Making A Scene: 1980-81

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Steve and Mike, Lower Hutt, 1980

About

The initial influence of punk in Wellington led to the emergence of a number of new bands with many moving into a post-punk/ new wave sound featuring discordant guitars and punchy rhythms that showed a wider set influences than the original 1977 style punk. Wellington punk at this time was located in a couple of large flats in the central city that became known as The Terrace Scene. The flats formed the basis of Chris Knox's 1980 documentary on Wellington music and the sound of the Terrace Scene is captured in the compilation album Four Stars released through local indie studio/ label Sausage Records.

Thistle Hall and Cuba Mall were used for gigs, while venues the Last Resort and Billy The Club hosted local and touring acts and held Wellington's first multi-day punk festival. Wellington even had it's own music magazine at the time, In Touch, which actively reported on the scene. In August of 1981 the In Touch writer Dave MacLennnan invited British band The Cure to his flat for a post-gig party that led on to the legendary Cure jam session at Clyde Quay School.

The Wellington scene however started to attract an increasingly violent element with the rise of the boot-boys and increasing antagonism from Wellington street gangs. This was all within the context of the 1981 Springbok tour and the greatest level of social disorder for several generations. These factors accompanied by an active drug scene and an increasingly nihilistic viewpoint slowly tore the scene apart. After the watershed year of 1981 the nature of the scene became notably less playful with bands being split between two factions: the death-cult hard rock of Flesh D-Vice and social issue driven anarcho-punk epitomised by bands such as Compos Mentis.

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