The James Cabaret reopened it's doors 30th March 2013 - closing the doors on 31st March 2015 after exactly 2 years of the best gigs Wellington has experienced in some time...
An experiment in an event & venue model the venture demonstrated that Wellington City was capable of sustaining a venue - in fact needs a venue of the calibre & size. The New Zealand Festival of the arts made the James Cabaret its home for the contemporary music program & several prominent promoters based tours of international acts around the ease & quality of production provided. The venue quickly became renown for it's high level of production values (international standard & the largest house system in New Zealand) & sold out shows! Nominated Venue of the Year the James Cabaret ended on an high note!
So why close the doors? Our source tells us it was 3 issues:
- THE LANDLORDS... a committee with the reputation of being difficult to work with (a statement from a past tenant was "they're a pack of arseholes") having driven the doors closed on every other proprietor over the years. The lease holder from the 90's when the James Cabaret earned it's reputation as a concert venue is not surprised that the Landlord was "impossible to work with - again".
- LICENSE ISSUES - sound & crowd issues from disgruntled neighbours with some complaints from a new neighbour (they provided photographs of rubbish including cans of beer - a brand not sold at the James Cabaret). Sound was an ongoing issue. "The issues are like mice... " our source says, "when you have one there's going to be more."
- END ON A HIGH NOTE! The source says "we didn't want to end on a low or be forced out by the Council so we took an option provided by the Landlords with their unreasonable demands & walked" he says with no malice, "we felt better about leaving the building with a reputation of producing the best concert events in Wellington!"
The features of the 2 years?
- Neneh Cherry. An icon & the best lady! Amazing yet simple performance & show (especially the request for no front light until the very end leaving dramatic silhouettes through the performance).
- NAS. EPIC event by Robin Fernando - an amazing effort! HUGE!
- New Zealand Festival Of The Arts. Best performance from Charles Bradley & Brel: The Words & Music of Jacques Brel featuring Jon Toogood - great to have him in the home of Shihad.
- School Boy Q... & the encore! So huge they had to come back & another epic event from Robin Fernando!
- Sticky Fingers. What an awesome show! Wellington will wait a while to top this one that was held at 10 days notice & sold out! Thanks to Rhythm Group!
- Run The Jewels, Danny Brown & Earl Sweatshirt. Probably the closest we will get to Odd Future - let's hope Robin Fernando work that one out!
- Aloe Blacc - all style & a great band!
- 6 local/domestic acts feature: Brownhill - "resident band"; Devilskin - awesome band & a great bunch to host; Tunes Of I - on their way up & best support; Shapeshifter & Upbeats - a great duo; Phoenix Foundation at their best are the best local; Katchafire - every time!
- The better promoters - Robin Fernando, Rhythm Group, 40 Days, Plus1, Mystery Girl & the others who kept bringing great acts; Brotha D for taking the first risk & bringing the first act to the reopening.
- THE AUDIENCE! The promoters & the venue pay big respect to the people who came to the shows!