Approximate time period - 1980 - 1982. Mark II - 1983 - 1985.
A very important band in Christchurch and New Zealand musical history.. The Gordons were Alistair Parker - Guitar / Bass / Vocals, John Halvorsen - Guitar / Bass / Vocal and Brent McLaughin on Drums.
The Gordons have been cited by Sonic Youth as a major early influence of their sound, and they inspired and still influence many acts in this country and abroad. They were reportedly the loudest band alive, and I can put my vote in to support this.
I saw them only once before Alistair Parker left the band after finding God (reportedly through drugs).
The band recorded and released 2 records first, one was the Future Shock EP, where Machine Song is taken from, and also an album, both originally self released but later done through Flying Nun.
The album was recorded and mixed in one all night session in an Auckland studio, so folklore has it.
McLaughin later reformed the band without Parker, utilising
Vince Pinker of En Can MA on bass.
The band were more bombastic, less experimentally sloppy,
more industrial under Halvorsen's lone guidance, but
still they had some good songs and were LOUD.
An important live track 'Quality Control' was recorded
and released on the Gordons 2 album (released in 1984),
but it was in a re-arranged fashion and didn't capture
the original song very well at all.
The Gordons 2 album seems to have been left to die
probably as it wasn't very representative of the mythical
Gordons sound, but it wasn't that bad either. A more
together sound, which probably worked against the whole
Gordons thing. Some pretty good songs on it though.
Gordons Mark 2 faded away eventually with Halvorsen
and McLaughin moving to Wellington and starting Writhe
Studios, and joining up with the Skeptics.
Alistair Parker eventually touched down on planet earth
some years later after a slight music experiment with
religious outing 'New Man' who I saw perform once at
They weren't too bad musically, and were an indication
of the soon to be formed Nelsh Bailter Space.
Parker and ex-Clean Drummer Hamish Kilgour started
jamming in 1986 and eventually took on art student
keyboards to form Nelsh Bailter Space. The band played
their first gig in support of the Chills at the Carlton
and were apparently good, and then a little abstract
and arty too.
A series of gigs without Bassist highlighted some brilliant
songs, showing Parker's new melodic, and sensitive
An EP Nelsh was released, the band dropped the Nelsh
from their name, enlisted bassist Ross Humphries (ex-Pin
Group) on bass, lost him, enlisted ex-Gordons John
Halvorsen, dropped Glenda, recorded Tanker album, played
overseas, and eventually dropped Kilgour and replaced
him with original Gordons drummer McLaughin. The complete
original Gordons reformed, less bombastic, much more
melodic and atmospheric. The band recorded a number
albums, moved to New York to live and work, and have
continued to produce music and albums ever since.
Their recorded work has always been a mixture of a
number of styles sitting on one slab of plastic. Parker
of writing the most sublime pop song, but there is
also the tendency to hark back to the harder edges
Gordons, particularly in Halvorsen spawned compositions.
Bailter Space have the material for a brilliant singles
compilation when they get around to it.
Live the band
can be inspiring and captivating. They can also bore
you with their notoriously long gaps between
songs while guitars and strings get changed.
They still have the same volume ethic of the Gordons,
ie. too bloody loud at times, and the most ear-splitting
gig I've ever attended was in fact a Bailter Space
performance at the Carlton in Christchurch. Too much.
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