up front and beside the drum-riser. The sound-desk was located next to the bar opposite the stage, and made for easy communication during sets – it was also convenient when trying to get drinks to the band! Also notable was the lighting system – full colour gels flanked each side of the stage, giving the room excellent ambiance and made for terrific live music photos.

A variety of bands played the main venue over the years, from young and unremembered to some of New Zealand more notable acts – with quite a few international groups over the years too. When the 2nd large earthquake struck in February 2011, the Dux de Lux was one of the most iconic parts of Christchurch that was lost. Though 2 bars (and a restaurant) using the Dux name have sprung up in recent years, none has come close to the feeling of the original.


1872: Canterbury College (which would eventually eventually become Canterbury University) is formed, with premise bounded by Worcester, Rolleston, Hereford and Montreal Streets.

1883: The Dux De Lux’s building is constructed as a private residence for John Lewis, given the Welsh name Llanmaes.

1894: Canterbury University Students Association is formed.

1921: The Students Association set aside a tea-room within Llanmaes.

1926: The Students Association purchase Llanmaes – the last privately owned building within the block, and over the next few years the site is redeveloped in a Gothic style and extended, eventually opening as the Student Union in 1929.

1954: A fire damaged much of the interior, over the next two years the site was repaired with a dining room and 3 meeting rooms added.

1978: Canterbury University is now permanently at their larger Riccarton campus, and the Dux de Lux is born as a bar, live music venue and restaurant.

2010/2011: Two major earthquakes cause significant damage, closing the Dux de Lux and the Art Center in its entirety.

Contact Details

  • Dux De Lux
  • 41 Hereford Street, Central Christchurch, New Zealand
  • Closed Permanently


Live Music Reviews and Photos

Mount Eerie at the Wunderbar w/ Seth Frightening

Mount Eerie
Mount Eerie

In 2001 the then Olympia, Washington based group The Microphones would release what would become their most critically acclaimed release – the phenomenal double-album ‘The Glow Pt. 2’. Receiving rave revues and even topping influential independent taste-making magazine Pitchfork’s end-of-year album list, the album was at the time the best indication of Phil Elverum’s considerable talent as a singer, songwriter and producer.

Elverum was essentially the only core member of the group, and with 2003’s thematically appropriate album ‘Mount Eerie’ (the narrative of the album involves Elverum death, before discovering the face of the Universe) he decided to conclude the group, with subsequent material released under the name Mount Eerie. This new moniker implies a more solitary approach from Elverum, and also emphasises Elverum’s connection to outdoors, evoking scenes of foggy mountain-tops, rustling wind and dark nights.

Touring New Zealand under the Mount Eerie name before concluding at the excellent annual festival Camp A Low Hum – Elverum played a terrific show at Lyttelton’s Wunderbar, ably supported by Wellington-based singer-songwriter Seth Frightening. With audience members attentively crowding around the stage, Elvrum ran through 12 songs of sheer beauty and feeling. Most songs came from the thematically-separated recent albums ‘Clear Moon’ and ‘Ocean Roar’, but a few earlier numbers were thrown in for good measure.

Mount Eerie at Camp A Low Hum
Mount Eerie at Camp A Low Hum

Elverum played shimmery 12-string guitar, occasionally tempered with bursts of loud reverb, whilst his soft, boyish vocals weaved stories on top. From the softer, welcoming sounds of Clear Moon to the dark and tumultuous scenes of Ocean’s Roar – Elverum is a master of evoking imagery and feeling. I had the great pleasure of catching Mount Eerie a further two times on the tour, with Elverum consistently delighting crowds.

Live Music Reviews and Photos

Undercurrents, The Hatemen and French for Rabbits

French for Rabbits
French for Rabbits


Ok my 2nd show at the new Dux!


An unusual mix with the mellow and lovely duo French for Rabbits playing to a small audience, which then grew a bit when the show-offy ‘punk’ trio the Hatemen ran through a short set, and was actually pretty solid by the time the Undercurrents had reunited on stage.

All 3 groups were fun, the new Dux felt like a bit of a barn at first, but its really great having a mid-sized venue in Christchurch.



Click here for the rest of the photos.