Hard News by Russell Brown


Heads up for music

It was not only the physical infrastructure of Christchurch that was laid waste in February's earthquake, but the city's cultural infrastructure too. The local indie music community lost nearly all its regular venues. Now, James "Lawrence Arabia" Milne, son of Christchurch, has organised a benefit gig in Auckland to try and put some of that back.

James says the fundraiser is "specifically to support some events and new venues that are providing opportunities for local bands to play, and equally importantly providing places for people to gather and drink and talk and do the normal things that have become really difficult since the February earthquake."

It's at the King's Arms on Sunday, May 22, and the lineup is sweet: The Bats, Lawrence Arabia, Drab Doo-Riffs, Street Chant, Princess Chelsea and Dictaphone Blues. It starts at 3pm and the last band on is The Bats at 9pm. Kids are welcome and there'll be food for sale (also to benefit the cause) from Ripe Deli.

I won't be there -- ironically, I'll be in Christchurch that day -- but you should certainly consider it.


Another Christchurch benefit project -- and a total blast from the past for me -- is the album 1981 Christchurch Reunion Night, which stems from a show at Lyttelton's Wunderbar on February 6, which a bunch of old codgers and codgeresses -- including Ritchie Venus, Stepford Five and Cindy (formerly Sandra of the excellent 25 Cents) -- got together for a laugh and play. The CD includes recordings from the night and rare tracks from the likes of the Solatudes and Bill Direen.

You can buy it here from Amplifier on CD or as MP3s. Half the proceeds go to the Christchurch relief fund.


My old mate Chris Matthews (late of Children's Hour and the Headless Chickens) is playing the King's Arms tonight with his band Robot Monkey Orchestra -- and there's a Christchurch connection there too in support act Squirm, who are back from the 90s with their art/punk/glam thing. (Our Media7 sound guy is very excited about Squirm.)

Happily, I have a double pass to the show tonight to give away. First reader to email me gets it.

Less happily, I won't be there either, having committed myself to the serious business of James Hansen's lecture at the Auckland Universty School of Business tonight. Please do rock out on my behalf.


And this just in from Flying Nun: The 3Ds Early Recordings 1989-90, researched and compiled by Bruce Russel and featuring tracks from the band's features seven previously unreleased demo tracks, alongside digitally re-mastered versions of the band’s first two EPs - Fish Tails and Swarthy Songs For Swabs.

Some of these unheard demos were originally recorded for Bruce's Xpressway label, and the album also includes a version of 'Meluzina Man' off the Xpressway Pile Up compilation and the unheard track 'The Burrymen'. There's also a 16-page booklet with liner notes by Bruce Russell detailing the history of the band.

It's not out till the end of the month, but you can preview a couple of tracks on Bandcamp right now.

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