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Monday, December 25, 2017

The Darkroom Holiday Special - The Darkroom - Christchurch - 23 December 2017.

25 Bands in one night, across two stages in a tiny venue. Didn't know about this till the last minute, almost, but there were several bands that I was quite keen to see and some of them I have records of their music. Others I had seen before and was quite impressed, so there was plenty of interest, the rest I had never heard of. I believe all were local bands.

  So things were suppose to kick off about 5:20pm, all the first 8 bands I had never heard of and it wasn't until Motte at 8pm that I was interested in seeing. I had had a very busy day in my garden and didn't leave home until just after 6pm.
Arriving at the venue about 7:30pm, I soon found that already they were just under an hour behind the schedule. I just caught the end of The Teasers, I think, a duo of acoustic guitar and drums and sounded not too bad from what I heard, although I didn't pay too much attention as I was getting a drink and checking out the set up of the venue. The north stage, is the usual stage they use most of the time, the south stage was set up in the back part of the venue. Each band had a 20 minute set while the next band set up on the other stage and there were almost no breaks between sets.
 Next I caught the full set of Butterflies Welcoming Spring, another duo with drums and electric guitar. This band was pretty ferocious with some quite impressive guitar pyrotechnics and the guitarist throwing himself about all over the place while he thrashed away at his axe. I liked it quite a bit. 
 Dave from Galaxy records turned up soon after this and opened his shop, so I really didn't see anything I can remember from the next two bands as I was browsing his shop and chatting with Dave.
 Motte was next and I was very keen to see her preform again. I first saw her at the start of the year supporting Jay Clarkson's Breathing Cage and then purchased her album later on which has been a highlight of the years releases.
 This time she had a dude on drums lightly improvising behind her as she set up her violin loops and played over the top of them. The first piece had quite a drone going which I didn't recognize, although I think the playing over the top sounded familiar, but the rest of the stuff she played sounded unfamiliar to me and also she didn't preform and vocals like she did on her album, so I was slightly disappointed but still enjoyed her set.
  Big  Beach I am a bit vague on but I think they were doing some quite enjoyable surf rock and the crowd was getting into them, but I was back in the record shop for some of their set.
 Dark Matter was the band I most wanted to see this night with Steve Cogle of the Terminals leading this project, I have their lone album which is really good and I really enjoy Steve's distinctive voice. Their music is not all that far removed from The Terminals but with slightly different instruments, one being this very cool electric string instrument that the player bowed, making a wonderful noise that slightly dominated the bands sound. Their set was excellent.
 No Broadcast I had seen before and they played a catchy almost commercial sounding heavy rock and I like their music. I found a seat and sat off to the side to ease the tension in my back from standing for so long. Their set was pretty good but they had it cranked way too loud, probably the loudest of the night.
  Jim Nothing/Wurld series were next and I had seen Wurld Series before and had really enjoyed their Flying Nun pop but this was a different set up with Motte on Violin supporting guitar and drums. Nice acoustic music and an enjoyable set.
 Salad Boys have a new record out soon and although I have their first LP, I haven't had it long and am not yet all that familiar with it. They played a great indie pop set with the bass lines of their songs particularly catchy, another highlight set of the night and I asked the singer/guitarist if all the songs were from their new album which he confirmed they were, so really looking forward to getting that.
 I think Piha Rescue played next instead of the listed band, who played later. They were another kinda surf rock band although I don't recall much about their set.
 Ruling Elite I sat out their set again to relieve my back but their set sounded quite interesting.
 Prodigies were up next and I had never heard of them but it turned out that Dave from Galaxy was playing guitar along with a second guitar, bass and drums backing the singer. They played a fantastic kinda 80's rock and I just loved their set, maybe the best of the night.
 The next band that I really focused on, and I had heard of them, was Opawa 45's. They also played a kinds surf/rockabilly/punk hybrid and had a really cool sound, great dirty bass, really enjoyed their set also.
 Log Horn Breed were the last band I was really interested in seeing this night and it was now well past midnight when they hit the stage. They also have a great record out that I have and had been wanting to see them live for a while. They played a dark industrial electronic noise with this the big bloke screaming into his treated mike, whichy made it pretty difficult to hear anything he sang.
 I was really getting into their noise when this bloke went right up into the singers face and started saying something to him, the singer, who already looked pretty antagonistic, was not impressed and told him to fuck off a couple of times, then not long after in the middle of the piece everything went dead, like the power was cut off and the band just started packing up. It was a pretty short set and I'm not sure if the abrupt termination was actually part of their act, quite probably.
 At 1am, I still had an hours drive to get home and did not know any of the last bands so I hit the road. It was a great night of music and I didn't hear anything all night that I didn't like.

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