Kings Arms Tavern, Auckland. 2007-2009
The Kings Arms Tavern has been a key venue in the Auckland music scene since 1995. It opened soon after the equally (in)famous Gluepot closed to bands. Sadly the Kings Arms, the KA, closes its doors for the last time at the end of February 2018. Even sadder for me, I am not going to be there to farewell it, or attend any of the excellent farewell gigs
Auckland city has a long and terrible history in closing down music venues since I started going to shows in the late 70s. The Station Hotel, Rhumba Bar, Reverb Room, Windsor Castle, XS Cafe to name a few, all gone. Many to noise control, some to the violence that plagued the punk and alternative scene and some; like the KA to full fill the constant need for homes. I have been to see many great bands at the KA and many of the other now defunct venues.
After I bought my first DSLR in 2007 I was lucky to spend 2008 and 2009 shooting bands for a website. There was no such thing as a photo pit at the KA, but I love being in the crowd. I did wish they had better lighting though!
Here are some of my favourite images from some of those shows; in chronological order.
My favourite Auckland band for a while, amazing live and a brilliant first LP. Mint Chicks, Mar 2007.
The late great Jason Molina and the Magnolia Electric Company, August 2007.
I think this is my most used band photos. Shocking Pinks, support for The Clean. Jan 2008.
New Zealand and Flying Nun records finest. The Clean, Jan 2008.
Canadian’s Broken Social Scene, Feb 2008.
Still regularly played in my house, and performers at one of the KA farewell shows. Fabulous post-rockers, Jakob, Mar 2008.
Another brilliant post-rock band and great guys too, from Hamilton, Sora Shima. August 2008.
I arrived late and the crowd for Aussie metal-core band Parkway Drive was nuts. No way to get to the front, October 2008.
Ruby Suns, December 2008.
Cobra Kahn, supporting Florida punkers, The Bronx. December 2008.
Probably the most fun live band I have seen, loved seeing these guys! The DHDFDs, Jan 2009.
Equally brilliant, and with two amazing blazingly fast pop-punk LPs, the tragically late Jay Reatard toured with his band in Jan 2009.
Supported by the equally brilliant Los Angeleans No Age.
Californian duo, the Dodos toured in Jan 2009. Summer was always a great time for touring bands, and with the NZ dollar being so bad 10 years ago, visiting Auckland was quite popular for smaller bands from the US.
Ahead of the curve for wild loud rock and roll duos, the Hasselhof Experiment deafened in Feb 2009.
Out of retirement for a series of shows the wonderful Head Like a Hole, played a show in March 2009. Older and ‘wiser’ they remained fully clothed, unlike some crazy performances from the nineties.
Half of completely bonkers, cover band Masters of Metal are good friends of friends of mine. They played once or twice a year, performing two hour shows of classic metal covers. Talented musicianship and great stage presence made their shows hugely popular. Zak, March 2009.
Sleazeball punks The Dwarves visited our shores from Chicago in October 2009, including Nick Olivieri the bass player from the mighty Kyuss.
The Kings Arms was sold to developers who are bulldozing the building to build more flats. Fuck You!