Thursday, 18 September 2008

The weekend: 10 hours sleep total. Nice job dumbass

Okay so last weekend was rediculous. The Tweeks played support for OdESSA at Backstage, I did sound and DJed for the Biff Merchants gig the next night, while inbetween doing 20 hours in the studio with Graeme Downes for the new Verlaines shiz. I got about 10 hours sleep on Friday and Saturday night combined, and have myself a serious dose of tinitus by the end of it. Yep Stuart, your going to make it past 50, sure!

Anyways let me "break it down" for all you folks back home. The Tweeks played a loose, sarcastic, yet generally up-beat set on Friday night. Logan and Chris have really hit their stride with the crowd interaction thing (something we've been terrible at in the past), and is a real highlight for me to witness from behind the drumkit.

OdESSA followed, and played amazingly as always. They really are one the country's great live bands, and they're really nice guys to boot. They have two things holding them back in my view: A lack of general direction "career" wise (stop laughing), and an inability to get there live energy captured on record.


Both of these things are probably some of the hardest things to do however, but the things that in my view really get my music phallus hard when done properly. The guys in OdESSA all seem to hold down reasonably steady jobs, and have steady girlfriends, and don't really seem to communicate all that much about future plans and stuff, so haven't managed to tour OZ or elsewhere apart from NZ. And the thing is they'd clean up overseas, they're so good live.


The capturing the "live" feel thing is another difficult thing to do... I think that perhaps there choice of producer, Aidan Mills, has something to do with this. Aidan is an incredible sound engineer (especially live), but I think he failed on finding an appropriate way to capture the bands live energy. The first record has some killer songs, but sounds a bit flat. The second record has some awful songs which should have been culled, a few good ones, a little bit better production, and a little bit better live energy, but still aspects sound a bit dull - the vocals probably mostly... Also there choice of artwork (one of the emo/punk tattooists, can't think of them right now) baffled me somewhat.

Anyways I won't won't go into the Verlaines recording too much - apart from to say I met Stephen Small, the guy who plays the keyboards with Graeme when he performs acousticly, and sometimes with the Verlaines. He is an incredible piano and keyboard player, and was a pleasure to meet and record. He also plays keyboards in a band called Autozamm.

Right, onto my rant. Readers out there may know I'm not the greatest fan of Autozamm. However, know that I know that a really awesome guy plays in the band, that I have a friendly relationship with, I'm probably not going to go around slagging them off as much, because I respect the guy in the band. This got me thinking, that as the most of the reviews and stuff are done in Auckland, the reviewers probably know people in most of the Auckland bands they review, and therefore don't critique them as harshly as they would of bands where they don't know anyone (i.e. bands from Dunedin). It's so much easier to really dig into a band in which you don't know anyone.

Thoughts?

Anywaysss onto the Biff Merchants' "Pants Optional, Pass the Parcel" party. I did sound for the Biff's and Emergency + Phone which was fine, but the highlight for me was naturally DJing my favourite music inbetween sets and after the gig, with my pants off, and wearing my Dad's fishing hat. Man I'm cool.

Robbie obviously wasn't feeling the music

Friday, 5 September 2008

Methven and Wellington

Methven

Okay the next day we played the Blue Pub in Methven. It was a pretty standard night at the Blue for us. Logan, Chris, and Anthony got pretty shitfaced (Logan the most, Anthony the least) pretty early in the evening, and we played like total crap. Fortunately the crowd was even drunker than them and didn't seem to notice. Hell the crowd even seemed to kinda like it.

Now playing a long set of A sides, B sides, and covers isn't a highlight for these kinds of gigs, but playing on the same bill as a band made up of 30yr old Christians* certainly is. The band in question were called The Exchange, and they were actually booked in for the Friday night before we were. I think Luke was a little dubious about the quality of The Exchange and happily booked us as well.

As to the music, let's just have a good giggle aye? If different types of music was like the different kinds of sweets at the Willowbank dairy, The Exchanges would have been a 50c “Parachute” mixture, with a covering of Creed sauce. It was pretty bad and funny at the same time. You know the kind of bad funny when you can bear to watch the band for about half a song, then you think “fuck I actually can't stand this, this is shit.”

The Exchange. Raise "The Goat" motherfucker!

Anyways after the gig I was getting drunk and high (and the rest of the Tweeks were getting drunker and high), and the Exchange came upstairs to hang out. It was pretty funny watching them smoke and not knowing really how to use a cone and stuff. Ahhhhh I could go on about it but I won't.

Anyways the next day we had to get up kinda early and drive to the shitchurch airport, for our flight to Wellington. Logan was really hungover and really didn't look too well in the back of the van. The dude doesn't drink that often so when he does he has a tenancy to go overboard, which is kinda ironic cos he really can't handle his alcohol**. Anyways we managed to get into shitchurch airport, and onto to the plane no worries – which is a first for us – The Tweeks in the past are very prone to having their flights delayed. It really fucken sucks.

Wellington

We were picked up by our mate Chloe Lewis (from KOTAC) and got straight into Welli, enjoyed some curry, did a good interview with a dude (can't remember his name sorry – it was for the Late, Late Breakfast though) at Active, and got to the Mighty Mighty for setup and soundcheck.

Mighty Mighty is a fuckin great place to play. The people that run that bar, Matthew (forgotten his last name) the bar manager, Richard Neame (the events manager, big boss man), and Sally Rees (sound person) really kick arse. Rich saw on the poster that it was our video release tour, and asked us if we wanted to play the video in the bar. We said yes, and he went out of his way to organise the projector, screen, and all that hoo-nanny, which your average events manager wouldn't bother doing.

One of the support bands, the Dissentors, lent us their backline which was really awesome of them. This is pretty much the only way small touring bands can do things if they're flying, and borrowing gear can be a real headache. Often gear doesn't work, or isn't what we need etc etc, but the Dissentors stuff was fine. Fuckin' brilliant.

Sally did a great job of sound for us, with soundcheck lasting about about 20 minutes. We've had sound problems before at Mighty Mighty, but they've gone and invested a bit more money in the PA, and it was cranking.

Anyway we went back to Anthony's mum's house at Johnsonville, got a few hours chilling/sleep in, and then went back down to the venue to watch our first support band, Spoongoose play.
“Spoongoose, aren't they from Dunedin” you say. Well they are, but they moved up to Wellington a couple of months ago. They played a great set, with Alex Barker filling in for an absent Leilana Quinger (who is currently hanging out with some pinkos in Thailand). At times the crowd noise grew over there quiet acoustic songs, but mostly they managed to project their songs to a good crowd of interested listeners.

The Dissentors were really cool. The Wellington three-piece played a sweet set of noisy, twisted Dunediny pop music, that really reminded me of Onanon. I've noticed this tenancy for us to book and really get into noisy, interesting, yet sloppy sounding bands, while our band can end up sounding quite polished and poppy. Odd. Just saying.

The Dissentors ruling

We played probably our best ever North Island show. It was fuckin sweet. I'm not going to brag much more, but it really was fuckin' fun. Afterwards we Djed for a bit, until we got “distracted” by whatever was in the water, and ended up yarning away with our Wellington friends for ages. After the bar shut, Rich drank with us till about 8:30 in the morning. It was really awesome, though I really can't remember much from the hours 6 till 8:30. However this photo popped up on my phone, with the timestamp 7:47am.


Ow yeah thanks to Stu Young (from The Outsiders) for putting our posters up in Wellington. Fuckin' cheers!

*Readers should note that while I'm an Aestheist, I am not predjudiced to race, religion, gender, or sexuality. I just really hate Christian bands. Not bands that are made up of people who happen to be Christians, but bands who play “Christian Rock.” You know what I'm talking about.

**It should also be noted that when Logan is this drunk he's really really fuckin funny. In this photo you can clearly see Logan heckling someone (a Christian rocker), and me almost pissing my pants laughing.

Monday, 1 September 2008

The Dux De Lux, Shitchurch 28th August

On Thursday we played at The Dux De Lux. I was lucky enough to fly up to Christchurch (or “shitchurch” as it's known in The Tweeks), as I wanted to squeeze another day of recording with the Verlaines in. This meant I missed out on the horrendously boring drive from Dunedin to Christchurch which I've done about a million times this year. Fuckin' tight.

Now I've talked about The Dux De Lux in Queenstown before, but not the Christchurch one. It is run by a very good venue manager, Ross Herrik. Ross is a very fair, straight up, pleasant dude. He is really really busy, and therefore quite difficult to get hold of to actually book a show with. However he always has time to chat to us, and seems genuinely interested in what we're up to.

I like to imagine that bars are an extension of the bar owners' personality. In this case Ross seems to be the type of fellow who enjoys cheese, cigarettes, beer, and music. The Dux De Lux pizzas have retarded amounts of cheese on them (which makes me quiver with pleasure – cheese is my favourite food). It has one of the best outdoor bar (and smoking) areas in the country, award winning beers which they brew on site, and live music 3 or 4 nights a week, almost all for free.

All in all, it's a pretty sweet place to go, though some people lament the affect the Dux's policy of no door charges has had on the shitchurch music scene, as apparently people can be pretty reluctant to pay door charges... I can't really comment as we haven't done many door gigs in shitchurch, but just puttin it out there ya'll.

We were supported by the Stefan Van Soest Hit Machine, a loose, poppy, band that remind me of old school Regurgitator and Presidents of the USA. They were fantastic. Marcus Winstanley from The Undercurrents did the sound for the gig, and the onstage sound was fuckin' bangin' for no soundcheck. Sweet.

Hit Machine!!!!

After the gig we were chaperoned by our mate Rose (who's parents play in the Bats), and took us to a party with the guys from the Insurgents, and another band oddly called Tweek. It was cool to catch up with all those cats, and smoke from their awesome Shisha thing. Bangin. Many thanks to Rose who let us crash at her place. Perfect.

The Thirsty Ram, 23 August, Queenstown

“Well after last night's debacle, you all get one beer each, and as many soft-drinks as you want.”
“What is this, Hell?” I mused to myself.

"Hell"

In a way it kind of was. It was a Saturday night, and Sunset Cinema, plus myself and the rest of the Tweeks were at The Thirsty Ram, Queenstown's latest “live music, sport, and gaming” bar (it's two weeks old). Just think a cross between Diggers, Shooters, the Grumpy Mole, and any other country/western themed bar, except that there are no windows, and it's in Queenstown, which makes it worse.

“Why are The Tweeks playing at a place like that? Aren't they weird or indie or something?” your probably thinking to yourself. Well I'll tell ya. We got $1000 plus petrol to play there. And we're the type of band that'll do almost anything to get $1000.

Anyway let me give you a run down of our experience with the venue. We arrived, and the staff (I've forgotten their names already) were really helpful with helping us load our gear out of the van, into the venue. That's the first sign that the venue was new. Helping the band. Haha. Anyways, we ended up spending about 2 hours setting up and sound checking, because our boy Matt the sound engineer was pretty disorganised, and didn't really have that much of a handle of the sound system. He kept on getting us to sing acapellas which was a particularly bizarre and funny highlight of soundcheck.

While this was happening, someone from the bar (let's call him plonker #1) was fiddling around in the DJ booth, training some weird moving lights on us, and asking us what colour lights we wanted. I said “pink.” Needless to say the gig looked terrible, as the performers were shrowded in pink-tinted darkness.

Sunset Cinema chose the "yellow" lighting option.

At any rate, come 10:30, we watched our friends from Sunset Cinema play, we played, during which we were heckled by this English chick who kept on yelling “can you play some Libertines?” I replied something in the realm of,
“Sure, this one is called 'Up The Bracket,'” and then we proceeded to play yet another original. This continued for the majority of the set, and even a little bit afterwards while we packed down our gear. Fuckin' weird. Anywho, we loaded out, got paid our full amount, and drove straight back to Dunedin, as I had a 10am start recording the next Verlaines album.