Bloodbags, Echo Ohs & The Ideas – Whammy Backroom: April 26, 2024

Stalwarts, yes stalwarts of the Tamaki Makaurau punk, not-punk, scene, rock ‘n’ roll rascals Bloodbags were to be joined by not tahi, one, but rua, two fellow noisy bands, Echo Ohs and The Ideas. Sadly, COVID is still with us (though thanks to Jacinda’s leadership, not murderously) so toru, three became rua as Echo Ohs did the right thing. Simon Coffey, well known for never doing the right thing, still ventured out on a ngahuru, autumn evening. 

I’m early, or am I punctual? Bloodbags singer/axman Andrew Tolley is on the door, he offers a freebie as I’m reviewing, but I still pay, times are tough for local musicians (unless you are also a fat cat landlord about to get a tax rebate from Luxon, funded by cold-shouldering the poor, disabled and tamariki)

The room is empty, bar The Ideas’ singer/axman Weston or is it Josiah who is setting up, while his girlfriend looks on from the back. It’s taonga, the Whammy Backroom, it feels like a dive bar in New York City, where bands like Talking Heads, The Ramones and Suicide paid their dues.

The Ideas

The IdeasBoom and the room fills quickly, not rammed, but comfortably full, as Tamaki Makaurau’s noise-blues twinset band The Ideas erupt onstage. I’ve seen them rua or toru times before, even precovid. They are looking older, more confident, with skilled aptitude, as the “Kiwi King Brothers” Smash through a likely extended set, of punk blues, flavoured by early ZZ Top, raw Beatles, and a no-wave vocal style reminiscent of The Modern Lovers at times (think Pablo Picasso)

The finesse of the drummer Weston or is it Josiah, is on display, as he sits upfront (and stands up) the symbiosis between the two has strengthened, and I would love to hear him on the mic maybe doing some backing vocals. Old guitars are referenced as a bane, always going out of tune, the switch between the two mid-set is validated by the use of the whammy bar.

Like Elliot & Vincent, I’m still awaiting a debut 7” from The Ideas, both bands have proven their mana as part of the Tamaki Makaurau live scene, but there’s nothing like having a piece of taonga in your hand to fawn over.

The Ideas


BloodbagsTall and punctual, Bloodbags’ reputation precedes them, Andrew Tolley, Matt Rapley on bass and drummer Sam ‘Shuffles’ Rolston tower over the crowd (and microphone stands) well maybe not Shuffles, as the crush returns to the front (I’m keeping an eye on two dodgy looking Scotsman dubiously drinking Gisborne Gold asunder me)

They build, Bloodbags build on the flickering embers of energy The Ideas left behind. Matt Rapley’s bass sound and skills are the added value, 33 and a third percent more savage garage rock emanates from the stage, as Tolley adroitly mauls his guitar, like a racing car driver and ‘Shuffles’ displays what a dozen years of drumming with these two has created – unconscious sentient symbiosis. 

Tolley, with his seeing-eye spectacles balanced precariously, bends not just his guitar but also his gaunt and gangly body, as he journeys to and fro to his microphone. His fingers are a murky haze; repetition, rhythm, and dynamics complimented by his vocal hollering, there’s no holding back, which later leads to Rapley taking over the vocals as Tolley gives his seemingly shot vocals a pause.Bloodbags

One more song comes, as they seek, look to each other, digging deep to fill the gap caused by the Echo Ohs fallout. They’ve already played the first song Tolley ever wrote when he was Poneke/Wellington based, and as punctual as ever, the show comes to an end just before midnight.

Damn! Forgot to grab one of their new tees, the melting skulls Rooney designed in dayglo green slime & hot pink, which means I will need to go see The Bloodbags again so I can grab one. Life’s hard!

Simon Coffey