The Capital Blues Club has a new home at Jack Hackett’s. Formally ‘Bill Direen’s’ bar in the nineties, the stage at Jack Hackett’s hosted the very early gigs for the Blue’s Club back in 1996. After a long stint at The Bristol, the Club is fortuitously returning to its roots at the Crossroads of Dixon and Taranaki Streets.
Blues artist Pip Payne was the driving force behind the Blues Club in the early years. He is returning to the very same stage 22 years later for the (re)opening night party with his band ‘The Gospel Project’ featuring Wayne Mason on keys.
The idea to host the club really struck a chord with Jack Hackett’s manager – Matt McLaughlin. “I’m a huge fan and supporter of local live music. I know beer and blues on a Thursday is going to be really appealing, especially as we head into summer. I want Jack Hackett’s to be recognised as the go-to destination for Blues in the Capital. So we are committed to continuing this great tradition.”
Club member, treasurer of 8 years and musician Julie Lamb is really excited about the move. “It’s a great new venue for us – it’s a bigger space and the acoustics are great for the Blues sound. Every good club needs a good base, and we are thrilled with our new home.”
“I’m proud of our history. We are the longest running Blues club in the southern hemisphere. Every Thursday for 22 years we’ve brought Wellington live Blues music. We provide a regular dose of monthly Roots culture on Del Thomas’s radio show on Access radio, and the Blues stage within the CupaDupa festival is our baby.”
“The Blues Club plays a vital role in keeping the Blues alive. The NZ School of music does 3 big band nights a year at the Blues Club – The students come through and show their chops. The evening is studded with talent proving that the genre continues to inspire young musicians. We are immensely proud to support that.”
Founding member of the Blues Club, Dougal Speir says “The Blues has always has been relevant. It has that ‘special thing’ that never goes away. The structure of the Blues makes it incredibly accessible. Me? I’m a 3 chord wonder. But that’s basically all you need to express the full spectrum of life’s emotion. Jack White of the White Stripes said that he was profoundly influenced hearing the power of the blues expressed just with acapella and handclaps. It will influence people til eternity.”
Julie adds “For over two decades, we’ve supported our local Blues artists with opportunities for their music and to develop our national Blues sound. New Zealanders really connect to the rich blues history, culture and sound. It is a vehicle for telling ballsy stories. Its roots are in struggle and slavery, and the dark emotional storylines of racism and poverty are still relevant today. And since the very beginning, it’s always been great music to appreciate with mates and a beer in hand”.