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Friday, January 1, 2021

The Axedmen - New Years Eve Eve gig - The Loons - Lyttelton - 30 December 2020


The Axemen, legendary Christchurch weirdos, come out of their hiding hole again for this 2020 New Years Eve Eve celebration at the newly opened and revamped Loons Club in Lyttelton, New Zealand. 

I was familiar with the Axemen in name only back in the 80's when they started out but have, in the last few years managed to collect most of their small vinyl discography, although they actually have quite a vast collection of recordings available to listen to online on their website.

I missed them last time they surfaced a couple of years back, so was keen to get to see them play this time, but also enticing was the slapped together Kiwi super-group The Sundae Painters and the fact that Bruce Russell of The Dead C was the nights DJ.

So I arrived about 8:30pm, scored a drink and settled back to listen to what Bruce was playing on the Turntables(mostly familiar stuff, but a nice eclectic mix with some surprises in that he played some quite famous songs, particularly, Bowie and Creedence Clearwater Revival) and watch the people arriving.

First up was Violet French and The Horrible. Fortunately, they weren't Horrible, it was an enjoyable set of rocking riffs and some catchy tunes. I have seen Violet several times in various bands but this was the first time in her own band but I did not recognize any of the rest of the band. Still, they played a great set of songs.

Bruce spun some more tunes in-between bands and I caught up with  Reagan Elliot of Cocomuse Records and talked about their upcoming vinyl releases.

Sundae Painters are five legends of New Zealand Music, who have recently got together for this project and already have a couple of songs on Bandcamp and a video for one of them. They were certainly part of the reason I was drawn to this gig. Some of the cream of NZ music from the early 80s and even earlier with Alec Bathgate of The Enemy/Toy Love, Hamish Kilgour of The Clean and The Great Unwashed, Kaye Woodward of the Bats and Minisnap, Paul Kean of The Bats and Toy Love and Delaney Davidson, a more recent troubadour of outstanding reputation.

Their set was pretty good, I didn't recognize any of the songs, although they did announce a Tall Dwarf song but I didn't recognize it, and later another Young lady joined on Keyboards. One song Hamish sang from the drum kit and it seems to be some sort of rave against the gun toting rednecks in the US, there was some pretty heavy language thrown out with plenty of vitriol. Hamish swapped with Delaney for the last song, and it had some similar language on a similar theme as he finished the song by handing his guitar to someone in the front of the audience and heading into the crowd with his microphone.

I almost missed it as I was getting a drink, but some unholy noise erupted from the stage soon after the end of the Sundae Painters set and as I wandered back up the from I see Bruce Russell and Delaney Davidson abusing their guitars and making a wonderful drone/wall of noise for only a very short time but it was a great improv. I tried to video it but stuffed it up somehow so got nothing. 

And finally, The "Axedmen"  hit the stage. The band on record, especially their early stuff, are chaotic, Lofi and sound so amateur and yet there is so much happening in their music and the songs are most intriguing. After nearly 40 years though, the band have developed into a pretty tight rock unit and just stripped to basic rock instruments, as opposed to the additional electronics they sometimes added in the old days, they sounds bloody impressive. So, they are playing their weird songs but it is straight rocking punky style and I only actually recognized one song, being the excellent Nutsack Single from 2011. Their set was bloody great.


Wednesday, December 9, 2020

The Spurs - 6 December 2020


One thing I wasn't going to mention to my wife after my fall on Rome Ridge several weeks back was that The Spurs was where a friend in the club had also taken a bad fall about 5 or so years earlier. I had originally signed up for that trip but pulled out after having a big day the previous day on the Atkins tops in Arthurs Pass.This club trip was lead by the same leader as the Rome Ridge trip and several of the same participants were with us. I meet the group at Windwistle and jumped in one of the cars for the long drive in to Glenthorn Station. when we arrived we had to report into the station house to let them know we were here and what our intentions were. The leader received instructions on where to park our cars and how to get to the access point to get us onto the track up towards Gargarus saddle but somehow we missed the correct spot and ended up bush bashing a while until we finally found the track we needed to be on. You can see from my track profile on Google Earth that I hadn't started recording until we were in the middle of the bush looking for the route.

We finally found the required track and continued on towards the saddle before veering northward for the climb to point 1706. It was a decent slog, sometimes on fairly loose shingle and this scribe was the last to reach the top where some food was taken in and the views enjoyed on a mostly calm day as the predicted winds managed to stay away. Then is was on wards for another 200m of ascent and things begin to get a lot more rocky and some mild rock climbing is required to get to point 1902. After that some of us dropped slightly to go below some more rockier stuff before heading on to the high point of 1985. By the time I got onto the actual Spurs at point 1964, the rest of the group had disappeared from my view and after looking around to see if i could see which way they had gone, I had to consult my map to figure the direction I now needed to go. I soon spotted the rest as the were sideling around point 1632 and heading for the saddle below. We regrouped at the saddle then plunged down the average scree to the head of a side stream of Boundary Stream. The trip down the stream was pretty tough underfoot at first and lots of bush bashing and stream crossing was needed to get us to the farm track that took us the long slog back to the cars.

The trip took about 9 hours, we walked about 16.5km and climbed about 1600M. I was knackered.

Here is a great video taken by one of the trampers on the trip.

Saturday, December 5, 2020

Th' Dudes - Christchurch Town Hall - 4 December 2020


Iconic Kiwi Classic rock band Th' Dudes were only in existence for about three years from 1977-1980 and released two albums and 5 original singles, and yet 5 songs from that brief period have become the cornerstone of New Zealand Classic Rock. Dave Dobbyn has become one of the most celebrated NZ artists in the 40 years since their demise and the others in the band have been involved in the music industry in various roles ever since.

In support of a recent vinyl only release compiling several of their original songs, Th' Dudes hit the road for the final ever time playing the songs that made them famous over the last 40 years. 

It was to a packed out Christchurch Town Hall that the band preformed on this December evening. We arrived early enough that my wife and myself were able to find a spot at the very front of the stage and routed ourselves to that place for the night. I don't usually do that at gigs but she was keen so stood behind her.

The support band was Racing, a four piece from Auckland with whom I was familiar, as I had picked up their debut album earlier in the year and had been enjoying their White Stripes meets Electric Six dance rock. They did a pretty good set with some impressive fretwork from their guitarist that captured my attention on a couple of songs in their 30 minute set.

 Th' Dudes hit the stage at 9pm, with Rikki Morris standing in for his late Brother Ian, who passed away in 2010, but the rest of the group being the original member except a young lady on additional guitar and backing vocals.

They started in with the first of those 5 iconic rock songs " Right First Time" and instantly had the crowd singing along and fully engaged. The light show was rather impressive with the images displayed on what looked like two great stacks of amplifiers. They rocked on through their catalog of songs that I was not familiar with, even though I do have a copy of their 1st album and they sounded great and then of course they played the second of the big songs and every one is singing along again, this time being " That Look In Your Eyes". In the middle of the set, they played a solo song from Dave Dobbyn, his "Loyal" with Peter Urlich taking on the vocal duties. again, although I personally don't really dig it, the crowd knew all the lyrics and sung along with gusto and Dave couldn't stop grinning. It must be an amazing feeling to be on the stage like that and have the entire audience sing along word for word to one of your songs. Rikki Morris also do his big solo hit as well. For the third big number, a little later on, "Walking in Light" Peter Urlich, really encouraged the crowd singalong, even though they really didn't need any encouragement. Then it was straight into the biggest song, "Be Mine Tonight" and from where I was standing the crowd singing on the first line reach new heights. The set finished with the final of the most famous of their songs, their ode to drinking, "Bliss" and one of the great party songs of this country and the crowd goes ballistic. The head off stage at the end of the song, and I am thinking they have played all the biggies, what more can they do for an encore, and an encore is demanded. The Encore is played, two great covers, being "Wild Thing" and Iggy Pop's "The Passenger", great songs  and played really well but  in some ways a little anti climatic.Still overall it was a fantastic show both myself and my wife very well satisfied with what we saw.

I found this excellent Video someone made from the upper seats. You can see the back of my head just to the left of the big security guard.


Sunday, November 29, 2020

Reid & Ruins - The Piano - Christchurch - 26 November 2020


Nadia Reid must be getting pretty popular after needing to put on a second show with Tiny Ruins after the Friday night show sold out rather quickly. This was good for me as I dithered around for ages deciding whether I was going to go or not, especially after already seeing Nadia down in Oamaru earlier in the year. It actually turned out that we got the invite to my wholesalers end of year bash for early on the same evening as the gig and there were still tickets for the Thursday night and my wife indicated she would like to go also, so it all fell into place. 

After scoffing ourselves full to bursting at the work do, we headed off the to The Piano, and duly found some good seats once the doors opened. Nadia and Tiny Ruins (Holly Fullbrook) duly take the stage with just acoustic guitars and with out any introduction, go straight into their first number. After that they then explained the format of the show, and after doing "rock, paper., scissors" Nadia played her solo set first. 

She was a bit slower getting into the groove this show, although the first couple of songs she played were unfamiliar to me even though they maybe on one of her  three records I have, but then she started playing stuff I did know and I thought her performance lifted and my wife though the same. She swapped around between electric and acoustic guitar and again showed just hoe good a songwriter and singer she is. Although not as powerful a set as she did down on Oamaru earlier, it was satill a most enjoyable set.

Tiny Ruins has also been round the tracks for a while now and has a few albums under her belt. I saw her play live with a band about three years previously and wasn't all that impressed on that night with what I heard, so I had not bought any of her music until her last album "Olympic Girls" which had impressed me a lot.  Tiny played a bunch of her songs, some I didn't know but a couple from the aforementioned album I did and they were great. She did a lot of talking between songs but what really impressed was her guitar playing. She is technically, well ahead of Nadia in this department  and really impressed with her skills on her acoustic. The first song had all sorts of cord and tempo changes and almost felt like it could have sat well on Van Morrison's Astral Weeks album with its jazzy feel.  Her singing is almost as good as Nadia but she is not as strong a songwriter. She also played a great set.

The last part of the show was them both preforming together. They are old friends and also flatted together several years ago, so they know each other well and sing together wonderfully. They have a similar singing style and their voices complemented each other well on the several songs they did, including a Dylan cover and a Don McGlashan song. The ending to a very good show.

Monday, November 23, 2020

Mt O'Malley - 22 November 2020

 Uncle Roddus Tramping Dairy: Tramp No. 182

Mt O'Malley - 22 November 2020

Short Report as I have done this trip before back in 2015 and there is another post covering that. A club trip with 12 participants on a not too hot partly sunny day. Typical Arthurs Pass very steep slog up the first 500m of climbing through the bush to our first scrog stop then onto point 1844. Some scrambling along the tops and some sideling round the difficult bits. Myself and one other decided to drop down to the tarn instead of summiting O'Malley, where we relaxed in the sun until the others joined us. Then the downward slog back to the cars. About 7 hours and a bit.


Ben Lomond - Queenstown - 13th November 2020

 Uncle Roddus Tramping Diary: Tramp No 181

Ben Lomond 13th November 2020

A long weekend and a trip to Cromwell for the Mother In Laws 90th Birthday. While my Wife spent the day with her mum, I took the opportunity to stretch my legs after the layoff while recovering from my fall on the last trip out. Ben Lomond towers above Queenstown and offers fantastic views of the lake and surrounding mountains. This was my second trip up this hill, the last time being at the start  of 2013.

 The trip is a straight forward 1400 M slog up a very well used track from the waterfront through the pine forest and mountain bike tracks. Rested and ate soon after reaching the bushline and had another rest on the saddle before the more rugged slog up the last 300m to the peak. It was very hot. I was a lot slower on this trip than the last time I did it. took me about 7 hours this time.