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February 21, 2011 | by  | in Music |
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Music: An Introduction to the Wellington Music Scene

Hey young person! Welcome to Wellington. I hope that you are already enthused about the live music possibilities that await you in this fair city. Here are some of the key venues and informational tidbits that will help you on your way to taking the scene by storm.

If you care at all about what finds its way in between your ears, you’d be advised to stay away from Courtenay Place and base yourself around Cuba Street. San Francisco Bathhouse is where you’ll find most of the bigger alternative international acts: Les Savy Fav, The Books, that kind of thing. It’s also home to free Wednesday night gigs hosted by our very own student radio station, the VBC, and a myriad of NZ acts, both big and small.

Mighty Mighty is a bar of many faces and opinions. For some, it’s the default place to be; to others, it’s a seething den of hipster scorn and only good for ruining one’s self-esteem. The truth probably lies somewhere in the middle. Mighty attracts a good amount of older people, along with those just turned 18, and it’s a nice place to be even if nothing’s going on. They tend to host party-style bands on the weekend nights, they often have a good lineup and it’s a great place to dance. Yes, sometimes it gets too much, but just roll your eyes.

Happy hosts a wide range of smaller acts, generally for a $5-$10 door charge. It doesn’t have a big capacity and can sell out; a slightly shabby but friendly vibe makes everyone feel at home. Hosts a large variety of genres from pop to experimental noise—sometimes on the same night.

A few other places worth mentioning: Medusa has changed its name twice since the last time I set foot inside. Definitely aims for the goth/rock/hardcore kind of market; it’s black, and next to a brothel. Watusi is tucked in an alleyway, and is a nice place for a drink, but seems rarely to host live music: DJ nights are more popular. Fred’s, an old church off Taranaki St, is the go-to place for experimental music. The Garden Club is an up-and-coming venue, tipped to be the new favourite of local music guru and A Low Hum founder Ian Jorgensen, a.k.a. Blink. Sandwiches hits the dubstep/dance end of things at the end of Courtenay Place, next to the Embassy. Meanwhile, closer to uni, Ramsey House on Kelburn Parade will be playing host to a musician or band currently enrolled at Vic, as part of their weekly ‘Campus Sounds’ series.

Some of the best places to see live music are house parties. 2010 saw Wellington homes host international art dance sensation Dan Deacon, as well as cult folk/comic artist Jeffrey Lewis, and local acts such as Street Chant, Old Grey Wolf, Red Steers and Leno Lovecraft. You won’t find these listed on the internet or in Salient, though. The best way to find out about them is Facebook, so be shameless: friend everyone, and get yourself invited along.

If you want to know what’s going on before heading out to town then make sure you read Salient! This year, we’re going to be keeping you up-to-date with gig listings and previews, so you won’t miss a thing. We want to cover a wide range of different stuff in this fine publication, so get in touch if you want to help us out!

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Comments (13)

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  1. first year says:

    is this 4 real? I’m still on bebo bitch.

  2. new 2 wellington says:

    wow im from hamilton and there its actually really normal for clubs to be next to brothels is that the same here?

  3. cris says:

    i hate hookers even more than i hate hipsters lol are there better places to go

  4. jadedhipster says:

    new world metro is actually a pretty good place to go for a range of quasi-indie hits mixed with top 40 goodness and a wide range of golden oldies. The beer is slightly more expensive than Mighty, but the ambience is inoffensive and they sell quite a lot of fruit.

  5. anon says:

    plus I hear it’s tipped to be the new favourite of local music guru and A Low Hum founder Ian Jorgensen, a.k.a. Blink.

  6. ex xtian says:

    Now that I’ve moved to wgtn i’m keen to move on from the church too. But I still like gospel music where can I go to listen to that but also not drink. Also don’t mind about brothels but would probably prefer if there are none nearby.

  7. smackdown says:

    i wish bands would go back to playing music instead of fixing their hair and dreaming their dreams……

  8. Mr. Bear says:

    Love how Salient is actively encouraging new Wellingtonians to be whores now HAAAAAAAA

  9. anananana says:

    it pays a lot better than writing for salient

  10. tina l. says:

    and it’s less embarrassing.

  11. scary man says:

    Depending on the street

  12. smackdown says:

    stop posting hate thanks

  13. Clement McBigglewaddle says:

    Like, OMG, whores are so gross. Sex workers aren’t even people. Let’s make fun of them! Hamilton is the bomb.

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