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The Users – Profile

Clodagh O\'Connor-McKenna



Local band The Users describe themselves as the most unambitious band in Wellington. They aren’t heading to Melbourne or London to try and make it big, nor are they furiously writing or recording any new material for an album or planning to conquer the wider musical world in any way at all. In a Wellington full of bands ready to pack up and leave for bigger and better things, this is rather refreshing. They are quite content just to play a few gigs and parties around town for now, and well pretty much forever. Having had an enthusiastic crowd on their first night as VBC residents, this seems to be working out well for them and they are looking forward to playing out the rest of the month at the San Fran.
The Users’ line-up has had several incarnations over the years, the first being a three-piece formed in Napier in 1999. After moving to Wellington in 2000, they gained a few more members and gigged consistently for a good three years. During those early years they recorded an album and a short five-track EP. At one stage they even had a dream gig lined up with British band Soledad Brothers at The Kings Arms in Auckland. In the end Soledad Brothers didn’t play the show, in fact they didn’t even make it to New Zealand due to issues surrounding getting out of England, and The Users had to play the show solo to a fairly empty Kings Arms audience. But after a fairly successful few years the Users decided to call it quits for a while.
But to the benefit of the Wellington live music scene they have recently made a come-back.
Their most recent line up, consisting of Menno Huibers on guitar, Gene Bremer on drums, Justin Barr on bass, Tony Rush on guitar and Johnny Bongos on guitar, was all set to break up a year and a half ago, but over a few drinks they decided to sort out their differences and proceeded to play a show again a few months back.
They play a mix of garage-tinged rock ‘n’ roll with a little Iggy and the Stooges type punk, as well as touches of rockabilly and gospel thrown in for good measure. Basically they aim just be a damn good party band that make people want to get up and have a dance. This mixture of music is reflected in the fact that many members play in other Wellington acts such as the Wrong Doings and Knife Fight.
With no grand plans for the future of The Users, I recommend catching one of their live shows soon. Aside from their current VBC residency, they may be playing a couple of other gigs and perhaps a few parties here and there, but I get the impression that with The Users, nothing is certain.
Having floated in an out of existence for the past few years, it’s hard to tell how much longer they will be around. But for the moment they seem to be relishing the opportunity to play together again.
For fans that remember them from a few years back, their set remains pretty much the same. They haven’t written any new material of late, so it’s really just a bunch of friends getting back together to play some old, familiar songs that still get audiences going.
As unambitious as they claim to be, The Users are a very solid live act whose reemergence will only add to a very healthy Wellington live rock ‘n’ roll scene. So catch The Users every Tuesday this month, 9pm at San Francisco Bathhouse.