It's weird to think back and realise that this particular show was only our fourth. It felt like a bit of a big deal, thanks to Scott Muir we were the only support act for what was (at the time) one of The Chills' infrequent live shows. And The Empire had just been reopened as a live venue again, hosting shows by mainly heritage Dunedin acts.
Given the prestige of the support slot, the semi-legendary status of the venue in Dunedin musical lore and The Chills' rare local shows, there was a bit of production behind the show, with the entire thing being filmed on video by not just one, but two cameras. On top of that there were many people taking photographs, and the venue itself (which could never be mistaken for a large, or even medium sized place) was full of people.
There was some small amount of weirdness from various quarters that night. The drummer of The Chills, although it is common practice for bands in Dunedin to share the drum kit for ease of setup and pack down, wasn't interested in letting someone else play his kit. Which is fair enough: after all, it's his gear. And shit, the volume Sam can get from his drums can certainly make you fear for their safety. But he also didn't want his kit moved out of the way to allow us to set up ours, and if you've ever seen the size of the stage at The Empire, you'll know just how ridiculous that is. The venue owner used to be in The Knobz, by all accounts, and seemed to have no love for support bands, or maybe just didn't want to display any sort of camaraderie with his fellow humans by maybe giving out a beer or two.
What was pretty cool, though, was poking around the upstairs area of The Empire. It's, like, four stories high! And has been host to many a great Dunedin musical act. Iain Sweetman was teamed with Gordy from Strawberry Sound to provide gear for lighting and sound work, so the place was well decked out. There were some interns from Denmark at the place I worked at at the time along, and they decided it would be funny to smear marmite or something on some old undies and throw them at me at the end of the gig. To be honest, it was pretty funny.
Boy, that venue was an awkward place to move around in when there's a few people in it. Luckily the stage is deceptively high (you've really gotta put your knees to work to climb up on it) so pretty much everyone can see the band. When Tim asked each of us on stage what each of our favourite Chills songs were, my immediate answer was Pink Frost. Later I wish I'd said Lost in Space in an effort to appear like an uber-fan and display my in-depth knowledge of their unreleased works, but really, Pink Frost is absolutely my favourite. The show itself? Well, we were certainly a bit rough at the start, but we got there in the end I think. After the show someone asked Tim to sign the lining of their jacket, as they already had Martin and everyone else's signature. Tim dutifully signed it, knowing full well that this guy had somehow mistaken him for a member of The Chills. I bet that dude kicked himself later on, Tim's signature is literally worthless.
So, the sound you can hear on this recording is another from the trusty minidisc recorder, this time nestled by Karen McLean (she of Onanon fame). Stephen Stedman, (he of Detah by Silo and Glovepuppet fame) is another prominent voice on the recording, as they were standing right next to each other.
Good dudes Dan Alexander and Sam Caldwell were the two video camera operators on the night, and Dan later edited the footage and placed it with this very recording to create the first Off The Cuff: B Sides extravaganza. Witness the sweat! Witness how proud I am of my Chills t shirt! Witness Tim's kinda wispy moustache! Be wary of the glowing earholes I had, due to UV lights mixed with fluorescent ear plugs!
You can witness it all here:
Many thanks to Dan Alexander, Sam Caldwell, Karen McLean, all the Danes (but particularly Bjarke), Roger Grauwmeijer, Iain Sweetman & Gordy, and most thanks of all to Scott Muir.
Dave, May 2015
The original liner notes are as follows:
"This was a nice parallel, my first band had played a support slot to The Chills too, and we all had connections with them at some point (as well as being fans). It felt like a good show; got a desk recording too courtesy of Iain ‘Awesome Guy’ Sweetman; I got soiled men’s underwear thrown at me at the end of the set by those damned Danish boys; Daniel ‘Also Awesome’ Alexander filmed us, I’ve never had so many cameras pointed at me; Tim was mistaken for a member of The Chills (easy enough to do) and was asked to autograph a guy’s jacket alongside the rest of The Chills; Margi turned up especially to take our pictures outside, but Tim was wayward so that was a bust; the owner of the bar would only give us five dollar handles (gee, thanks) so Sam cajoled a barman for free drinks when he left the room; the place was actually pretty full, even when we were playing...all up, good times I’d say.
DAVE, JUNE 2010
RECORDED LIVE TO MINIDISC BY KAREN McLEAN. TRANSFERED TO PRISTINE DIGITAL CLEANLINESS BY USE OF PROTOOLS FREE"