Off the charts

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The Feelers. The Adults. Head like a Hole. De La Soul. Anika Moa. 

Those are just a handful of the bands and acts to have played recently in Queenstown’s Revolver bar. 

The dedicated live music venue is now no longer an option for such gigs – a noise complaint from the new owner of an apartment above the Shotover Street bar has prompted its closure. 

And as far as some promoters are concerned, that’s not good for live music in Queenstown. 

Monkey Records spokesman Nigel Monkey, who spreads his time between Auckland and Berlin, says he’s very sorry to hear about the venue’s shutdown. 

Monkey had brought many bands through Revolver during the past few years including The Benkas, The Hot Grits, An Emerald City and Tim Guy. 

“The closure of Revolver will likely take Queenstown off the touring schedule for many acts as it was the one venue in Queenstown that supported original live New Zealand acts – it will be sorely missed,” Monkey says.
Auckland-based music industry veteran Barry Blackler describes the closure as a sad day. 

Blackler, who has helped book tours for top Kiwi acts like The Exponents and Dave Dobbyn, says: “If you were putting together a 12-day tour of NZ and wanted to put Queenstown in you’d be struggling to find a venue now.” 

The decision to close is a bitter blow for longtime Revolver co-owner Jono Stapleton who worked hard to keep the live music pumping and promote it as a cultural hub. Stapleton originally opened Revolver six years ago in an upstairs space beside the Westpac Bank on Shotover Street. 

He shifted across the road into the much bigger Thirsty Ram bar in the middle of last year, taking on new business partners – former Base backpackers bosses Campbell Shepherd and Matt Hirst. 

“They have the backpackers and the bus networks. I have the gig contacts. It’s definitely going to rattle some cages in town,” Stapleton told Mountain Scene at the time. 

Stapleton preferred not to comment for this story. 

Blackler says promoters will always find new venues but he had built up trust with Stapleton and Revolver. 

“The structure with Jono and them at Revolver, it was really good. You knew that it was going to be okay on the night.”