Christchurch Nevermind the Punkfest 2014

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Christchurch Never Mind The Punkfest 2014
CHCHNMTPF2014 poster.jpg
Genre WTF punk
Dates 24-26 October 2014
Location(s) Trike Club 117 Maces Road, Log HQ 48 Lismore Street
CHCH Punkfest on Facebook


From as far back as 1996, Aotearoa's Labour Day holiday weekend has meant a three day festival of punk in all its mutated permutations. After being evicted from its home in Wellington the mantel was passed on to Christchurch in 2011 and since then a small group of die hard GCs has worked hard in the ruins of the shunted Garden City to bring us our annual excuse to get a little bit more deaf and a lot more fucked up. Christchurch Never Mind The Punkfest was organised by a core group lead by Lance Downing of Conniption, with Bolshy McBard as MC and vibe bringer, Angus Jones as sound marshall and the two Henry's as Lismore street site managers. Poster art was brought by the one and only Sam Ovens

Friday Oct 24 Trike Club

The Hag, Sltizkrieg, Log Horn Breed, Wizz Kids, The Methadonnas, High Risk Maneuver, Conniption, Masses

Saturday afternoon Oct 25 Lismore Street

Ape of Unreason, Johnny And The Felchers, The Dilfs, Over Population, Trepanation

Saturday night Oct 25 Trike Club

Arm and Hammer, Winter, Infinite Justice, Fantails, Phone Sex Robots, Slave Driver, Graves, Disparo

Sunday arvo Oct 26 Lismore St

Heavenly Creatures, Ratt Face, Villain, Masses


October 24: Punkfest 2014 at the Trike Club

Camp IWanaChuck - Photo: Amy Torr

Arriving in Christchurch on Friday afternoon in the Bolshy mobile after a short hoon from Oamaru the first mission was to check in at Punkfest organising committee head honcho Lance's pad where a small tent city was spreading out across the backyard like mould on a stale ciabatta. Punks from all over the country were converging on the shunted city of Christchurch for the traditional labour weekend festivity of Punkfest - for some reason now titled Never Mind The Punk Fest.

Mission one sorted mission two was to get on the piss which required a trip to the bottly on the hell bus. Within seconds of Julia parking up for the night Shibby had found a discarded blow up doll (MILF Dreams retail:$89) in a convenient toilet bush. Where did it come from? Was this an omen portending over inflated desires and deflated dreams? What did it meeeeeean? With the sun rapidly going down however we had little time to ponder these weighty issues and so made our way to the Trike Club for the start of CHCH Never Mind the Punkfest 2014.

Deflated dreams

CHCHNMTPF has taken place primarily at the Maces Road Trike Club, a former gang pad that's become club rooms for local bikers of the three wheeled breed. It's pretty much got it all in terms of looks - all brick work cavern with old school fittings, a small raised stage, an enclosed courtyard and miles away from whinging wallies who whine about noise. Honestly, if you art directed this place as a scene in a movie people would say it lacked believability but for Punkfest 2014 it's sweet as.

MC Bolshy McBard brings his well known gift of the gabba gabba hey hey to the stage and kicks things off with a short proclamation to be good humans and have fucken awesome times before the whole room is chocked in smoke machine soup. The mysterious entity known only as The Hag appears clutching a sheep skull and meditating on "Karen from Wainui who wants her $20 fucken dollars back" before lurching into a short set of crypt rock songs, all screeched vocals over tinny drum samples and broken churchy organs. It's a humorous start to Punkfest in keeping with the now 18 year tradition of having a varied line-up that reflects a broad range of ideas and styles present in the 2014 edition of punk rock Aotearoa.

The Hag

Slitzkrieg - Photo: John Lake


The smoke had cleared by the time Slitzkrieg took the stage but lead singer Rik wasn't taking any chances with health and safety opting to play from the safety of the floor where the biggest hazard is often an inconsiderate legume induced fart. I'd met the guitarist's sister at The Crown two nights before and she'd been raving about Slitzkrieg like a Density Church disciple and sure enough here she was tonight in the mosh pit rockin a pink cardy while surrounded by crust punks and looking like her mind was imploding. That'd be because Slitzkrieg were fucken awesome!!!

Log Horn Breed

Ok so caps were definitely peeled back after the Slitzkrieg blitzkrieg and Punkfest being what it is continued to step up to the mark with the next band Log Horn Breed pureeing what remained of the audience's frontal lobes. Log Horn Breed play dark twisted industrial post-punk that sounds like Nick Cave singing Songs About Fucking at a Birthday Party with the Skeptics. Coming from a city (Wellington) afflicted by the worst excesses of BBQ reggae anything local that draws on the darker side of industrial post-punk should be administered en masse as a form of vaccine. LHB were also behind hosting the afternoon shows for this years Punkfest at their headquarters in Lismore Street across the road from the impressively fucked AMI Stadium. Check out what these guys are doing in the interview below and on their Bandcamp page.

Wizz Kids/ Methadonnas

The Trons most delinquent offspring took the stage next to channel the spit and spitefulness of early 80s LA punk scene via New Zealand's own dystopian city of the future Hamilton. As the Wizz Kids name suggests their sound is a potent brew of sleep deprived psychosis and the high speed punishing rants that accompany inhaling too much substance. What I imagine hitching a ride with Antonie Dixon somewhere in the middle mooloo country would feel like where half way through a non-stop P-induced 3 hour spiel you realise he's starting to make a whole a lot of sense. But I digress, the Wizz Kids were fucken awesome. And speaking of bands with drug referencing names from flatland cities centred on agrarian economics Palmy Norths Methadonnas were the next act on. Stripped back 2 piece rock n roll that harks back to late 70s three chord punk. It's a cool stylistic jump and the kind of mixing up of that keeps punkfest interesting. Around about this time my memory starts getting progressively hazzier as the succession of Kingfisher Strongs (aka Biceps) begins to take its toll and all I remember from this point on is nodding my head a lot and grinning like an idiot.


High Risk Maneuver/ Conniption

Next up were the North Islands ultimate danger band. High Risk Maneuver play fastcore thrash inspired by society's endless fascination with fucking things up. This is TVs "Destroyed in 60 Seconds", screened in iMax on endless repeat with a cracked out madman as narrator it's the Ludovico technique in sense-surround 3D. Blighted by a dodgy mic HRM pummel their way through the set before their mysterious mask wearing vocalist disappears into the crowd with a final kamikaze dive leaving the audience in conniptions. A convenient state given that the South Island's longest running proponents of rungus crusty D-beat are up next. On stage Conniption gives Lance the opportunity pound out some of that managerial stress. Last up for the night were Australian dark wave band Masses of which I can't remember a thing other than the singer struggling through a fucked mic. Mind suitably blown I wondered off into the crisp Christchurch night.

October 25: Afternoon Show at Log HQ

2014s afternoon shows were brought to CHCHNMTPF by the words Log and Recordings. Housed in a concrete slab workshop in Lismore street a bottle throw away from the ruins of the AMI stadium the Saturday arvo line up was hosted at the headquarters of Log Horn Breed. Tucked away in a light industrial zone well away from the prying eyes of people likely to complain the car park was a mass hui of punks stretched out and enjoying the sun or grimacing painfully through pounding hangovers. First up on the bill were Napier's Over Population. Given the time and place there's nothing like depreso-core doom sludge to ease oneself into a pleasant Saturday afternoon and Over Population went down a treat in the concrete box. Kind of like getting woken up by someone screaming full-tit into your ear while you lie immobilised from too much Special K.

Next up were Wellington street punks Johnny and the Felchers introduced by Bolshy who recited a prophetic poem about the meaning of crap. This guy ponders some heavy shit, but bringing it now were the Felchers of John or at least they were trying to. Breaking into their first song it became clear that things weren't going well in the string section with Tony's gat refusing to put out anything other than a raspy fart. Lance's furious twiddling of knobs wasn't improving the situation and the Felchers transition into 'drum and bass' looked like it may be terminal. It has to be said it this point that I'd just spent more than a week on tour with the Felchers on Hell Bus and during this time you get to know people a little a bit better and Tony struck me as this well balanced polite young man who would never be pushed over the edge into acts of extreme violence against inanimate objects. Obviously I was wrong. That said once Tony had been given a new guitar to play with this was one of the best JATF gigs I've seen and there's nothing like a ritual sacrifice to rark up the natives.


October 25: Night at the Trike Club

October 26: Punkfest 2014 The Hangover