Things to do  |  10 Feb 2021

The Big Gig brings a fresh art beat to the central city as Christchurch Art Gallery Te Puna o Waiwhetū throws open its doors to legendary Kiwi rock band The Bats and a host of alt stars.

Curated by popular Lyttelton singer-songwriter Ben Woods, the Big Gig on Friday, 19 February will feature a lively evening of music and excellent art – alongside food trucks, bars and exhibitions – to mark the closing of the Gallery’s summer programme of art.

“My biggest hope is that people come to enjoy seeing something they know they won’t get the chance to often, and leave having enjoyed seeing something they didn't expect to,” he says.

Woods aims “to match the music to one of the most lavish public spaces in the CBD”.

“I feel each of the groups performing can create – in their own differing ways – an atmosphere so big and dense that it will fill up the foyer,” he says.

“It’s a rare opportunity to be able to see such a geographically and stylistically varied collection of music. Especially with such high-quality production and for free. 

“To kick the night off, I’ll be trying out new music with my new band, from an album I recorded last year with Ben Edwards in Lyttelton. It’ll be a mix of ‘croony’ down-beat stuff and improvised noisy jazz wig outs.”

Womb – a trio of siblings from Wellington – will also take the stage, with “melancholic ballads in a psychedelic soundscape” while The Bats feature “Flying Nun alumni, who play super-catchy guitar pop with charging bass lines and an anthemic quality”.

Opposite Sex will wrap up the gig with scathing songs of desire, anatomy and disease.

“I was legitimately scared the first time I saw them and ever since I’ve been obsessed,” Woods says of the Dunedin-based band.

Gallery Director Blair Jackson says that “the team at Christchurch Art Gallery is always looking for ways to connect with the wider community in Ōtautahi”.

“We’ve all got to keep it local at the moment, and the Big Gig is a great way to do that,” he says.

“It’s the last chance to see some of the shows in our All Art All Summer season, and enjoy excellent music, food and drink at the same time. Everybody is welcome here.”