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.