19 Oct 2019

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  • Bailterspace - Gig Review: Bailterspace with Wax Chattels @ The Cook, Dunedin - 15/09/2018

Bailterspace - Gig Review: Bailterspace with Wax Chattels @ The Cook, Dunedin - 15/09/2018

16 Sep 2018 // A review by Darryl Baser

Wax Chattels: wow, speed and precision.

Their first two songs are at a breakneck pace; damn, what a band. Water tight and wonderfully brutal at times, the first two songs were a lesson in how to open a show to an audience waiting for someone else.

Song three in the set is a third of the tempo, allowing the Auckland-based three-piece band and the crowd to have a breather. Despite this relaxed lull, a couple of songs later, the PA thermals out (a safety-cut out that turns off the amplifiers when they’re too hot) and it won’t be the last time that happens during the night.

As a long-in-the-tooth music reviewer, I love coming to a gig and 'discovering ' a great band. If Bailterspace are the older guard, Wax Chattels are the rising new hope for Flying Nun. Their debut release is out on the legendary NZ music label, and if it captures anything of their live sound it’ll be well-worth the investment - they’re definitely a band to see live.

Brent McLaughlin is the first member of Bailterspace to set up, adding to the skeletal kit used by Wax Chattels’ drummer.

The legendary three-piece assembles, and then launch into Fused. In an ominous sign of things to come the PA thermals out after only four words from Alistair Parkers. It's resurrected after a wise Dunedin sound man produces electrical tape, which a younger sound man takes to the amps. Whatever he did, it kept it going for a while.

Splat is the next tune, and it’s clear to see that drummer Brent McLaughlin and bass player John Halverson are focused on the job at hand, and that sadly, Alistair Parker’s ability to focus is diminished.

The next song sounds like a new tune to my old ears, and it is great that the band are recording new material.

The Gordons classic tune Machine Song follows, and the electrical tape PA fix gives out, and the situation clearly frustrates Parker. The PA reboots, but now there's now a uninvited dancer on stage with the band. Next song, two more dancers made their way on stage; women who are of an age to have known better.

But back to the most important thing: the band, and Alistair Parker seems to be vocally channeling the late front man of The Fall, Mark E Smith, while McLaughlin and John Halverson are the back bone of this shambles keeping it all together.

No end to the technical issues, something happens with Parker's amp, the band takes a two-minute break while issues are sorted.

First song back is Skin - and with a false start McLaughlin looks like he's gonna just walk out. But he returns to the kit and it’s great to hear a fabulous song at great volume. Like with many of the songs McLaughlin and Halverson are on the same page, but Parker’s on another planet, surfacing at times.

The Aim marks the end of the standard set after suffering a unique ending. Some band members leave the stage for the shortest of times, during which Parker’s very patient guitar tech made some adjustments to pedals etc, and the guitar rig is sounding great. Two encore songs then that’s it, the band packs down and leaves the stage.

There were real highlights, times when it all gelled like a thousand horse hooves in a rendering plant, but times when it just smelled like a rendering plant.

Seeing a myriad posts on Facebook the day after many complaints about the PA and sloppy performance, but also many others saying expectations were too high.

I think I’m kinda in between: my expectations were bloody high, but technical issues notwithstanding everyone can have an off-night, it’s how we watch, and how those onstage deal with it. Drinking more when you’re onstage never improves a performance.

Photos and review courtesy of Darryl Baser


About Bailterspace

Bailterspace originally hail from Christchurch, but are currently now based in New York. They are one of the longest serving bands for New Zealand independent record company Flying Nun.

Bailterspace was originally formed by Alister Parker and Hamish Kilgour in Christchurch, 1987. Hamish, formerly drummer in The Clean and The Great Unwashed, and Alister, late of The Gordons, shared an interest in dense, groovy guitar noise and their original line-up also featured Glenda Bills on keyboards and Ross Humphries (former member of the Pin Group and also playing guitar in the Terminals at that time) on bass. This line up released the Flying Nun EP, Nelsh Bailter Space and the 7" single New Man.

After Glenda and Ross left, too scared to go into the mysterious beyond with sonic adventurers Hamish and Alister, former Gordons bassist John Halvorsen was recruited for the group. This line-up recorded the album Tanker and 12" single Grader Spader at Wellington's famous Writhe Studio with Brent McLachlan at the controls, and also toured America, playing at the New Music Seminar in 1989.

Visit the muzic.net.nz Profile for Bailterspace


Year: 2013
Type: Album
Year: 2012
Type: Album
Year: 2004
Type: Album
Year: 1999
Type: Album
Solar 3
Year: 1999
Type: Album
Year: 1997
Type: Album
Year: 1996
Type: Album
Year: 1995
Type: Album
Year: 1995
Type: Album
Year: 1994
Type: Album
Robot World
Year: 1993
Type: Album
Year: 1993
Type: EP
The Aim
Year: 1993
Type: EP

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