So I was just checking out the live gig listings on Under the Radar when this gig caught my eye at Churchills Tavern, where I had been on a couple of other occasions recently, and after doing some research into the bands and listening to some online music from each group, I decided I would be keen to go check it out. Into Orbit have a record out on vinyl from 2014 and so I ordered it from their Bandcamp page. I received an email the next day where one of the band suggested they could bring the record down with them from Wellington and they could drop it off to me but he soon realised that I don't actually live all that close to the city and so the other suggestion was they would bring the record to the gig and put my name on the door in lieu of the postage I paid and I could pick up the record then. This was agreeable to me as i was already intending to attend. The other two bands on that night were Samsara and Trioka, both local bands I think.
Doors opened at 9pm and I soon checked in that my name was on the door(it was) and the record was there(it was) and I stashed it in my car and went back into enjoy the night. As is typical of Christchurch the venue capable of holding around 300 people was mostly empty with probably about 50 people in attendance, that number including the members of each band.
Samsara hit the stage about 9:30pm, a four piece of twin guitar, bass and drums, they played pretty straight ahead post rock, grungy stoner shit, or whatever you want to call it and they were really good and I enjoyed all of their short set of just over 30 minutes. Certainly had my toes tapping and head nodding as I was propped up by the bar near the mixing desk in this small venue. Nice reasonably clean sound and I do like their sound system at this venue.
Inevitably, there is a lot of down time between bands as each group disbands their equipment before the second group starts to set up theirs. It must of been around 10:45pm that Troika hit the stage and this lot were a three piece, Bass, Guitar, Drums. Stylistically similar to the first group, As they all were this night, although these guys had a bit more of an experimental edge than the first band and the guitarist really attacked his guitar producing some real walls of noise with his fast high fret board riffing plus some nice soloing thrown in as well. There were some technical problems with his sound board of effect pedals and he ended up disconnecting some of them during the first song. The drummer was also outstanding in this group and I was so impressed that I went and purchased one of their CDs after their set. They have two CDs out and are currently working on another, of which they played a couple of tracks, that really impressed, so i might have to keep an eye out for that later.
The first two bands impressed me so much that I was thinking that Into Orbit are gonna have to be blood good to keep pace with their support acts. They hail from Wellington and as they hit the stage things were looking a little bare up there as they are only a two piece, guitars and drums. They were straight into it with some spacey jangly guitars that remind me of Explosions in the Sky and they were definitely the most experimental band of the night with their atmospherics interspersed with some pretty heavy guitar thrashing. They also had some second guitar tracks or loops or something playing along with the guitarist as several times he stopped playing and was bent down playing with his effects pedals while there was still plenty of sounds coming through the PA. Their set was intense and seemed quite short, was over before I knew it and although enjoyable, I was a little underwhelmed compared to the other two bands. I also thought there was a bit too much distortion with much of the more intense guitar playing so it came across a bit dronie. The drummer was very good though, I enjoyed his playing. I have since listened to the record and am enjoying that more than the live experience, far less distortion and even more experimentalism. Overall though I had a thoroughly enjoyable gig and it is impressive to see the quality of these local bands even though this is seemingly not a highly popular form of rock music here.