THE QUEEN OF CLUBS
Peter Gutteridge (Snapper) mesmerizes the crowd at Queens.
It has been a difficult few years for inner city live music venues all over the country, and Dunedin is no exception. The Backstage came and went. The legendary Crown Hotel moved pool tables into its venue area. Urban Factory and Sammy’s flirted with attempts to run full time events programs in large spaces, the latter still untouchable for acts big enough to fill it’s mighty interior. For small to mid-sized bands, both local and touring, options have been largely limited to ReFuel (on campus, with attendant noise and University holiday constraints), or Chicks Hotel in Port Chalmers.
It was exciting times, then, when the Duke of Wellington shuffled down the road and Bill Munro opened the live music venue The National in its iconic former premises at 1 Queen’s Gardens early last year. For a variety of reasons, it sadly proved to be a short lived venture, but the good news is that the space has been reactivated under the moniker Queens, under the watchful eye of Hector Hazard, who originally reopened the long dormant Chicks as a live venue
Unlike its predecessor, Queens isn’t content with serving solely as an events location. From Monday – Friday, their doors will open from 8am until late, running breakfast, lunch and tapas menus. When ReFuel stopped operating as a café close to a decade ago, and the legendary Arc Café finally petered out, Dunedin lost with them a tradition of urban café hangout by day / eclectic and open minded party venue by night. Somewhere where you could go for coffee and fried, then end up getting a beer, and next thing you know you’re dancing like crazy and it’s close to midnight. Queens has the potential to revive this, becoming more than a part of the creative community but a community unto itself.
There are a bunch of great live shows coming up in the next few weeks. From points further north, Christchurch swamp blues institution Brother Love plays on Friday (April 19), Wellington’s freak and/or folk scene arrives with The All Seeing Hand & Seth Frightening (April 25), and there’s a special solo show from APRA Silver Scroll winner and cricket enthusiast Lawrence Arabia (April 26).
Queens in full swing as the base for the Dunedin Fringe Festival Club in March (above), and (below) the cafe / venue in a blank slate state.
Post Submitted by Aaron Hawkins