Crowded home: Pack into these 10 reside music venues in Aotearoa. Picture / Ateed, Provided
Rock stadium or intimate nightspot, New Zealand must be happy with its many and diversified music venues, writes Poppy Tohill
As our small nation punches above its weight with inventive expertise, we equally achieve this with locations to find and revel in such expertise. From the highest of the north to the underside of the south, from gorgeous to grungy and intimate to colossal – listed here are 10 reside music venues in Aotearoa which might be positively to not be missed. Time your subsequent brief break round a efficiency in one among them and rejoice the liberty we’ve in New Zealand to be within the midst of a crowd.
1. Powerstation, Auckland
Undoubtedly one among Aotearoa’s most iconic reside music venues, I am uncertain what’s larger – The Powerstation’s popularity or its sound. Amassing a historical past that spans 30 years, the central Auckland institution has lengthy been a favorite for native music lovers and worldwide music royalty alike. Hanging the proper steadiness between internet hosting a few of our very personal rising stars and a few of music’s greatest names, together with Kendrick Lamar and Radiohead, they’ve completely merged the technical nuance of an area with the intimacy of a small-town dive bar. Break up throughout two ranges, boasting nice acoustics and a transparent stage view at any vantage level, there is a clear motive why they’ve countlessly taken out the award for Finest Giant Venue, and with out it, the Tāmaki Makaurau music scene could be a tragic and uninteresting place.
2. Whammy Bar, Auckland
If solely partitions may speak, Whammy would certain have a whole lot of wild tales to inform. Located alongside the electrifying Karangahape Rd, nestled contained in the gorgeous structure, vibrant graffiti and array of bustling boutique shops of St Kevin’s Arcade, Whammy stays one of many final gatekeepers of the underground scene.
Undeniably the spine of the Auckland music scene, it is a well-loved second house to rock, metallic and indie bands and followers. A supportive hub for all, its intimate capability gives a extra private encounter with these performing. Full of life mosh pits, crowd-surfing and stage-diving are all pretty widespread practices, with notable recollections of devices smashed and blood shed.
Lest we overlook the time The Mint Chicks famously booked a Wednesday evening present through the top of their success that ended up so packed out an Australian group taking part in on the Kings Arms on the identical evening needed to cancel their present and beg to be added to the line-up.
3. Hollywood Theatre, Auckland
As the primary constructed cinema in Auckland, in-built 1915, and New Zealand’s oldest working cinema, The Hollywood could seem to be an unsuspecting venue for reside music, however its elegant neo-classical facade is what makes it so remarkably completely different to some other.
Occupying a first-rate spot on the busy St Georges Rd in Avondale, the venue stays a well-known native landmark, and with its ever-growing variety of rigorously chosen concert events and occasions, a magical haven for music lovers. Marlon Williams is its most up-to-date sell-out performer.
Preserving an interesting historical past, with shows of its illustrious heritage scattered all through, the two-storeyed venue can cater to followers of all ages. There is a seated balcony overlooking a spacious wood ground and relying on the evening, it may both be strewn with an viewers energetically dancing alongside to the likes of hip-hop heavyweights Avantdale Bowling Membership or a sea of these seemingly nonetheless and silent because the mesmerising voices of Aldous Harding, Nadia Reid and plenty of of New Zealand’s most interesting musical expertise echo all through the area lengthy after you depart.
4. Leigh Sawmill Cafe, Auckland
Only one hour north of central Auckland lies the small coastal neighborhood of Leigh, recognized for its love of reside music and laid again ambiance. The Leigh Sawmill Cafe, a vibrant, heat and rustic venue, fairly like no different, is the place these two issues come collectively finest.
Inextricably intertwined with a number of generations of New Zealand music, the Sawmill has performed host to many main musical acts together with Fats Freddy’s Drop, Trinity Roots and Fly My Pretties. It has been winner of the award for Finest Small Venue three years in a row and is known for hospitality to artists and followers alike, making the leisurely journey north to witness a few of our nation’s most interesting musical expertise extremely nicely price it.
5. Mangawhai Tavern, Northland
Lower than two hours out of Auckland lies this immensely fashionable summer time hotspot, house to the Mangawhai Tavern – a heritage lodge with a shocking view overlooking an estuary and placing sand dunes.
Famed for internet hosting a variety of occasions from weekend summer time classes to huge and extra intimate gigs, it has lengthy been a frequent hotspot for native rock icons similar to Shihad, the Datsuns and the Jordan Luck Band. Notorious maybe for the wild crowds the venue attracts, the story of 1 punter chipping a tooth within the Datsuns’ mosh pit and later marking the reminiscence with a tattoo of mentioned tooth nonetheless proudly lives on among the many locals.
6. Yot Membership, Raglan
One factor we’re extraordinarily fortunate to have a lot of in New Zealand is gorgeous coastal cities, and Raglan is actually one among our greatest. A surf city by way of and thru, the approach to life of locals may be very laid again, a vibe that permeates the city’s most important reside music venue, the Yot Membership which has lengthy been a daily sizzling spot for a lot of touring musicians.
With a popularity for getting rowdy, rock and reggae gigs are significantly prevalent right here and the bar affords reside music and DJs at weekends.
7. Abdomen, Palmerston North
One in all Palmerston North’s finest stored secrets and techniques for 20 years, this brilliantly named venue is an unimaginable inventive mecca for younger locals with a ardour for music. An initiative lead by Inventive Sounds Society, The Abdomen boasts a not-for-profit, judgment free reside music venue, a recording studio, and rehearsal area for all.
Solidifying itself as a well-liked cease for NZ touring bands of all calibres, the venue final yr hosted Kiwi heavyweights The Beths on their Leap Rope Gazers Album Launch Tour.
8. San Fran, Wellington
Simply as Auckland’s Whammy Bar is a part of the undefinable Karangahape Rd vibe, San Fran is similar to Wellington’s bustling Cuba St. At that good in-between measurement for established native acts and upcoming internationals, San Fran has hosted numerous legendary evenings, with its humble stage a house to acts similar to The Breeders and Fleet Foxes. Elsewhere they’d doubtless carry out in venues triple the scale.
Sitting on the centre of Wellington’s reside music scene San Fran has a exceptional popularity amongst bands as probably the greatest locations to play, and amongst music-lovers as the very best venue to witness a present. Whether or not it is pummelling heavy metallic from Alien Weaponry, or a shocking folks set from Reb Fountain, you are by no means in dangerous arms right here.
9. Wunderbar, Lyttelton
Curious or creepy? Wunderbar prides itself on oddity and being the “weirdest, coolest little bar and reside music venue in New Zealand”. It is actually amongst Aotearoa’s most unusual.
Intrinsically adorned with hair curler gentle shades, notorious dolls heads and different unusual gadgets and antiques scattered all through, it is definitely worth the go to from far and huge only for these peculiar inside touches alone.
Nevertheless, Should you discover the decorations too odd in your liking, the venue additionally overlooks the Lyttelton Harbour and binoculars might be discovered on the bar so that you can take pleasure in an much more picturesque view. Or you’ll be able to select to be simply swallowed up by the nice ambiance that the bar, employees and reside leisure present, as they showcase up-and-coming musicians and native expertise every week.
10. Darkroom, Christchurch
Not removed from the wacky Wunderbar lies Darkroom, one other quirky, intimate venue; this one hidden away in a transformed warehouse on the industrial finish of Christchurch’s St Asaph St.
In October 2011, Darkroom commendably turned the town’s first devoted reside music venue to open after the Christchurch earthquakes. Priding itself on encouraging variety in its lineups and audiences alike, the venue has since turn out to be a musical establishment, internet hosting the likes of Marlon Williams and Die! Die! Die! in addition to offering a platform for the following wave of potential stars.
Providing up a bit of one thing for everybody with common open mic nights, artwork exhibitions and gigs spanning from rock to hip-hop, folks and electronica, Darkroom could also be darkish nevertheless it’s one of many warmest, most welcoming venues of the south.