darkroom Holiday Special | Gig Review
Written by Lewis Hoban on 6 January 2021
The quarantines were lifted (mostly), the clouds had cleared (mostly) and Christchurch, home of some of the most underrated local groups in the entire country, was (mostly) ready to get back out there and party. All that time spent cowering in fear, curled up in a COVID-stress ball and becoming a bit too familiar with the specific nights the flatmate couple schedule their increasingly loud sex, really can get you in the mood to pay to get into a sweaty, cramped watering hole where the lighting is set to a perpetual moody. Thankfully darkroom, eponymously named, had just the festive gauntlet we musos craved in after our iso-hibernation. The darkroom Holiday Special held on Saturday 19th December was run as a charity fundraiser in support of Pillars, an organisation that supports kids who have parents in prison with over $2,500 was fundraised on the night.
Hosting a packed roster of Christchurch’s finest, attendees were treated to a variable Favourites box of live music to cap off the end of a rough year. As always, darkroom seems to act as a fishing lure for acts that have quickly become some of RDU 98.5FM’s oft-requested and played-to-heat-death playlist features. Sandwiched between them were a new talent that clearly has it in them to also be demanded in a decidedly rough text during a weekday drive shows. A good testing standard for any acts darkroom throws at you, is finding yourself continuing to flail about to the rhythm despite sweating through your best shirt and trying your best not to bump into the guy with the precariously-full pint of pale ale.
As I mentioned, these acts are a who’s-who of local talent, suited for all tastes up and down the patrician spectrum. Familiar faces like Violet French, immensely talented and one of our own, and Bin Day, a prickly punk-pop riot grrl trio fronted by darkroom co-owner Feather Shaw, got people to stop standing around awkwardly and start moving, a stillness they were probably lulled into by the blissful sounds of, hhhhhhhhh, a duo in the same vein of Death Grips, The Garden and 100 Geccs and Mousey‘s acoustic set, as she always does, wowed the buzzed crowd with some new material.
Attendees were also treated to some up and coming bands like The Gateways, who belt out some contagiously catchy punk rock tunes, Marsha, crowd favourite winners of the UC Battle of the Bands, and Too Woke for Toast, who always find a way to bring the house down. Whatever new material they happen to bring with them up on stage, it’ll soon be demanded by the rowdy audience again and again. The real powerhouses of the evening were saved until the very end. The Wendys, a band that holds a special place in my heart ever since they performed a cover of the Sonic’s earworm, The Witch at a gig a couple of years ago and I was the only one in the crowd shout-singing the bridge. They played their surefire catalogue of beachy hits, and Saint Peters Thursday, perhaps one of the most intriguing groups in the Ōtautahi scene, closed out the night with unmatched energy and ferocity that really washed out any burnouts at 1am.
All and all, what did you expect from darkroom? The place is a swirling black vortex for all of our best and brightest to kick names and take ass.
Photos by Patrick Rose
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