As we saw in last week’s episode, the material culture associated with music is a powerful thing. Sharing collective memories of cherished bands, musicians and venues is a vital way we commune with others. Music provides the connective tissue that helps to define the sound, style, fashion, politics and attitude of a generation.
One way to measure the heartbeat of a city is through its musical history. This selection of posters offers a glimpse into Auckland’s anarchic, door-kicking punk and new-wave scenes that stomped their way into the city’s late ‘70s and early ‘80s musical landscape. This music provided a soundtrack to the city and represents a significant coming of age in Auckland’s musical identity. Bands rose and fell in this environment, often spawning relationships that would grow into other fertile musical collaborations. For example, through Lip Service, drummer Peter Warren met Dave Dobbin, and the pair later formed the iconic New Zealand group DD Smash.
These posters also reflect the changing face of Auckland’s built environment. As music scenes changed so did the venues, shedding their previous identities and inhabiting new ones. For example, the iconic Edinburgh Hotel on the corner of Symonds Street and Newton Road has had many identities over its 160 years. For the briefest of moments it was the notorious Liberty Stage, as seen in this Swingers poster. Similarly, venues like HQ Rock Cafe, The Basement (formerly Busby’s Wine Bar), Windsor Castle and The Globe embodied the spirit of this time. Gig venues become much-cherished meeting grounds, not only providing the space to hear and experience music but also acting as cultural melting pots, each with specific significance and its own legacy that long out-lasts their physical iterations.
Poster promoting New Zealand band Street Talk performing at Windsor Castle, May 15, ca. 1970s. Collection of Auckland Museum. EPH-PT-15-156. More information ›