In the Audience

Poster of the secret location gig © Katie Rochow

One of the best things about doing research on music-making in Wellington is that I “have to” go to numerous gigs, shows and musical festivities throughout the year. Even though Wellington is a relatively small city compared to Germany’s capital city Berlin, there is definitely no shortage of live music events.

Besides teaching, reading and writing, my “weekly routine” consists of at least one or two gigs, musical performances or shows. I usually go to one of Wellington’s multiple bars like the Rogue and Vagabond, a craft beer bar that regularly hosts a wide variety of live music, or Havana Bar which serves delicious cocktails, gourmet snacks and a rich palette of musical titbits. Some of my favourite shows however took place outside the familiar milieu of (craft beer) bars, cocktails and fancy food.

Music in secret locations

In fact, a few weeks ago I bought a ticket for a gig in a “secret location”. All I knew was the name of the event – “Songs By Twilight”, the date, time and name of the main artist Nikita Tu-Bryant. I also knew that there would be other guest musicians performing but I had no idea where the concert would actually take place. On the day of the event I received an email that revealed the location and the exact procedure of the event.

Songs By Twilight would take place at the Bicycle Junction, a local bike shop that fixes, builds and sells bicycles, coffee and tasty cabinet food. At first glance, a bike shop doesn’t really sound like a suitable location for an intimate music event. Imagining the smell of chain lubricant, old tires and rusty metal doesn’t immediately evoke a sense of what we refer to as “Gemütlichkeit” in Germany.

Bike shop decoration Bike shop decoration | © Katie Rochow

Secret locations and Gemütlichkeit

However, as soon as I entered the shop I was enveloped by the sweet scent of freshly baked bread, cake, coffee and craft beer. Benches and chairs were arranged in a semicircle, surrounded by bikes, bike helmets, panniers and various tools, which created a particular, strangely intimate and mesmerizing atmosphere. People could either bring their own drinks and snacks or try some of the food and craft beer, which was donated by a local brewery and different members of the musical community.

Nikita playing at her gig Nikita playing at her gig | © Katie Rochow Even before the concert started I was convinced, that this was a truly special event. There might be no equivalent word for “Gemütlichkeit” in the English language but Wellington’s music-makers definitely know how it feels like and how to create a gemütliche, cosy atmosphere and an extraordinary stage for a live music event.

This video is a live recording from a part of “Songs By Twilight No.3” at Bicycle Junction featuring Matt Mulholland