NZ website The Wireless has been hosting a series of short video documentaries on DIY touring the world produced, filmed and narrated by Ian Jorgensen of A Low Hum.
The episode on NZ features Death And The Maiden, with a short interview and some live footage filmed at Chick’s Hotel.
The video makes NZ look pretty wonderful – just wide upon spaces with the occasional tin shed or wooden hall in the countryside hosting bands and audiences abandoning themselves to the music. It’s a nice DIY alternative to the reality of city pubs.
The Puddle did their own DIY NZ tour in 2009 and their tour video does look pretty similar, so maybe this is actually the reality?
Chick’s Hotel is live music venue in Port Chalmers, which is about 15-20 minutes drive north of Dunedin. The bar and music venue is on the ground floor of a reputedly haunted 135 year old hotel.
Hard to explain just how important Chick’s has been over most of the past decade as a focus for the local alternative music scene here, but especially the last 3 and a half years after the lease was taken over by members of The Shifting Sands and friends. During that period its potential was fully realised, with a world class PA and mixing desk, lightshow, reliable start and end times, a bus service and a welcoming atmosphere for bands and audiences.
Fishrider Records has held memorable album release shows there, including the TEMPORARY compilation release mini-festival in 2014. There have been so many great shows by local bands, touring bands and even some overseas acts we never imagined we’d see in our back yard.
Sadly it is closing this weekend after a final show featuring the above-mentioned Shifting Sands and The Clean. Which is a great way to go out. Tickets – limited to 150 – will sell out so get in quick.
The local newspaper, the Otago Daily Times (ODT or “Oddity” as it is also known) featured a story and interview with Mike McLeod of Chick’s Hotel and The Shifting Sands.
The Wireless has made a short video interview/ documentary on the hotel, which includes interviews with Mike and Tom from The Shifting Sands/ Chick’s Hotel and other musicians. Read the article here and watch the video below.
Thanks for everything Mike, Tom & everyone else who has worked there and been part of making it a home away from home for music lovers and musicians. “Tally Ho!” for Sunday night.
Container port crane machinery towers incongruously over Port Chalmers and its 19th century stone buildings like some over-sized mechanical praying mantis family. Machinery hums and clanks day and night and the diesel engines of visiting container ships thicken the air with their subsonic frequency rumble.
PW Elverum (Mt Eerie) takes in the Port Chalmers view from Flagstaff, 2013
“Victory” by Death And The Maiden uses the noise of the port machinery as its unsettling background ambience. Guitarist Hope Robertson (also of Birdation and Bad Sav) has edited a fittingly disorienting impressionistic video of of the port machinery to accompany the song.
The building that has for many years been known as Chick’s Hotel in Port Chalmers, near Dunedin, was built in bluestone and brick in 1876 by former Port Chalmers mayor Henry “Harry” Dench, on the site of his Jerusalem Coffee and Chop House and Billiard Saloon, which he opened in 1864.
“There are bath-rooms for Ladies and Gentlemen, supplied with hot and cold, fresh and salt water, boats for the use of the boarders and altogether there are possible few watering-place hotels in the Colonies which afford better accommodation.”
But Dench soon ran into financial trouble and George Chick bought the building in 1879, the place being known as Chick’s Hotel (or Chicks Hotel) ever since. Former UK bicycle courier (and video star for The Smiths) Hector Hazard took over the lease in 2008 and developed the live music venue it has been ever since. Last year the members of Fishrider Records band The Shifting Sands took over the lease from Hector and have upgraded the stage and sound system to create the best small live venue in Dunedin. Supportive live music venues like Chick’s are an important contributor to the health of the local music scene here.
November 2013 marked the 1st anniversary of their reign at Chick’s so a 4 day festival was organised as both a celebration and also a (successful!) fundraiser for a Chick’s Hotel Magic Bus. As Chick’s is 15 minutes drive from Central Dunedin a regular show-night bus service has been running all year using hired vehicles (unsustainable longer term, hence the Magic Bus fundraiser). The recent Astro Children album release show was so popular it required two bus trips. Here’s a video of Males from that show:
The 4 days festival featured about 20 local bands and performers, including David Kilgour & The Heavy Eights. Fishrider Records artists involved were Trick Mammoth, Opposite Sex, The Shifting Sands and The Prophet Hens.
Here’s The Prophet Hens playing ‘All Over The World’ from their debut album ‘Popular People Do Popular People’: