3rd Annual NZ Comics Weekend

For the third year in a row, the New Zealand Comics Weekend is up and running from at Graphic Comic Shop (106 Cuba Street), and the Southern Cross Garden Bar (39 Abel Smith Street, Wellington.)

This annual festival of independent comics runs alongside the Armageddon Pulp Culture Expo in order to showcase and highlight the underground talents in New Zealand Comics.

More info here at Feeling Great.

A Mighty Mighty Mighty Weekend

Not only is The Mighty Mighty one of our favourite bars, what with its endearingly gauché fit out and entertainingly gauché barstaff and wot-not, but this weekend they host two very exciting (and very different!) gigs.

Mëstar are touring their recent album Shut The Squizwot Factories Down and on Friday night (the 20th) they play at Mighty Mighty with Hot Swiss Mistress:

(Sorry for the stink photo of the gig poster but it was the best I could do with my phone-camera on the way to work this morning.)

And then, on Saturday night (the 21st), at the starting time of 9pm is the avant-punk theatrics of Mr. Sterile Assembly, with Xenu and Thee Strapons:

Alt.country at the Bathhouse

American alt.country legends Richard Buckner and Edith Frost are playing together at the San Francisco Bathhouse on Wednesday night.

There are three kinds of American folk artist: those who sit, contented, on a back porch contemplating America’s landscape and ways; those for whom its landscape and ways are something to stand against or move boldly through; and those whose America is a shadowy, impressionistic place that moves inside of them. This [latter] is the area that the sombre-voiced Richard Buckner has been exploring since 1984 –(Sylvie Simmons; The Guardian, 2004)

Anti-Fascist Protective Rampart

Our very own Anti-Fascist Protective Rampart has been up for months now, and remains as ugly as ever.

Looking south towards Friedrichstraße *cough* I mean Abel Smith Street:

… and north towards Ghuznee Street. In the distance, over the wall, we see the symbols of capitalism brazenly and proudly flaunted:

All we are really missing are some sentry towers, razor wire, and anti-personnel mines. Somebody really needs to finish this damn “bypass” already.

Extravaganza of Progressive Post-Rock

Post-rock is a done-to-death description but as a semaphore of intent it still serves a certain purpose. First coined by music-journo Simon Reynolds as a term to describe progressive music “using rock instrumentation for non-rock purposes, using guitars as facilitators of timbre and textures rather than riffs and power chords”, its use was rapidly spread during the 90s by breathless writers suddenly overwhelmed by seemingly-infinite possible music-futures. Reynolds further expounded:

perhaps the really provocative area for future development lies… in cyborg rock; not the wholehearted embrace of Techno’s methodology, but some kind of interface between real time, hands-on playing and the use of digital effects and enhancement.

… which in itself has turned out to be suitably ambitious, as in general attempts at an amalgam of real-time instrumentation and digital frippery have turned out to be a big horrible mess (with notable exceptions, of course).

The Dead C are coming to town

I wouldn’t wanna put money on it or anything, but I’m pretty sure that the last time legendary NZ noise-rockers The Dead C (wikipedia) played in Wellington was when they supported Sonic Youth on their Dirty tour in 1993. And to be frank, with an utterly transcendant performance in the face of much tribulation, mopped the floor with them.

Now they’re playing at the City Gallery on Saturday night. It’s free. What the hell else do you need to know?

City Gallery Wellington is proud to present The Dead C. These noise/rock heroes who have most recently played in the UK at Thurston Moore‘s All Tomorrow’s Parties festival will perform in the Gallery. Support from local band Thought Creature. Gallery opens at 7. Music starts 8. Be sure to make it to this unique performance.

Here’s a (reasonably famous) video of The Dead C on now-defunct Friday-nite music show Ground Zero in 1999, playing Sky (off what some claim to be their greatest album, Harsh 70s Reality) and talking about Suicide with the hosts:

A Friday night and a Saturday morning

Down at the City Gallery on Friday night they are running another one of their Late Night Sessions, where you get to cruise around the big exhibition (this time it’s the biennial Prospect show) in relative peace and listen to lovely live music while you do so. And all for free.

City Gallery’s popular late night Friday returns. Wander through Telecom Prospect 2007: New Art New Zealand to a backdrop of independent and electronic sounds by local performers. Featuring Peneloping, Tc Wedde with Luke Buda, and Aspen.

The lovely Luke Buda is of course in The Phoenix Foundation, as is (the equally lovely) Tc Wedde. Aspen is also lovely and also known as Signer, and is one half of Over the Atlantic and one half of Skallander. And the "medium-core girl-boy plinkpop!" Peneloping also have a very good reputation as a live act. Having experienced Late Night Sessions many times before – from the point of view both of a performer and a patron – I can heartily recommend this event.

A drink for Autumn: the Negroni

At the wind whips at us with its chill flails, the blustery wet drizzle envelops our heads as we peraumbulate along the streets of downtown, as the night glows into the dawn with a dull damp violet cloud — we’re gonna need a drink to ward off the misery of the season. So I present to you the mulled-wine of the cocktail family: The Negroni.

It seems there are not a lot of people who will admit to a fondness for Campari. Indeed it was not two nights ago that a drinking companion of mine brayed something incoherent about “earwax” when the dreaded C-word was mentioned during a free-ranging session over at mine. However, for all its perceived sins, without Campari you would not have a Negroni.

It is the Campari that is the medicinal “bitter” and provides the characteristic flavor of the Negroni. A little background: according to my sources, Compari was concocted by Gaspare Campari in the 1850s. Gaspare, at only age 14, was the master drink maker at the Bass Bar in Turin, which was the commercial center for aperitifs at the time. Campari is made with natural ingredients that include herbs, spices, bark and fruit peels. The exact formula is of course a highly guarded secret. And as far as the Negroni is concerned, as with all great cocktails stories differ, but the most popular account of its origin is that Count Camillo Negroni, a Florentine aristocrat, decided one day to add some bite to his favorite drink, the Americano. He had the bartender add gin. From that time on he ordered the same drink every day. Eventually the bartender named the drink after him.

The Negroni. Complex. Spicy. Bitter, although not overly so. The tiniest bit of sweetness to offset that. It’s a drink to warm a cold breast. It’s a perfect aperitif, a drink to wake up your taste buds and shout “Ciao, ragazzo bello! Come stai?”. And the colour! The rich brown and deep red tones seem to glow with soft light and autumnal hues. Hold one near a light and your Negroni will erupt in orange novas. It’s the obvious drink-of-Autumn for a Wellingtonista.

“Bene, grazie!”

Hi, and Pandit Shiv Kumar Sharma

Hi. I’m new here. Usually I burble sporadically and semi-coherently on Drinks-After-Work; I’m looking forward to the challenge of stepping up to the plate and making sense most of the time.

Posters for this went up last night (sorry for the stink image – I can’t find anything on the web so far):

Pandit Shiv Kumar Sharma is the pioneer of the Kashmiri santoor (Indian hammered dulcimer) and was (heh) instrumental in it’s acceptance into the hallowed pantheon of Indian classical music (read about it). At 69 he is the acknowledged master of santoor; indeed he is virtually synonymous with it. Using a 100-string santoor in chromatic arrangement Sharma creates complex webs of beautiful, ethereal, shimmering sound, mounting improvisation within improvisation within the raga form, climaxing in furious blowouts with fiery tabla virtuosos and frenzied, ecstatic glissando.

He’s real good. His album Sampradaya is one of my favourite Indian classical recordings of all time. And with his debut in 1997 (also on santoor), Sharma’s son and disciple Rahul became the third part of an exceptional pan-generational santoor triumvirate. Both Sharma’s are playing at St Mary of the Angels on Wednesday the 14th of March – presumably on their way to WOMAD – with Yogesh Samsi on the tabla. They will play in an exciting Jugalbhansdi style. Bookings from Ticketek.