“Here comes your band…”

The iconic and legendary Pixies are well and truly back and we are giving away tickets for their Christchurch show on 9 March.

In 2014 they returned from a 23 year hiatus amid much anticipation with their comeback album Indie Cindy, which was met with thunderous applause & critical acclaim (…from myself, at least!) and if they’d stopped there I would’ve felt completely satisfied as a lifelong fan. Having waited since 1991 for an album of new material (Trompe le Monde), it’s clear that they’ve picked up right where they left off – melodic, lyrical, grunty, and with bucket loads of their signature explosiveness.

Pixies
Pixies 2017 lineup. Image supplied.

It’s now the early stages of 2017, they’ve got a new bass player (Paz Lenchantin), and I’m stoked to be readying myself to see them live right here in Christchurch, on Thursday, 9 March at Horncastle Arena, as they tour their latest album Head Carrier.

Released late last year, Head Carrier is yet another example of their signature sound and songwriting styles, and if you’ve never heard them before then this album is well worth a listen if you like bands such as The Stone Roses, Smashing Pumpkins, or even The Jesus & Mary Chain – another 1990s indie band due to make a comeback this year.

If you’re keen to win a double pass to the Christchurch Pixies show just answer the simple question on our competitions page.

Good luck and see you on the night!

Photo Hunt October: Majestic Dance Band

Majestic Dance Band.
Winning Entry in the 2008 Christchurch City Libraries Photo Hunt by Merle Conaghan. HWC08-UR-028. CC-BY-NC-SA 3.0 NZ

“Jimmy Olin (Leader on saxophone), Lottie Duckworth (pianist), Neill Bamford (drummer), Tom French (double bass) at the Mayfair Lounge, Worcester Street.  This venue had the only white grand piano in Christchurch.  The men dressed in black suits, white shirts and bow ties.  The lady a long dress.  Not many women played in dance bands but Lottie was an excellent pianist.  They played at Balls, 21st birthdays and wedding dances.”

Christchurch City Libraries has been running an annual Photo Hunt in conjunction with the city’s Heritage Week since 2008.  The 2016 Photo Hunt is running again from 1 – 31 October. During the month of October we will be posting a series of images from earlier Photo Hunts.

Enter the 2016 hunt online or at your local library.

Kete Christchurch is a collection of photographs and stories about Christchurch & Canterbury, past and present. Anyone can join and contribute.

The Stranglers

The Stranglers are in New Zealand touring and have a Christchurch Show Friday 15th April.

The Stranglers in concert, 2008
The Stranglers in concert, 2008. Photo by yooowan, P1000128 (CC BY-SA 2.0)

The punk/new wave English band was formed in Guildford in 1974 and went on to becoming very popular with hits like Peaches, No More Heroes, Always The Sun, and my favs Golden Brown and Skin Deep.

We are lucky to have this legendary band visit our wee city. I’m not missing it for the world.

 

 

It was 50 years ago today: The Beatles in New Zealand

The Beatles on the balcony of the Hotel St George, Wellington. Hill, Morris James, 1929-2002 :Negatives of Wellington, and national events and personalities. Ref: 1/4-071852-F. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand. http://natlib.govt.nz/records/23228019
The Beatles on the balcony of the Hotel St George, Wellington. Hill, Morris James, 1929-2002 :Negatives of Wellington, and national events and personalities. Ref: 1/4-071852-F. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand. http://natlib.govt.nz/records/23228019

The Beatles arrived in Wellington on 21 June 1964. They played the Majestic Theatre in Christchurch on 27 June 1964. My Mum went to the Auckland concert, didn’t hear her thing. Her friend Pat did climb the fire escape and get into a Beatle’s room though …

Vicki Anderson’s article Fifty years since Beatles’ Christchurch tour in The Press is a great look at what it was like. Majestic Theatre usher and cashier Elizabeth Renton (then known as Beth Barry) said:

Giggling, Renton recalls a group of girls who were precariously perched on a rail upstairs at the venue.”I stuck a pin into someone’s bottom to move them but they were so busy watching the Beatles that they didn’t feel a thing.”

See the DigitalNZ set The Beatles for more images of the tour.

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We appreciate your appreciation! The Gladstone

Saturday night at the DB Gladstone – ah, those were the days. The dingy old pub with cracked stucco walls, peeling paint and the stench of beer seeping from its pores slouched next to its corporate neighbours on the corner of Peterborough and Durham Streets and sneered at their clean concrete exteriors. In the ’80s, the Gladstone was the venue for great gigs. I remember seeing legendary Kiwi bands such as The Wastrels, the Dance Exponents and Pop Mechanix there and The Gordons in all their edgy glory.

It was the place to go. Saturday nights, I’d put down my Victorian poetry texts, backcomb my black and purple hair, squeeze into my drainpipe jeans, strap on my winkle pickers and head to the Gladstone to scowl with friends in dark corners.

Many of us did our courting there, pogo-ing into the night as the bass thudded on and the singers’ voices became husky with the clouds of cigarette smoke that engulfed us all.

I hope with the rebuild that there will still be room in Christchurch for a bit of grunge. We need a few haunts in which we can lurk and not feel obliged to be perky and bright and have our teeth whitened to fit in with the crowd.

Keeps it real somehow.

Adam McGrath at Aranui Library for Music Month

Adam McGrath, frontman of The Eastern,  will be rocking the Aranui Library this Friday, May 3 from 2 – 3pm as part of the NZ Music Month programme in our libraries. Adam and his bandmates have played and recorded in houses and all kinds of public venues since the earthquakes.

Here’s Adam and The Eastern at the Gap Filler fair in Addington in April 2011.

Flickr image

The Eastern – Genuine Christchurch Rock

album coverThe Eastern embody Christchurch spirit through and through. They’re a band of hard-working, no-nonsense folk who sure haven’t let an earthquake get in the way of making music. The perfect band to open NZ Music Month at Christchurch City Libraries at Central Library Tuam tonight at 7pm.

Chart, Christchurch’s music website, defines The Eastern as ‘ a string band that roars like a punk band, that swings like a gospel band, that drinks like a country band, that works like a bar band, that hopes like folk singers, and sings love songs like union songs, and writes union songs like love songs, and wants to slow dance and stand on tables, all at the same time.’ I think this sums things up pretty well.

I first came across The Eastern at The Mussel Inn in Takaka and was blown away by their talent, diversity and passion for music. Charismatic Adam McGrath has a voice as gritty as Waimak gravel and complements Jess Shanks who sings like a angel.

The Eastern is based in Lyttelton. Their first self-titled album was released in 2009, charity record The Harbour Union debuted at 20 in the NZ Charts, and their most recent recording Hope and Wire will be used in the soundtrack behind the upcoming television mini-series by the same name which portrays life in Christchurch after the quakes.

These hard core musos have played around NZ and the world and have opened for acts such as Fleetwood Mac, Justin Townes Earle, Vic Chestnut and Jimmy Barnes. They average 200 shows a year and will be performing along with Luckless and Katie Thompson at Central Library Tuam tonight at 7:00pm. Don’t miss them!

Strike up the band – Cool stuff for NZ Music Month #5

PhotoBrass and pipe bands have a long and illustrious history in New Zealand.

Christchurch stands out – the Addington Workshops Brass Band was formed in 1883. It was composed of workshop employees, and formed to feature at picnics and other social events. It continues today as Addington Brass.

Woolston Brass has a been around for a while, as their history reports:

… the band’s founding year is formally recognized as 1891 when George Bonnington took charge and reformed the band under the aegis of the Loyal Perseverance Lodge of the Manchester Independent Order of Oddfellows, a long-winded appellation that, perhaps unsurprisingly, only stuck until 1894, when it was replaced with the title, “Woolston Brass Band”.

Here they are at a street march at the 2001 New Zealand National Band Championship playing Flourish for an occasion.

The Canterbury Caledonian Society Pipe Band formed in 1902.  This year the band won its first ever National Pipe Band Championships in Grade 1, at Tauranga. The band won the Medley and the Street March, and won the piping, ensemble and drumming overall throughout Grade 1.

Celebrate NZ Music Month:

Represent! Local music on the global stage

Making a name for yourself as a musician can be difficult in little ol’ New Zealand, and anyone wanting to earn any real money from it usually has to take the tour bus on international roads.

However, it’s not all bad news. The Internet is helping spread the word about our diverse Kiwi music scene. New Zealand-made films and television series are always keen to promote New Zealand music too, creating soundtracks brimming with lots of sweet-as local acts. But how much do you hear of New Zealand outside New Zealand?

There’s been several instances where I’ve been watching an American film or television series and suddenly recognised a Kiwi song in the soundtrack.  It’s one of those moments where my chest swells with pride; my beloved Aotearoa is once again on the map because of its talented citizens. It feels good to know people all over the world get a chance to listen to some great New Zealand tunes.

Home-grown music made world-famous by Hollywood

  • Two songs by Christchurch musicians feature in the American Pie movies – Sway by Bic Runga (American Pie) and Renegade Fighter by Zed (American Pie 2);
  • Minuit can be heard on two popular TV shows – Aotearoa plays briefly on Bones (Season 6, Episode 12) and I’m Still Dancing was used on Grey’s Anatomy (Season 6, Episode 13);
  • The soundtrack to the film A Room with a View includes two Italian songs sung by Kiri Te Kanawa;
  • Evermore’s track It’s Too Late got a lot of airplay once it was featured on The O.C.;
  • And Crowded House made it onto the Reality Bites soundtrack with their song Locked Out.

What other New Zealand artists have you randomly stumbled across while watching a movie or TV show made overseas?

Falling in love with music again

CoverFor a while there, I couldn’t listen to any music. Dance-worthy pop songs jarred with my sombre state; rock songs were too loud, too confrontational; and acoustic folk brought up emotions I wanted to avoid.

Then a musician friend of mine, Michal Williams, created a blog. Each week she posts a new song, processing what has happened to Christchurch through music. Listening to her sing and play has reconnected me with my love of music.

Now I have music playing where ever I go; there’s a soundtrack accompanying everything I do. After losing my iPod and CD collection to the quake, the library’s physical and virtual music collections have become a lifeline for me.

Among the musical stylings I’m listening to post-quake are an assortment of New Zealand musicians, including:

What New Zealand music has helped you get through, put a smile on your face, or given you goosebumps (in a good way)?