I had the honour of doing sound for The Verlaines a few weeks ago in Auckland and Hamilton.
On the Friday night the gig was happening at the Montecristo Room, on Nelson Street, Auckland. From my perspective the venue was "average-to good". It's mid-sized venue (I guess you could cram about 400 people in there at a stretch), with a weird pole in the middle of the room (a la Arc Cafe), and the PA, while looking impressive, was pretty boxy overall.
The gig itself was actually pretty cool - Tono and the Finance Company were on point like usual, Simon Comber played beautifully, and the Verlaines were pretty bloody good considering the difficulty of their material. There's a pretty hilarious review of the show by Haley Beatson, and a review of her review by Graeme Downes which are both well worth reading.
Ow one last thing, Montecristo had probably the worst rider I've ever seen! 12 beer between 10 performers. Nice job losers!
The next day we played at Gravity bar in Hamilton. Hamilton, Hamilton, Hamilton, what a shithole! We had to spend $400 to hire half a PA, and there was a male strip show happening over the road that night. Fun times.
The Verlaines at Gravity
I also worked out that Gravity run by the same weirdos that run Altitude (guess which bar is upstairs). It's owned by this family, I can't remember any of their names apart from Leroy (the father). He's a fuckin' odd, grumpy prick, who I've had run-ins with before (in 2004 - fortunately he didn't recognize me!).
Anyway Leroy had his system all "custom wired" so that if it got too loud his bar staff could turn the system down from behind the bar, and all that kind of shit. Unfortunately it also meant that there a bunch of other problems symptomatic of their bad wiring, including -6dB on the left hand side of FOH. The room also chronically rattled at 40Hz which made my job even harder.
So yeah anyway the gig. It was attended by about 20 people, all of which seemed to be massive fans of the headliners. The Verlaines played really bloody well, it was a massive improvement from the night before, and I was loving it.
After the show (midnight) we noticed that Hamilton was changing as it got later. More and more trashy folk were crowding the streets, security had arrived at the bar, and the bartender (who is Leroy's daughter) had taken off her sweater, and was now wearing some horrible handkerchief+shoelaces bikini top number. The music which I'd put on after the gig (probably My Bloody Valentine) had been replaced by "Cotton Eyed Joe" by the Rednex. People started streaming in. We hasitly packed up and went back to the hotel.
Epic whisky drinking post-show.
Despite how weird and wrong the gig was, I should mention that the staff at Gravity were pretty nice to us (despite Leroy being a weirdo), and we were generously looked after, all considering.