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Speaker: Good Times on High Street

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  • Russell Brown,

    I missed most of the Box/Celebre era through being either out of the country or back with a young family, but I do recall coming back for the summer of 1989 all fizzed up with the acid house revolution.

    I staged a couple of big house parties at the Power Station, under the name Housequake!, and we pulled 1200 people to the second one.

    You might have expected the guy running the town's hippest club would have been a bit antsy about that (especially seeing as I was a bit "nightclubs are bullshit" at the time), but Simon's response was to warmly congratulate me. I'm sure he's forgotten it, but I thought he was very cool about it. But then, he's a cool dude.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 17969 posts Report Reply

  • Whoops,

    Surprisingly, this brought back some memories.

    All of them happy. Thanks.

    here • Since Apr 2007 • 103 posts Report Reply

  • MikeE,

    I'ev just posted this on NZRave.com with a link back here, hope you don't mind, def think this is something a new generation of clubbers should read...

    Kingsland • Since Nov 2006 • 138 posts Report Reply

  • 3410,

    Those were the days, my friend. Three or four nights a week cruising downtown at about midnight with two packs of Marlboro Reds, and drinking 'til dawn. Thanks, Hat, for all the Chartreuse. Sometimes I wonder how it is that I'm still alive.

    Musically, fondest memories are the Nathan Haines band fronted by Joel when Nathan was off in NY or somewhere; like a low-rent Bitches-Brew-meets-Band-of-Gypsys. That drummer Tony was a nice geezer, wasn't he?

    Auckland • Since Jan 2007 • 2618 posts Report Reply

  • Alan Perrott,

    ooo, good times indeed Simon...loved your work.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 285 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    I'ev just posted this on NZRave.com with a link back here, hope you don't mind, def think this is something a new generation of clubbers should read...

    Thanks Mike. That's a nice thing to do.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 17969 posts Report Reply

  • Millycent,

    Ah the memories... I've got some fantastic photographs taken down at Celebre and the Box that I haven't gone through for a while, I'll have to see if I can find them this weekend. No doubt it'll bring on the 'wonder what happened to....' moments and I'm grinning already just thinking about it.

    What great times we had dancing the night away down there. Makes me feel positively old just thinking about it now!

    huh? • Since Mar 2009 • 3 posts Report Reply

  • Gareth Ward,

    As someone who came relatively late to the Box and Celebre (mid-later90s) due to birthdate can I just say a genuine Thanks for building it to such an institution in time for my poorly-botched "ID" to be usable.
    While there's always great enjoyment to be had in being at the vanguard of something like that, it also meant a lot of fun to those of us who hit it at it's later peak.

    Any house record I've subsequently played was kicked off by exposure to sets by the Robs, Soane, Claire, and Greg et al down there. Chur

    Auckland, NZ • Since Mar 2007 • 1712 posts Report Reply

  • Tom Beard,

    Ah, so many memories. Actually, no: I only lived briefly in Auckland in the mid-90s, and combined with the fact that very few of my circle shared my love for electronic music, that meant that I very rarely made it to The Box. One moment did stand out for me though: a veritable rainstorm of distilled perspiration puring down on the dancefloor as we did our best to dance to Moby's "Thousand". I think I permanently broke something that night.

    A few years later, I was staying with a friend who lived (illegally) in his small office/studio space several floors above The Box (though I'm not sure whether it had become something else by then). It was a distinctively muggy Auckland night, and the venue was hosting an album launch party for Prodigy's "Fat of the Land". I've always made a moral point of not complaining about bar noise when I live in the inner city, but by about 4am I found myself leaning out the window shouting "I know you're the f*cking Firestarter, now shut the f*ck up!"

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 1037 posts Report Reply

  • Tom Semmens,

    Hiya Simon - could you fire me an email - tom.semmens@biggie.net.nz please?

    Thanks!

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 1711 posts Report Reply

  • FletcherB,

    Musically, fondest memories are the Nathan Haines band fronted by Joel when Nathan was off in NY or somewhere; like a low-rent Bitches-Brew-meets-Band-of-Gypsys. That drummer Tony was a nice geezer, wasn't he?

    Me too... they were called Freebase or Freebass ? I was not a frequent customer, only saw them 2 or 3 times

    A tune would go on for 20 or 30 minutes, and they were just improvising so wildly that you could one moment be thinking "wow, this is the most vibrant exciting mind blowing thing I've ever heard in my life" and then a little later it would be "man you guys are playing dross, get your shit together" and then back to mind-blowing again... all in the same piece.

    Those good bits are still the most energized I've ever been from music.

    I was there one night when quite a few of the visiting professional musos from some touring Australian show came down after their gig to join in and have a blow with them.... They did add some bits but were frequently quite a bit lost as to how they could join in.... but had the sense to shut up rather than ruin it.

    Good times indeed.

    West Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 782 posts Report Reply

  • Jim Cathcart,

    Whatever happened to the Hat? First went to Cause Celebre with a band of Whangarei roughnecks with our small town attitudes and egos. I think we all went back north with a different view of the world after that night.

    Since Nov 2006 • 114 posts Report Reply

  • Blake Monkley,

    Simon, you forgot to mention the pool table.

    But then, he's a cool dude.

    I'll second that.

    Auckland • Since Jul 2008 • 213 posts Report Reply

  • Robyn Gallagher,

    When I first moved to Auckland in 1997, I used to go out dancing at the Box. But because I was never off my face, I never really enjoyed it. It was just jigging about with a bunch of people I didn't really know very well. It seemed like following a template for a good night out, but not actually managing to have a good time. At the time, I wrote about it on my website.

    But now I like having a good kanikani with my friends.

    Raglan • Since Nov 2006 • 1823 posts Report Reply

  • Julian Melville,

    I never made it to the clubs themselves, but I loved the Freebass album that was recorded there. It disappeared with an old girlfriend in the mid 90's.

    I managed to put it back together years later -- the cover came from the department store over the road from Sydney Town Hall (they couldn't find the CD so they gave me the cover) and the CD came from a discount store in Coffs Harbour.

    A bit of persistence pays off in the end!

    Auckland • Since Dec 2006 • 180 posts Report Reply

  • FletcherB,

    I still play my Freebass CD occasionally... it's good stuff..... but it wasnt half as good as what I heard live the few times I saw them.

    It really was special.

    West Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 782 posts Report Reply

  • 3410,

    Me too... they were called Freebase or Freebass ?

    I think Freebass was something different, though likely some of the same people involved. Freebass had a live tape -- from that upstairs place on Ponsonby Road (?) -- which I played a lot, before the CD, if memory serves.

    Auckland • Since Jan 2007 • 2618 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    The earlier clubs in the lineage noted by Simon have their stories too. I remember being Christchurch and hearing and reading about A Certain Bar. David Swift of The Press came back from a holiday to Auckland and eagerly informed us of this totally-now bar where he'd heard this totally-awesome song called 'The Message'.

    I went there later, after I'd moved to Auckland. I was there the night that The Body Electric played, and a somewhat worse-for-wear Barry Jenkin disapproved so strongly that he unplugged the stage power lead. I don't recall what happened after that ...

    Apart from the evil prick who ran security there for a long time, Zanzibar was a fun place. I ended up there a lot after hours. The song I always associate with that place is Stephanie Mills' 'Pilot Error', as dropped by Mr Urlich.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 17969 posts Report Reply

  • Simon Grigg,

    Cheers all.

    Simon, you forgot to mention the pool table.

    U2 bought it in when they hired Celebre and we argued against it but it never left

    Freebass

    was the band that Nathan and Joel played with before Nathan and The Enforcers. It was led by the Harrop Brothers and grew out of Jazz Committee, which the Harrops and The Haines played in as teens...Joel early teens. They released the album RAW: Live at Cause Celebre on Kane Massey and Mark Tierney's Deepgrooves label, which is long deleted now, although I managed to track down a copy on Ebay this week to replace my long missing copy.

    That drummer Tony was a nice geezer, wasn't he?

    Tony Hopkins, a rather legendary figure in NZ music who'd played with countless people including Johnny Devlin & The Devils. That was one of the highs of CC for me, hanging with those sorts of guys..Frank Gibson, Tommy Addlerly, Bruno Lawrence and many more faces of the NZ music scene when I was a kid. Without exception they were wonderful and Tom, Ann & I used to sit and listen to the stories for hours

    Housequake!

    I loved Housequake..fantastic parties which just added to the breadth of what we were all trying to do. You were able to use the 'just back from London' angle, which worked wonders back then, to take the music we were pushing to a wider audience..they were important gigs. I think when they happened we were all pretty positive about anything which pushed what we (and I mean others like Jason Miller and Grant Fell too with their parties at the Railway Station circa 89/90) saw, rightly or wrongly, as a something musically important.

    Just another klong... • Since Nov 2006 • 3185 posts Report Reply

  • Simon Grigg,

    I was there the night that The Body Electric played, and a somewhat worse-for-wear Barry Jenkin disapproved so strongly that he unplugged the stage power lead. I don't recall what happened after that ...

    I booked that gig and Alan Janson and I have been mates ever since. Barry hated it. I love Barry but his world kinda narrowed after the end of the punk thing. Apparently at the AK79 reunion he was telling me off, to my face, for bringing disco to NZ. Apart from the fact that I'm a million miles from being responsible for that, I wasn't even at the gig...he was berating an innocent party

    Just another klong... • Since Nov 2006 • 3185 posts Report Reply

  • Ian Dalziel,

    It does get in...

    'The Message'.

    that's "flashed" up on two threads in two days now - giving Oedipus a run for his money
    - Ha uh hah hah ha : )

    ...and Russell fond memories (well fragments of flashbacks really) of the 6 Month Club after RIU deadlines, too...

    But remember we had Greg Churchill in Chch for years first - I still have some of the posters (Dominator amongst others) I put together for him for those fun nights upstairs at Noahs. (and didn't Tony Peake have a club also called Zanzibar down here ...)

    I guess on the planet Solaris these clubs are all still going - in space no one can hear you scream...
    right?

    yrs
    Fayed Toogrey

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 4225 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    Simon, re Barry: LOL.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 17969 posts Report Reply

  • Tim Michie,

    That combination of jazz/dance was just right for those nights. Surf the jazz at Celebre and hit the dancefloor for a bit if the energy flagged. Nothing like finding something so groovy in the early hours.

    I went maybe 10 times, a real treat I had the dosh and the nerve...

    Gone but not forgotten.

    Thanks Simon et al.

    Auckward • Since Nov 2006 • 522 posts Report Reply

  • Mikaere Curtis,

    For the longest time it seemed that whenever we went into town, we'd always seem to end up at Cause Celebre / Box. As others have mentioned, the jazz was fantastic, especially in the wee smalls. The vibe was great too, chilled and upbeat at the same time. The only thing I remember about the band was that the (very awesome) guitarist was flown of to LA to session on Tim Finn's "Persuasion" single. The lead break is very crisp.

    I met my wife at a gig at Temple. After the gig, we all piled down to Cause Celebre and had a really good time. I'll never forget that night...

    Tamaki Makaurau • Since Nov 2006 • 443 posts Report Reply

  • Danielle,

    I think I only went there once! I wasn't 20 until late 1994, and my fake ID only worked at the Power Station... and until 1996 I was all into moody guitar music. I missed out, clearly.

    Still, since we're in a S. Grigg Appreciation Thread, Simon once dedicated a song to me in 1998, during Beats Per Minute, when I was in Baton Rouge and very homesick, listening on the tubes. Thanks dude. :)

    Charo World. Cuchi-cuchi!… • Since Nov 2006 • 3583 posts Report Reply

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