Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Wellington, Raglan & Auckland (by Mikey)

Right, so this is slightly belated, and a little hazy. Since the following transpired, I've flown home, sorted a bunch of other stuff, and headed out on a different tour (Made in China / Osmium). Forgive me if things seem a bit messed up!

I flew into Welly's on Thursday 20, where I met Seedy at the airport. We headed into town, checked out the local eateries (S & Millsy headed to Christian Cullen's bar for brunch and pool, myself to a French café who served me a great meal of bacon and eggs for $7.50!), and wandered the town a bit. Back to all-round legend Craig's place to pick up the guys, and into town again for load in / set up. The Garden club, and manager Glenn are great, this venue has basically everything one could possibly need to put on a decent show, and have fun doing it. We sorted check by about 8, and I headed off to see some friends, while the guys set up the door and found some food. Trippy having band members on the door again, after our multi-year pleasure cruise with Petey Reid taking care of such things, we miss you buddy! Nonetheless, Stevo took the opportunity to socialise with some known punters, while opening band force fields got things moving inside.

These guys are interesting. Guitar pop, with loads of pedals, delays and interesting tones. They reminded me of Dunedin band the Threads a bit, somehow. By this stage it was pretty clear that the turnout for the night was going to remain a bit sparse. Nonetheless the small but very appreciative crowd were treated to a fantastic set from LOR. Things sounded a bit huge at times in the Garden club room, as the high ceiling and reverby nature of the band's sounds bounced about a fair bit. I ended up cutting a lot of verb from the mix to control it. A solid show , and a rather efficient load-out. We never did manage the game of post-load out pack down car park cricket that was set up though. Crispy helpfully suggesting that sports should perhaps take a back seat if we wanted to get to Paraparaumu, sleep, and be on the road at a reasonable time for the next day's Raglan mission. Which is exactly what we did, sort of.

We were awake and moving northwards by at 10am having treated ourselves to a five hour sleep, rather than the expected three and a half hour power nap, and the trip northwards ground on throughout the day with few events. Great company, and some buzzy conversations took the edge off the seven hour drive, and we made it to the yacht club before 6pm. Pete Coddington (Yot Club owner, who we didn't meet last time) was truely fantastic. A round of beers on arrival, arrangements for the extra gear we needed to be there when we got in, and a mean feed of local fish and chips in the middle of set up - amazing stuff! Took us (well, mainly me) a good while to get things set up, as we were building the rig from a few sources of gear, and I was a bit heartbroken to discover that one of the channels on our 'swiss army knife' soundcraft fx 8 desk had developed a weird fault, whereby the 'mute button' was now a 'loud banging noise' switch, and turning the fader up made things louder, and then quieter as one approached any sort of volume. Shite! TD's (technical difficulties - it should tell you something that we've developed an acronym for these things) aside, things were built, working and sounding sweet in time for us to head back to the accom pete had arranged - a great downstairs flat in a mate's house. A quiet beer, a shower (novelty factor +++) for a few of the guys, and we were headed back to the venue.

Yot Club is what I'd call a small time-frame venue. The place is quiet until about 10.30pm, flat out from 11 onwards, and the licence ends at 1am. LOR played one truly great set, with another attempt at the 'how far can we possibly take a cover of Dreadlock Holiday before people forget which song we're playing' routine from last time. I forgot somewhere during the drum & bass, noise jam transition(!). Also fantastic to hear Do Things back in the setlist - a track particularly suited to the Raglan crowd, who for the most part, were about the groove, rather than the riff, if you know what I mean. Back to the accom with Pete and half a bottle of Jamiesons, and the heads hit the pillows for another night. I enjoyed waking up to a great view of the Raglan shoreline in the morning - very often we don't see anything of the places in which we put on shows other than the venue, as often the schedules get a bit tight, to say the least. After a sharp load out and a casual breakfast falafel we were off to Auckland, where Khuja's 69 step, four floor load in greeted us.

Khuja is a cool venue, once the show starts. Support act Yebiisu were great in helping sort out, and had Red Bull studios drop off some extra gear to make things sound a little bit 'bigger' than the small dance-floor house system could manage. Unfortunately, with the long, tiring load in, and a bit of piecing things together p.a. wise, it was after 9pm by the time Hampo and I escaped to partake of the local cuisine (Wendys), and nip back half an hour later for the show to start.

Yebiisu are great. Pretty casual dubby, ska-ish stuff, but tight as all hell live, and great stage presence. Left or Right's set was once again a pleasure to watch and mix, though I felt I was a bit less on the money with the dubs and delays this night snd Stevo had a standing-on-leads-and-unplugging-bass nightmare, which repeated itself a few times during the set. Awesome crowd, seriously augmented by the contingent of southerners up for the Big Day Out which had gone down in the city the day before. The wee Martin rig the Red Bull folks had provided was pushed to within an inch of it's life, everyone had a great time, Tequila was consumed, I (sans Tequila ingestion) drove the band back out to past Takanini in a massive rainstorm, and we finally got some sleep into us.

The next morning saw me jetting back to Dunedin, leaving the guys to continue the tour sans audio fairy ? I hear things are going nicely, and you can hear a few classic tales in the next installment, written by someone other than the resident audio-nerd.
Cheers and 'til next time
- Mike-orth."

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