A night of magic at New Brighton Library

At the launch
One way to get around the lack of venues in Christchurch is to invite musicians to a library, clear out all the furniture and books and fill it with sound and crowds.

The New Brighton Library was transformed last Sunday and over 300 people enjoyed a magical night at the library listening to local talent, kicking off New Zealand Music Month in Christchurch.

People from all over the city came to hear Lawrence Arabia, Marlon from Unfaithful Ways and the Silencio Ensemble.
As they entered, the mesmerizing and organic sounds of the Silencio Ensemble filled the library. This performance is a forerunner to their upcoming Joan of Arc project where they will perform a soundtrack to the silent movie from the 1920s at the Christchurch Art Gallery.

Next up were Marlon and Tim who did a line-up of Johnny Cash-inspired solos and collaborations.

This was followed by Lawrence Arabia who held the crowd captive for nearly an hour with his original Kiwi blend of music, an amazing falsetto voice and fantastic whistle.

The cool thing about having live music at the library is that you can bring your kids and of course there are books and more to be enjoyed at the same time. Adding to the ambience was the view of the colourful light display under the pier (which happens every evening)  and the mellow swell of the white-topped waves dancing under the moonlight.

Find out more about New Zealand Music Month:

Memories are made of this

London Street demolitionsWe’ve all got our favourite memories of the music venues of our youth, some of which will now sadly remain just a memory, forever. My favourite venues both reside in Lyttelton.

The Harbourlight, now deceased, has always exerted a particular charm for me, perhaps because of its similarity to those smoky jazz venues seen so often in American films. It had a bit of Casablanca about it, a sense of being one of those places on the wrong side of town. Down at heel, off beat, comfortable, relaxed and small enough to create an intimate connection between audience and performer, it was a place to let your hair down and really enter into the spirit of the music. Like many others, my greatest hope is that it can rebuilt and that special atmosphere re-created.

The Wunderbar, which was reopened just recently, is a treasure in its own right. It’s crazy décor of kiwi kitsch must surely be unique. It’s sometimes also slightly wild collection of performers, makes it the most truly eccentric venue I have ever encountered. Like the Harbourlight it has an atmosphere all of its own, one conducive to just having a darn good time. Long may it live.

What are your favourite Christchurch venues and do you know what has happened to them?