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Sunday, November 10, 2019

Sticky Filth - Club Tavern - Christchurch - 8 November 2019

When I was about 18, I was pretty big into UK  Hardcore punk and one day an older acquaintance, who was in a band and in his early 20s, said one day you will grow out of this punk music. 35 years later and the answer to his prediction is a resounding NO and judging by the members of the bands this night and their audience I am far from alone in this predilection.
 Sticky Filth are one of the legends of New Zealand punk having started up in New Plymouth in 1985. They were just a name to me over the years, a vague shadow in the old days, becoming more familiar over time even though I had never heard them or seen them play. That changed not all that long ago after I managed to get my hands on a vinyl copy of one of their few recordings from about 1990. I enjoyed what I heard.
  I got to the venue earlier than I intended as another place I had intended to visit  this night had impromptly closed before I managed to get there, so I settled in with a coke and watched the place slowly fill up with an array of mohawks, Dr Martins, torn stockings, tattoos and black t-shirts, not to mention the amount of grey in beards and hair.
  The last was a pertinent observation in light of the support band that hit the stage about an hour after I had arrived. Sawdust are a local four piece of over 50 types, playing great hardcore punk rock with some pretty jokey songs but played fast and tight and sounded really good on the PA this night. The guitarist played some great riffs and turns out he was one of the older members of the staff at Penny Lane records, where I buy a lot of music. I really enjoyed their set and while chatting with the guitarist after, I also discovered he in is another band that I had just recently purchased their record and thought it was really great.
  It had been 20 years since The Filth had last played in Christchurch and they still have a pretty loyal cult following here and so the place, although not packed, was fairly full. The three piece hit the stage, tuned up a couple of things then the bass player/lead vocalist hit in with his thundering bass lines backed by ferocious drumming that had a real physical impact in air movement in the room. The sound mix was again very good but the lead guitar was still a bit to low in the mix, especially when soloing but this is something I find in so many gigs I see. The singer was off mic for most of the first song as he was encouraging the audience to sing the lyrics, and a fair few of them knew the words. The played a thunderous set for well over an hour with the guitarists swapping vocal duties on various songs while the mosh pit was heaving on occasions. They were tight and heavy and played as good a gig as I had been promised by a long time associate of the band. I thought I recognized a couple of songs but I am still not all that familiar with their music, but it was a great night and I am really glad I went. Hope they return here before another 20 years goes by.


Monday, October 21, 2019

Tami Neison - The Piano - Christchurch 19 October 2019

The voice was back in Christchurch for another gig on this Saturday night, this time at the quite new venue, The Piano. We had been to The Piano before to see The New Zealand Trio playing some local Classical Music and like the venue a lot. It is set up a bit like a lecture hall with the seating going up with each row so all get a good view of the low but large stage at the front. We got in early enough to get center seats in the fourth row.
 The stage was set with just some guitars and small amps as this was just Tami and her brother Jay playing this night, but first up we got to see a short set from The much talented local Lady, Holly Arrowsmith. Holly had put out a record last year that I had managed to pick up on vinyl and it turned out to be one of my favourite NZ records of the year, so I was looking forward to seeing her preform. She was alone with her acoustic guitar. She sung about half a dozen songs, a couple I recognized from her record, one was a Dylan cover and for the life of me I can't remember what song it was, and the rest I don't think I knew. She has a lovely voice and plays very good guitar and I think has strong material with a good nod to Joni Mitchell, but overall I was just a little underwhelmed buy her set.
  Tami and her Brother Jay, were touring together for the first time since she first came to NZ from her native Canada. The show was about her life as a performer(This Is Tami Neilson) and so the show consisted of quite long pieces of dialog between songs as Tami told us her history growing up in Canada and going on the road with her family touring, playing music. Early on, as she was telling up a little about her family and her childhood, they played some songs that they would have been playing on those tours back in the 80s. Then they played more of her own Material as the story developed to her coming to NZ to live and play. As I said there was a lot of talk between songs but great to hear Tami singing again. They played a couple of new tracks from her upcoming record, due out in February and the last song they did was one of the new ones and it was a real belter with Tami showing us just how amazing a singer she is. 
 Overall though it was probably the show I enjoyed the least out of the four times I have now seen her play, but I will always try to get to her concerts because she is such a great performer.

Friday, October 18, 2019

Black Range - 11 October 2019

Uncle Roddus Tramping Diary: Tramp No 168
Black Range - 11 October 2019

Hadn't been able to get back out tramping after my initial run of three trips in September due to other commitments and weather considerations, but my friend Bryce was leading this trip on the Black Range, near Bealey and I always enjoy his trips and company. He was running this trip to fill in some blank areas on this short range that he had not yet traversed.
  Being a CTC club trip, there were 17 keen trampers, all hoping the weather forecast of supposed light rain in the afternoon was going to hold off until we completed out traverse.
 Leaving the cars at the Broad Stream bridge, we headed up broad stream to McKay Stream, then up McKay stream looking for a track that climbed up onto the ridge on the true left.The start of the track was steep but easy enough to follow but higher up we kinda lost it of it petered out and we had to bush bash through young regrowth. The 400+ meter climb through the bush was quite tough and with such a big group, took quite a while and about two thirds of the way to the bushline, the back part of the sole of one of my boots decided to part ways with the rest of the boot.. Went the bush thinned out about 100 odd meters from the bushline, the group stopped to regroup and I presented my boot dilemma to the leader. I suggested I could head back down to the cars but Bryce looked at the options and we found one member of the group had some duct tape which we used to tape the b00t back together. 
  We continued on to the bush line and stopped for lunch on the open tussock, with the sun tentatively trying to poke it's head out to warm us. After lunch we donned jackets to protect us from the cool breeze and headed onwards and upwards along the ridge to point 1854, hitting patchy but soft snow on the way. The group again got quite spread out with one person in particular falling well behind even me, as I was struggling with my energy levels on this trip. Turns out the straggler was having an even worse time with energy levels than me and when we caught the rest of the group waiting on point 1854, a review of the time we had left and how people were feeling was discussed. It was decided the the person who was struggling at the back was not going to make it in the time we had lest all the way to Mt Misery and so some of the group decided to drop off the tops earlier while the rest continued on to Mt Misery before dropping down. Partly because of the condition of my boot but also because I was feeling a bit sluggish also, I decided to go with the group that was going to drop off earlier, although I did not realize that we still had to get to point 1911 via a second point 1854 before we were to drop off. I found this tough going on this day but slogged on, after waiting for the last member to catch up and was finally relieved to be heading down after point 1911.
  The trip down the ridge from Point 1911 was not bad and we found some soft bits to speed the descent although I did have to re tape the floppy boot at one point but the scree soon took care of that and I had to live with my floppy boot for the rest of the descent. The bush bash down the last bit into the unnamed stream below point 1911 was very open and quite steep and slippery and was tricky getting down and I got quite dirty from sliding on my butt etc. This second group had also splintered in the way down with the others taking a different route down and actually getting back to the vehicles well before us. The Mt Misery group hit the highway just up the road from us at a similar time.
  On paper the trip didn't look too taxing and although I suspect I climbed over 1500M we actually only covered a distance of about 12Km over about 9 and a half hours, but I found this trip quit tough going.

Saturday, October 12, 2019

Mermaidens - The Darkroom - Christchurch - 11 October 2019

The Mermaidens just got back from touring Europe and this was the first night on their album release tour of the four main centers of their home country. The new album, "Look Me In The Eye" has been on high rotation at my place and I think it could be a strong contender for my NZ record of the year, just like their last one.
 I am still surprised how a band as good as The Mermaidens(perhaps one of the best indi bands in NZ and on the premier NZ record label, Flying Nun) is still only playing tiny venues like the Darkroom, which although it was pretty full, was not packed to capacity as far as I could see.
  Support band this night was Kool Aid(formally Brian Tamaki and the Kool Aid Kids) a local indie band with three guitars bass and drums. I had seen them before(under their old moniker) but I think I enjoyed their set a lot more this time. The sound was really good tonight, with five of them playing it was not too overcrowded sounding which I think I found last time I saw them. They have some great catchy songs and nice guitar hooks that kept my foot tapping throughout. Most enjoyable.
  The three piece Mermaidens hit the stage at around 10:30pm. Guitarist Gussie Larkin and bass player Lily Paris West both had bright red dresses, on kinda matching the colour of the new albums cover. I had first seen them in Dunedin a couple of years back before I had heard their music and at that gig, although enjoyable enough, was not one that stuck in my memory as great. Since then, I have got much more familiar with their music and very impressed with their recorded output. They have also done a lot more international touring since I last saw them. This time was much better, Gussie has a fabulous voice and her singing is getting stronger and although Lily sings a fair portion of their songs also and is a fine singer, I found myself concentrating on Gussie's vocal performance more and I was very impressed with the power of this tiny woman's voice. The sound was pretty loud but not too muddy this night although Lily's bass was a little distorted but she plays some great bass lines supporting Gussie's great guitar which she can shred bloody well at intense moments in their songs, especially on about the third song they played I think it was. Really enjoyed them much more than the first time. Great night of music.

Monday, October 7, 2019

Nervous Jerk - Darkroom - Christchurch 27th September 2019

Christchurch 3 piece punk band Nervous Jerk put out their first piece of vinyl on 7 inch showcasing three tracks including their contributing track to the Melted Ice Cream CD comp Sickest Smashes From Arson City, "Vitamins".
 I had seen them play a couple of times before including as part of the Melted Ice Cream multi band series of concerts when the aforementioned compilation came out. The two other bands supporting that night also piqued my interest of getting of my lazy butt and getting into the city to see some live music. 
 First up was another three piece band called Mental Fatal. I had caught A snippet of a video of them preforming at another local venue online and was impressed enough to want to see them play at some point. I was not disappointed with their American influenced hardcore punk, classical snotty punk singer and energetic trashy songs that impressed me a lot. I actually enjoyed this band the best of the three on this particular night.
  Next up was a rare appearance by another three piece, The Transistors. I had seen them play a few years back supporting the Buzzcocks and had been impressed enough to track down a copy of their only full album. The album was not as impressive as I had hoped but they were a pretty good live act. They said pretty much all the songs they played that night were from that album and the first few songs didn't really fire me up that much but in the middle section of their set the played three songs that I though were great and really had me tapping my foot and the mosh pit was heaving..
 Finally Nervous Jerk hit the stage to strut their stuff. It was good to see the Darkroom pretty full this night and again the mosh pit was heaving with bodies causing this old fart to retire towards the back og the room. The Jerk played a good set but I didn't think it was as good as the last time I had seen them playing their classic punk. I did get somewhat distracted during their set by going next door to Ride On Super Sounds to purchase some Records. Still, a great punk band and definitely worth checking out live.

Saturday, September 14, 2019

Dry Stream Circuit -- 7 September 2019

Uncle Roddus Tramping Diary: Tramp No 167
Dry Stream Circuit -- 7 September 2019

Three weekends in a row I am out tramping. Hoping to keep the momentum going but spring planting is almost upon us and there is a lot to do in my garden. Still, It has been great to get back out and I have been able to tramp without too much issues with mu back. I will never be as fast as i was and will need to be careful and watchful on my body, but I hope to get out much more soon.
 This was another CTC club trip with leader Bryce taking us on another of his explorations on different approaches to the Torless range. This time heading up Dry Stream.
 We headed up stream on a overcast but mild morning although it was not really warm. The stream was pretty easy going from the road but soon got scrubby and a little gorgy in places forcing us to climb up a little and sidle over the rocky sections. Eventually we decided to take the ridge up on the south side up to point 1536. This was not quite the route Bryce intended but the valley opposite up to point 1842 looked a lot more challenging and the group wasn't quite that inspired this time. We sidled under Foggy Peak before stopping for lunch, The cloud was starting to break up as predicted and it was turning into a stunning afternoon but still pretty cold.
 Soon after lunch as we headed along towards point 1842, it soon became necessary to don out crampons  and as we got to that point, the group was feeling a bit too lazy to head on to Castle Peak, with most if not all of us having been there before, it was decided just to head straight back to the cars along the western ridge via Mt Plenty. It turned out to be we only walked about 11km all told and climbed about 1140M so we were back at the cars in pretty good time.

Mt Oxford and Wharfedale Track -- 1 September 2019

Uncle Roddus Tramping Diary: Tramp No 166
Mt Oxford and Wharfedale Track -- 1 September 2019

This was a CTC club trip, I was a little disappointed about having to do Mt Oxford again after only doing it the week before, but due to a fire up in the kowhai valley, the road was closed, blocking our access to the mountains where we originally wanted to go so it was decided to head to Mt Oxford as this was the closest hill without a lot of extra travel to get anywhere else.
 Fifteen trampers reconvened at the View Hill Car park before heading up the western route up the mount. Lunch on top while discussing the options going back, it was decided to drop down to point 925  on the side track to the Warfdale hut before a bush bash down to the Warfdale track and then the long slog back to the cars. We ended up covering a distance of about 21 Kms and 1200m of height gain, so it was no wonder I was pretty shagged out at the end.

Mt Oxford - 24 August 2019

Uncle Roddus Tramping Diary: Tramp No 165
Mt Oxford 24 August 2019

OMG again..... A tramp. It's been awhile. Last years attempt to get back into tramping petered out after three lovely trips. Kinda got busy with other things and also lack of money seems to put a block on things but my intention to tramp was still festering. Recently I thought about getting my hands in another set of walking poles. I had used them for a while a few years back but when they broke I didn't replace them. I was thinking they might help me with my back issues and many people in the club use poles. I found out about some good poles from the US and managed to get them on sale for about $30US and after postage they were still much cheaper than the poles for sale here.
 Anyhow, the poles arrived but I had not yet committed to getting back into the hills when one Friday a post on Facebook came up where a couple of Club friends were going to go up Mt Oxford the next day. Mt Oxford is right on my door step and I would be good to catch up with the people concerned. I messaged Kerrie of my desire to join the trip and rushed about getting ready for the day out.
  Meet Kerrie at the Coopers Creek Carpark about about 8:30am to find she was   alone as Susan wasn't feeling up to the trip that day. So with my new poles, Kerrie and I set off past the Scout hut and took the direct route up the Mount. I have done this hill plenty of times now so we just went to the top and straight back the same way. The snow on top was not too deep but crampons did help with the last part of the climb and even more so coming back down. The wind was bitter on top so we didn't linger too long. A nice warm up trip with pleasant company.

Aldous harding - James Hay Theater - Christchurch - August 28th 2019

OMG, a new blog entry from Uncle Roddus. It's only been over 9 months since my last concert, where did the time go? OK, I did do the Lines Of Flight festival in Dunedin in March, but I never got around to doing a write up on that.
 Anyhow, Aldous had released another new album, "Designer" a more mature and laid back work than her second and one that seems to have grown her audience and reputation even more.
 Mrs Roddus and myself procured tickets for the upper level of The James Hay Theater, after the Town Hall was finally reopened earlier this year, 8 years after the big earthquake of 2011. Seating was general, so we got front row seats on the balcony level and fortunately some friends we were hoping to catchup with managed to get there in time to take some pews behind us.
 The support band was Ben Woods, a band I had seen a couple of times before and although I liked their song on the Melted Ice Cream CD comp I have, I had not been all that impressed with the rest their music. This time I thought they did some more interesting stuff and that had a steel guitar fleshing things out which I don't recall the other times and some of the keyboard noodlings were pretty interesting. Their sound was still a bit murky and Ben's guitar was not loud enough and he was doing a lot of stuff with it. Still, It was the best set I had seen them do at this point.
 During the break I got to catch up with my friends who were sitting behind us before Aldous took the stage first on her own, seated front and center with her acoustic guitar and did a song or two from her first LP. Then the rest of the band joined her and went through a set culled mostly from her new album. The sound was great and the band was fantastic and tight. Aldous had been touring all over the world for the last couple of years and if this was her band on those tours, it showed, they were very impressive. Aldous was quiet spoken and didn't say a hell of a lot this gig but she was in great voice and the audience were right into her music. She didn't play much from her Party album, with a couple of songs from that that both myself and my friend would have liked to hear, and her renditions of the songs did not vary much from the recorded versions. The inevitable encore was demanded and the last song of the night was a brand new song which was more uptempo and bouncy than here other stuff and I though sounded fantastic. Looks like Aldous is changing direction yet again and not for the worse either.
 Another great gig from this wonderfully talented artist.

Monday, December 31, 2018

Orchestra of Speres - Lyttelton Coffee Company - Lyttelton - 30 December 2018

Orchestra Of Spheres are one of my favourite New Zealand Bands and I feel deserve to be playing much bigger venues than the rather small Lyttelton Coffee Co venue they played this night. I have all four of their funky Afrocentric world music albums, with their latest, Mirror, just coming out recently and perhaps being their best to date. I arrived at the venue 30 minutes after doors open to a still nearly empty venue with Delaney and Bruce still sound checking their gear on the balcony out back of the venue where the bands are going to play. The idea is cool, with the harbour lights glistening in the background but the reality is there is little room out there and even though there are two big doors out to the balcony, the view from inside the venue is very restricted and the bands play on the deck with no stage so only those at the front get to see, which is pretty usual in these small venues. Still , the crowd is small enough that perhaps more than half are out on the deck. Although advertised to kick off at 9pm, I hear one of the guys say they will start at 9:30. Once Bruce and Delaney have finished their sound check, I actually get into a conversation with Delaney about his recent gigs in Wellington and his many up coming recording projects as well as a conversation with both Delaney and Bruce about Radio with Pictures, a TV music video program we all use to watch in our youth.
 This night Bruce and Delaney are going to preform together, this is an interesting prospect as they actually inhabit quite different musical spheres. Bruce Russell, of course, is one of the members of legendary NZ noise merchants The Dead C and I have seen him live a couple of times creating his improvised guitar driven drones. Delaney on the other hand usually playes down and dirty blues infused Americana folk surf in various permutations. Of course their set is a freewheeling improvised set Bruce setting up his feedback drenched drone which he then manipulate in various ways while Delaney strums along with is distorted guitar noodlings and an occasional distorted beat from his effects pedals. It kinda works better if you can just close your eyes and let the noise wash over you, which I find difficult to do when standing and surrounded by others. There were times where the two sets of sounds kinda blended into a throbbing crescendo, but other times it was just two guys doing different things and with no actual physical interplay between the two(they had their backs to each other and heads down in concentration) it was hard for me to know how much each was doing was in response to what the other was playing. Interesting set.
 My back has been particularly uncomfortable over the Christmas period and standing still in one place makes for an unpleasant situation, so I needed to sit for a while to ease things. Delaney did two longish solo numbers of his bluesy rockabilly which was pretty cool while I sat and listened inside.
  After the usual break while Orchestra Of Spheres set up, I positioned myself in the crowd on the balcony to await their set. The band came skipping through the audience jingling bells and other things, dressed in the strange costumes they like to wear and set them selves behind their instruments as they set into playing a song I recognized from one of their earlier records. The band are infectious, groovy and their music is great and I was tapping my feet throughout their hour or so set. I certainly recognized many of the songs, including their cool take of Sun Ra's Rocket No 9 and was surprised they did not do so many from the new album, although they did play one song I recognized off the new record, although I'm still getting familiar with all of it. They are a very danceable band although there was not much room for much more than wiggling on the deck but they played well and although I didn't think it was the kind of magic gig you rave about for months after, it still was an enjoyable night and worth the long drive to see them play.

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Mt Grey - 11 November 2018

Uncle Roddus Tramping Diary: Tramp No 164
Mt Grey 11th November 2018

As part of my "getting back into tramping program", I had scheduled Mt Grey a couple of weeks back, but the previously blogged Mt Oxford trip came up instead.
 I reprogrammed this trip and was delighted to get 5 friends to join myself and Ruby Dog on this lovely walk.
 The Mt Grey loop is not too hard a walk but enough to cause me some stiffness in the following days, but the forest is beautiful and the views from the summit of the Canterbury plains are stunning. There are not a lot of conservation land trips where dogs are allowed but the four main mounts along the edge of the Canterbury Plains from Mt Grey to Mt Oxford are all doggie friendly and Ruby loved every minute of the walk, and the group loved Ruby. I won't say much else, I have done this trip a few times before so just enjoy the photos.