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Speaker: Hall of Memories

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  • John Farrell,

    My memories are from much longer ago - being in a "Gang Show" at His Majestys, watching a troupe from the Royal Shakespeare Company play "A Comedy of Errors", attending various Capping Concerts, and a performance of "Hair".

    This was before the foyer part of the building was demolished.

    Dunedin • Since Nov 2006 • 499 posts Report

  • James Littlewood*,


    Aah, the 80s.

    Auckland • Since Mar 2008 • 410 posts Report

  • Paul Campbell,

    I wish I had some experience to share here, I'm pretty sure I've never been to a gig there - though strangely I do have a decided memory of what it looks like inside .....

    Mind you we really should have done this exact thread for the Cook .... though probably that should have been done years before it closed .... most of my Dunedin music memories are from there

    Dunedin • Since Nov 2006 • 2623 posts Report

  • Russell Brown,

    Just to note that the consensus on Twitter yesterday was that the bargain price probably indicates a fair bit of earthquake compliance work is due.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22850 posts Report

  • Sacha,

    I think I almost cried when The Clean played 'Tally Ho'. I had never heard it live, and never thought I would.

    Same experience when they played Chch while I was down there. Magic.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19745 posts Report

  • John Farrell, in reply to Russell Brown,


    There are a lot of bricks in that building

    Dunedin • Since Nov 2006 • 499 posts Report

  • Paul Campbell,

    and it's built on fill

    Dunedin • Since Nov 2006 • 2623 posts Report

  • Andrew Geddis,


    Just because traditional Americana is not to your taste is no reason to throw around epithets like "excruciating"! And the reason it was "barely discernible" is because we'd blown the speaker stacks the song before.

    Dunedin • Since Nov 2007 • 206 posts Report

  • octopusgrrl, in reply to John Farrell,

    That's the so-called "Vogel St frontage" according to the real estate blurb... not exactly inspiring, but you can see the proscenium arch in the brickwork, which is pretty cool.

    Great to finally see it with the lights on in the real estate photos - it's a pretty amazing space! I really hope it doesn't get demolished, but I imagine the earthquake strengthening costs would be pretty prohibitive :-/

    Dunedin • Since May 2009 • 33 posts Report

  • Robbie Ellis,

    Long-time lurker, first-time commenter.

    In October 2011, I was visiting Dunedin for the first time as an adult, scoping out a place to live during my Mozart Fellowship the following year.

    Separate to that, Paul Smith of the Dunedin Fringe had found my name on a Theatreview write-up of a Wellington production called Zomburlesque, and wanted to entice us to his festival. I had a phone conversation with him about venues, and he recommended I look at Sammy's.

    Sam Chin unlocked the place for me and walked me through. We blocked off dates there and then. Despite its out-of-the-way location and its larger than necessary size for our expected audience, I couldn't think of a venue more ideal than Sammy's for a show called Zomburlesque. My excitement grew and grew as Dunedin locals told me its legends. Four months later, the Wellington crew flew into town, walked in the door the day before opening night, and lost their shit. Damn it looked good.

    On opening night, one of our characters led a zombie walk from the Octagon to Sammy's. We had a jug band play on the procession; we'd borrowed a coffin from Allen Hall (which people people carried on their shoulders all the way), and we had one hell of a season.

    Chicago • Since Nov 2015 • 1 posts Report

  • John Farrell,


    Other large brick buildings in Dunedin have been upgraded – this one is just along Vogel St, opposite Vogel Street Kitchen.

    Dunedin • Since Nov 2006 • 499 posts Report

  • Marcus Turner,

    I'm fairly sure I saw Hoppalong Cassidy there. I think it was one of the shorts for a feature movie long forgotten.

    Later, I saw the Pogues there. I only lasted one song before walking out. I really didn't like the performance or sound. As we strolled away, I remember my brother saying that it was just as well we were part of the middle classes and could afford to do this sort of thing ...

    Since Nov 2006 • 212 posts Report

  • LIISA,

    The only time I was there was May 2005 for Radio One's 21st anniversary gig, featuring Gestalt Switch, Die! Die! Die! and (great excitement) Straitjacket Fits; all of which we recorded for Radio New Zealand (obviously didn't get online rights for SJF, darn it). We were so excited to be able to take a full recording set up and crew. It was a great show, and the venue really contributed to the atmos and mythology of the night - I met so many of my musical heroes. I was also secretly pregnant and so happy the bebe (now 10, with undamaged hearing and OK music taste) was getting to hear SJFits live. Bliss.

    Wellie • Since May 2008 • 46 posts Report

  • Warren Clark,

    It's sad to see so many of my old drinking grounds no longer there. Gardies, Chicks. The Bowler all gone now. I do so hope the Crown is still there.

    In the Lower Hutt. • Since Nov 2006 • 14 posts Report

  • John Farrell, in reply to Warren Clark,

    It is.

    Dunedin • Since Nov 2006 • 499 posts Report

  • Andrew Geddis, in reply to Warren Clark,

    Chicks is still going strong - Shellac are playing a two night stand there at the end of the month!

    Dunedin • Since Nov 2007 • 206 posts Report

  • Vivid, in reply to Andrew Geddis,

    Chicks have just announced on Facebook that they're closing early next year.

    Wairarapa • Since May 2015 • 43 posts Report

  • Justin McLean,

    Great read, thanks Grant. It'd be remiss of me not to clear this up: Toby was the culprit. He sat on Emily's hand and broke her finger. It was definitely at Sammy's, however, and quite possibly at a Funhouse gig. Thanks for the memories and go in peace now. I'll keep quiet about the rest.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2015 • 1 posts Report

  • Paul Campbell, in reply to Vivid,

    Chicks have just announced on Facebook that they’re closing early next year.

    Yes today's ODT

    Dunedin • Since Nov 2006 • 2623 posts Report

  • Ian Dalziel,

    is reality created by observation or consensus...

    Chicks is still going strong ...

    nek minit

    Chicks have just announced on Facebook that they’re closing early next year.

    Could this be proof of 'Commentator's Curse' or 'Morphic Resonance'?

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 7953 posts Report

  • Grant Robertson, in reply to Justin McLean,

    Ok, I think this is coming back to me more clearly now. It is Emily I owe the apology too as it was my 'enthusiasm' that led Toby to end up sitting on her hand. I couldn't quite remember if it was a Verlaines or Funhouse gig. I had thought it might have been the famous Stumble/Tremble Verlaines gig, but given the cast of characters in the audience more likely a Funhouse production. Cheers!

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 25 posts Report

  • Grant Robertson, in reply to Andrew Geddis,

    Fair enough. Now, can you get that R. D.Ponce manager fella to call off "the big guys"....

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 25 posts Report

  • Don Reid,

    Great post Grant, thanks. I remember the J &MC gig really well especially for seeing Straitjacket Fits as the incredible support act. Lots of other gigs to remember, the Chills playing around 86 (after Leather Jacket) was great, the Clean of course and of the overseas bands I remember Shriekback playing a blinder. A few years ago one of my students was the music editor at Critic and was existed about interviewing Finn Andrews as the Veils were about to play at Sammy's. I told her I'd see Finn's father play in Shriekback at the same venue 25 years earlier. Her look of dis-interest was withering.

    Hobart, Tasmania • Since Jul 2014 • 16 posts Report

  • Kyle Matthews,

    Faith No More played in Sammys in 1993 - which I have very happy memories of. But my best memory there will always be Munky Kramp's farewell gig, with the band playing the final song, Demarnia sitting off to the side of the stage right in front of me, crying and singing, and the guitarist throwing leftover posters into the audience. Truly excellent.

    Since Nov 2006 • 6243 posts Report

  • Shaun Scott,

    Great memories, and a great post, Grant.
    I do have some hazy recollections of it as a nightclub in the early 80's, and sneaking in as a 16 year old. But better memories are from later years.
    I first met Rae outside Sammys, at a protest around 1989 when it was being used to host a touring strip show. Rae rather impressed me standing up to two drunk, abusive slobs who were heading in. Her comment, when one of them pulled out a condom and started to put it on his head, was "yeah, you are a complete dickhead". Perfect.
    The thrill of taking our son more than 20 years after that auspicious meeting to the 3Ds/Puddle/Street Chant gig (flying nun 30th?) surpassed by seeing him onstage last year drumming with Kane Strang, and then with Astro Children recently there too (sadly missed that one).
    I too remember being misty eyed seeing the Clean for the first time ever there (Vehicle album release), 3D's, Verlaines, Radio 1 lip-synch (so much better than it sounds!), Violent Femmes, Michelle Shocked, Supergroove, Death and the Maiden,Straitjacket Fits, Fugazi and many many more- all part of a brilliant history of the place.

    Dunedin • Since Dec 2008 • 90 posts Report

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