We visited Whanganui November 20 to play a show a a new venue called The Arc Theatre. A new venue that had it’s opening night only the week before. It’s an older style building -, 2 stories and a basement, near the inner-city of Whanganui, administered by Brandon. While we were setting up a local came in recounting how the building use to be a Chinese laundry in the early days of the town. It’s a small venue small, that would hold maybe 100 people at a squeeze. There are plans for it to be an art space, with the flexibility to present music, exhibitions, but thee are also plans to develop a small cinema downstairs. It’s focus seems more inclined towards the creative and experimental artistic community in town. The venue has picked up the mantle after the recent passing of Al, ALC5, who ran the legendary Eye of Night venue located on the main street. The ARC Theatre continues to honor the memory of Al by being the worthy recipients of much of Al’s gear from the Eye. And in memory to Al, the naming of ARC is the initials of AL’s full name.
And to up the coolness factor a significant notch or two, The ARC Theatre is next door neighbor to the uber hip label Stink Magnetic, administered by the infamous Tape-Man. I found a ‘cave painting’ that I believe to be an ancient rendition of the infamous Taped one, very impressive. —->
The show started gentle, folk ambling in at their leisure. Dow Jones performed first. I missed this unfortunately while away getting changed. A one-man act playing bossanova keyboard beats with sound samples. Next was the blazing punk genius of Blair Jones, another sole performance with Blair solely arm with a guitar and massive volume. Half a dozen songs of pure adrenaline.
We came on third. We we’re looking forward to this show, our first show out of town as a two piece. An exciting outing for us, a chance to present the reworked tunes to a new audience and experiment with this revised line-up. Its phenomenal how much noise/music two people can make. And brilliant back & forth banter, always easier when playing on the floor. The songs have been tweaked and some parts restructured to fit the new format, playing live is always such a great road test for material.
After us came the epic and massive unit that is Weeks Field,named after a building on the opposite side of the road to the venue. Siamese drummers and bass. Gargantuan , maybe improvised, drum & bass psychedelic rock-outs. Coloured with sporadic hooting & hollering from Brandon, one of the drummers and the venue curator.
It felt like a very successful presentation and I look forward to playing again. Whanganui is very lucky indeed to have another adventurous venue, and it’s great for touring acts as this place’ll fill a bit of a void. Always great to have new venues open, and sustained by local interest.