Gig of the Week: Live – and super-loud

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Happy Palace frontman Al Beere is proud his band is rated as one of the loudest in New Zealand.

Their live performances have been known to push sound meters into the red – and ear-splitting decibel levels have left some venue bosses reeling.

If they wanted to, singer/guitarist Beere admits, the Christchurch four-piece could “quite easily” blow the roof off Queenstown’s Dux de Lux when they appear there tomorrow night.

“I’m getting kind of sick of apologising for our sound,” he says. “We don’t deliberately go out of our way to be so noisy, it just kind of winds up that way.

“We like loud, we like sonic and we like mixing it up.”

Happy Palace – who describe themselves as somewhere between The Pixies and Husker Du – first started to get noticed after releasing their self-titled debut album in 2006.

The next year they were top five finalists in the MTV Kickstart new band competition out of 170 acts throughout NZ.

Second album Spirit House is just out and has met with rave reviews in the music press.

As a result, Beere reckons it’s time the group got “properly organised”.

“This year has been a bit of a dead loss for us,” he groans. “We’ve been too inwardly focused.
“We’ve just put another album out but we’ve been a bit slack in following it up.

“When we started out, the band was pretty much a hobby but now we’re getting playlisted on college radio stations all over the place.

“There’s quite a bit of interest in our music but we haven’t really done anything about it so it’s time we got our act together.”

Beere – whose wife Ruth plays keyboards in the band – says he’s working on a 12-month plan that involves releasing another album and promoting it with a proper tour.

“At the moment we’re a bit schizophrenic because as well as our own shows we do a lot of gigs playing cover material just to get a bit of cash coming in,” he explains.

“We don’t do stuff by Lionel Richie or anything, it’s obscure tracks by cool bands from the 1980s like the Psychedelic Furs and The Jesus and Mary Chain.”

Beere promises “a bit of both” when Happy Palace make their Queenstown debut.

“We’ll probably start off with a set of covers then rip straight into our own songs.”