I had been keeping an eye on the Darkroom's website and gig listings for quite some time as they had been listing some interesting looking gigs from both local, and occasionally, overseas artists. Unfortunately I hadn't got it together to actually attend any of these gigs but finally I took the plunge on the three Christchurch groups listed above. The lateness of the gigs also put me off a bit, especially the mid week gigs as I have to drive an hour to the city to attend.
Anyhow, I duly arrived at The Darkroom just on 8:30pm which was the listed time the doors opened. I got there early as it was door sales only and incase there was a large crowd turning up and the venue was going to be full and I drive all that way for nothing. This was not to be the case, as I expected, for a bunch of pretty unknown groups like this and the tiny venue really only had about 50 odd people there on this night. The place certainly is a tiny venue and would be pretty well jammed with 100 people in it, the stage is also miniscule and the two 4 piece bands that played were well cramped up with little room to move about. In saying that though it is a great little rock venue and so suits the raw roots rock n roll of the local groups playing there, I imagined it would be similar to some of the small DIY venues the original US punks played in LA in the late 70's.
The first band, Dead in a Year, hit the stage about 9:15pm, a duo of girl singer and guitar player and bloke drumming, like the White Stripes in reverse, but there the similarities ended. It was only their second ever gig and their indie pop songs were ok but nothing to get excited about. The girl wasn't a particularly great singer and her guitar playing was difficult to make out much in the way of melodies. Their set was short and the punters didn't really take much notice.
The second act, Hawaiian Maiden, were a four piece surf rock group and hit the stage in shorts and Hawaiian shirts. A fair chunk of the punters were now in front of the stage as they ripped into their first instrumental song, and what a blast they were. The first two tracks they played were full on rockin' surf punk and had me poppin' and grooving to the max. They were tight and fast and intense and having a lot of fun and just rocked our socks off. I was blown away. What a great little band. The rest of the set didn't quite match the intensity of the first two songs and this type of music can be quite limited, although they did have a trumpet player join them for the rest of their set. Overall a great 30 odd minutes of Hi-NRG rockin' music.
Band three, Via Kaleidoscope,are the "headline" act and again are a four piece. They play what seems to be Termed Post Rock, an instrumental band with quiet atmospheric parts to their songs followed buy some bone crushingly heavy riffing, not quite Metal in nature but pretty close. Doomy, stoner post rock. A common if not hugely popular form of music round here at present judging by the number of bands cropping up playing variations of it. I enjoyed these guys to a degree although they were a bit short of soloing which could have made them more interesting and of course it was very loud, creating the usual wall of noise that makes it difficult to hear all of what they were playing, as is usually the case with heavy rock music. Their songs are quite long and all sounded much the same but overall they were worth checking out for a bit of live entertainment.
Being in such a small venue and so close to the action, my poor phone camera struggled to capture the sound in these videos but they are all I got.