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Friday, September 9, 2016

Street Chant, Wurld Series, Best Bets - The Darkroom, Christchurch - 8 September 2016

My second gig this week and my second at The Darkroom and one thing I am noticing about The Darkroom is that there is no security there. The staff consists of two ladies on the bar and one tall lanky dude, who looks a bit like one of the recent Dr Who's, on sound and whatever else is needed. This is a good thing and it is great to see that after being in operation for several years they still don't feel the need to employ bouncers. The place has a good vibe and it looks like the riff raff stay away.
  Anyhow, I arrive just before the 8:30 door opening time in the belief that tonight might be a packed house, considering the kinda high profile Street Chant have and it was door sales only. My fears were unfounded though as by the time Street Chant hit the stage later that night there were only about 50 or 60 people there, just slightly more than the last gig I went to here. Although a tiny venue, this is still a little disappointing for such a great little band but is the usual way for NZ bands it appears.
 When I arrived, the guy on the door mentioned that the band had been a bit delayed due to their flight from Auckland arriving later than expected, the weather here had been pretty bad, so the first act of the night, which was to be Slenderman( an Emily Edrosa, from Street Chant, side project apparently) didn't play, which meant a hours wait for the first band due on at 9:30pm. With an hour to kill, I scored a drink and settled in on the most comfy couch in the place and was soon joined by a fella who introduced himself as Chris. We chatted awhile about music, as you do at a gig and eventually he revealed that he was a musician and operated under the name The Transcendents. I had heard of them as I told him and that I had possibly heard his music on Chris Walker's "Counting the Beat" radio podcasts. He confirmed that Chris was indeed a supporter of his music on the aforementioned radio show and that I could check out his music on Bandcamp. I will.
 Best Bets hit the stage soon after their allotted time and this three piece impressed me with their thrashy punk/new wavy sound, which reminded me of The Sex Pistols sometimes but a little more poppy. They also played a great cover of Gang Of Four's "I found That Essence Rare" and a surprise Neil Young song that I know well but can't remember the title of right now. A great start to the night though.
  Wurld Series were next and right off  I was super impressed with their songs, a great singer with catchy tunes and a sound totally enthralled to early Pavement and of course the Flying Nun sound of the early 80's Their short set was end to end great songs and it is a real pity that they don't have any music released on any physical media. They do have a bandcamp page though. Worth checking out.
  I am pretty new to Street Chant. They have been around for about 8 years apparently but I first heard of them through "Counting the Beat" and I had seen some people I know on Facebook, flashing about the last album they released earlier this year(a copy of which I finally picked up at this gig). I checked out that album on Tidal and although it was good I personally wasn't overly impressed. Over time I gave it occasional listens and eventually it grew on me as I became more familiar with it's catchy tunes. Street Chant consist of two women on bass and guitar and a bloke on drums and they play a great brand of catchy indie rock. Considering that the band have been nominated for songwriting awards in NZ and seem to have a higher profile than any of the other local bands I have been checking out lately, the numbers at this gig were lower than I expected. This seems to be the case with NZ music, apathy from the punters towards quality homegrown music and lack of air play for this kind of music, even thought it is quite poppy and catchy in places.
 Live, these three rock out pretty big and Emily Edrosa really gets into some great guitar shredding during this short set. Unfortunately she was having some technical issues with one guitar cord giving out and feedback problems throughout the gig. She handled it pretty well and their set was most enjoyable as they rocked through their brand of great catchy guitar riffs, which many may become NZ classics over time. Their set was short but they were talked into doing a one song Encore, where they played one of their best songs that I now knew quite well. This is their last tour as they are now disbanding for the foreseeable future.

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