On the Floor: Out of obscurity

Verlaines frontman Graeme Downes. Photo by Craig Baxter.
Verlaines frontman Graeme Downes. Photo by Craig Baxter.
Dunedin band The Verlaines are to give an intimate performance at the Dunedin Pubic Library this week, in a gig organised by Toroa Radio's Ian Loughran.

The community radio DJ says he had the idea to approach The Verlaines as part of the NZ Music Month events at the library.

"Obviously The Verlaines were the ideal choice as they were around in the early days of the Dunedin Sound and are still making great worthwhile music," he says.

"I am a Verlaines fan. I like the mix of rock and classical compositional styles and intelligent lyrics - they always produce quality work."

Loughran, who moved to New Zealand from the UK 18 months ago, hosts the Scorcher show on Toroa (1575kHz), which he says is a platform for the best in local and overseas music.

He is no stranger to punching above his weight when it comes to organising shows.

"In the '80s, I was a young man with more cheek than experience and collared Bo [Diddley] at a rehearsal.

"The event was in a small club in Liverpool . . .

"Bo talked about his early years and about playing with musicians like the Rolling Stones.

"He did two songs with no backing band, Mona and his signature song Bo Diddley.

"He was a very larger-than-life personality - came across as arrogant but did have [his] tongue in his cheek and he was clearly playing up to his image."

Loughran says he hopes the Verlaines show will be pretty low key.

"The intention of the evening is a very relaxed vibe were people can hear first-hand about the back story of the band and what they are doing now."

The will be a question and answer session.

Verlaines frontman Graeme Downes says the band has not played live since the You're Just Too Obscure For Me compilation album came out in 2003.

The songwriting guitarist says it's the public's best chance to see the band as it has no other plans to play live soon.

"No, but maybe in the near distant future.

"I've got too much else on to organise such a mammoth undertaking right now, but maybe towards the end of the year.

When you hear the new album I suspect you'll have a better appreciation of how difficult it would be to replicate it live," he says.

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