Junk Festival – Whammy, Whammy Backroom & Wine Cellar: June 7, 2024

Junk Festival 2024 is in its inaugural year, is an underground musical event of Aotearoa waiata featuring bands from Ōtepoti/Dunedin to Poneke/Wellington and Tamaki Makaurau.

It is the creation of a visionary young promoter, who has brought together an eclectic range of artists, some chompin’ at the bit to get established, others possibly at a crossroad of where to next, however none are at the level of established acts like The Beths, Soaked Oats or even Aldous Harding. This is why is it an underground hui (well that and the venues) it is this aspect that made the lineup enthralling, a chance to discover new music, to put audiovisual to names on posters seen plastered on K’Rd walls or read on local music websites, and to revisit acts enamored with, or become distant from. 

I love Spotify! (Use Tidal instead!: ed) Yes, I know this could get me ostracized. Yes, I know they are basically rip-off merchants. But for a waiata wordscriber, being able, with ease, to check out a new artist, is a door opened wide, and yes, if i like the waiata enough i’ll buy a physical copy. With this taonga in my kete, I had a must see list, but acting in fairness I was intentional about trying to catch some of all the hard-mahi musicians at Junk Festival.

A warning, I had no 13th Floor photographer along for the ride, so the photos are amateur phone shots, and I was never going to be able to see whole sets with the crossover, so these are moments-in-time observations and self-deprecation opinionated opinions.


AwningIs Christian Dimick, a member of Recitals, started off as a solo (bedroom) act. After a few digital releases, My Friend Dog EP, a couple of singles in 2023, it is this year’s Gold Star EP that caught my attention. Originally billed as solo, later upgraded to a band (yay!)

The Wine Cellar fills fast for the first act of the night. Five piece Awning starts gently off the block, already the band members diverse personalities is apparent, the acoustic guitarist has a stoic look on her face, while the electric guitarist ajar is smiling rapturously. Soon, quickly Dimick takes the band on a driving post-punk folkish trip. A dark emotive hubris fills the room, as his sultry angst vocals, reminiscent of early Marlon Williams and mid-period Ed Kuepper, swing gently, between quiet sublime and sensible raucousness, accompanied by mirroring waiata. In their short set, with a doubt it is Gold Star that stands out as an orchestrated anthem. A discovery…

ElliottElliott & Vincent

I had already redirected a couple of friends who had never seen Elliott & Vincent before to check them out, even while Awning were still playing. Whammy is crowded with so many cameras. I’ve seen Elliot Finn (lead vocals, drums) and Vincent Cherry (guitar) many times before, and never been disappointed by their minimalist garage-punk compositions. With tea towels draped over each and every drum, the sound is more sublime than sudden. I’ve said it  before, I/we are in desperate need of vinyl from these guys, though the original art and branded flick lighter on sale at the merch table were pretty cool (sadly they had be pulled by the time I went back at the end of the night to purchase one)


Is the musical edifice of Keria Paterson, who released his debut album With Love (with some local heavyweight production), late last year. After the punk and fluster of the previous act, hearing the dulcet keyboard harmonies as I venture to The Backroom refreshes the palate. As the band creates melodic feel good danceable alt guitar pop on stage, Paterson’s  angst-vox emotive-vibe soaks the audience in positivity, and I feel reminiscent of the alt-grunge, post-gothic harmonies of the 1990 (Smashing Pumpkins). Yes, the band cries, emotes hopeful nostalgia. 


Poneke based, described as post-punk shoegaze, I came to The Wine Cellar with no prior-knowledge, actually that’s not quite true. I discovered in conversation that a member of the band is a friend’s fruit of his loins. I shall remain unbiased. The brass instrument is a visual drawcard immediately, then again the fellow holding it is too, with flares, big fucking flares, and a haircut that would challenge Peter Frampton’s look, he win’s me over immediately. Twiggy-heroin-chic-come singer Lilith’s vocals are a little low, a lot is going on sometimes, I feel a little lost, but the aroha is there amongst the young folk in the crowded room, even as Feshh are plagued by technical issues, their youthfulness is endearing. But back to the brass, it is refreshing, as the band’s Flying Nun early period guitar(s) and bass warm in. A gentle start, a bit of lost time, but I get the point, as they build to a (muddled) crescendo. A work in progress, with a lot of potential.

Soft BaitSoft Bait

These are one of those bands whose name I’ve seen on ragged posters glued on tattish walls, and ignored. Tamaki Makaurau based, with toru members (out of wha) originally from Ōtepoti, favoured on 95bFM, it was time for me to get educated.

The vocalist Joshua Hunter  is heavily tattooed, and his hairstyle is reminiscent of Dick Driver, but when he opens his mouth and prowls the stage, as his bandmates explode, there is joy in the main room of Whammy. Tagged as post-punk, I feel more from Soft Bait, I transcend to New York as the NO WAVE scene solidifies. They deliver the punk rock band energy needed so far in tonight’s journey in Tamaki Makaurau.

There are a lot of new songs being played tonight, their album Plot Points is two years old, and like Ringlets, tonight is an opportunity to share new material. As the new comes thick and fast, the mix/vibe lurches between Gang of Four and Black Flag, the erstwhile groove of the bassist creates the dance beat, while guitarist Patrick Hickley has the best post punk guitar sound I’ve heard for a long while. Lot’s of new songs, Hunter has the presence that sells!, sells!, sells! I’m sold! My new favourite band! fuck yeah!

Cold Ceiling

Originally Poneke born, now Tamaki Makaurau based, this 3-piece shares a drummer with Awning. Could it get much louder? The Backroom is screaming, as Cold Ceiling 

step up the night from post-punk to math-metal, with the nebulous vocals. Angular bursts of melody power through the room. This is the beauty of an underground festival, the genre busting. The half-naked tattooed singer/guitarist with his bandmates create elements of unrelenting noise that further clear the gunnels, there must be a new album in the works. A return visit is called for.

Salt Water Criminals

Ōtepoti made, in bedrooms are already playing, recently(ish) seen at The Other’s Way Festival and Laneway (After Party)it’s a  kind of guitar-pop-punk style, with vocals (Reuben Scott) maybe unbeknownst, not too dissimilar to, The Wedding Present vocalist David Gedge. Salt Water Criminals’s singles My Greatest Achievement, A Dream So Good plus The Adult (Falls Apart) played on Student radio gained them a lot of fans. But I don’t feel reeled (I nicked that phrase from elsewhere) I feel a little lost, 

But yeah, the kids that know better dig them, a big crowd to see them, they fill a niche. 


A band I don’t hate, I never said that, fucking millennials! This is their first show in Tamaki Makaurau for 2024, with a new release, a cool little 7” New life, though the b-side Scam Me is the song that butters my crumpet, I think they started their set with this song, if they didn’t, they should’ve.

Whammy is rammed, which helps explain the shit photo I took of them. Guitarist László Reynolds is  looking very LA junky in his inappropriate sunglasses, and Leith Towers on vocals, is all I can see. Here’s hoping that the new room, Double Whammy will address the atrocious line of sight in the sweatbox.

As noted. Ringlets are here to share and trial new material. The jerkiness is upfront (new) second song in, it gets super interesting part way in, it’s the agitated vocals that break up the straight delivery that sometimes subdues the band’s impact.

I love the song that bassist Arabella Poulsen sings (is this a first?) It’s a straightforward Sonic Youth style post-punk number, it works well. Maybe not a pop song for the band, but definitely a NO WAVE banger. Staying with the vocals, the dual vocals of Leith and László is powerfully transforming, I like it, it adds grace of menace to the band.

Old material does get a look in, to please the crowd, but I’m fixated on the newer material, the guitar harmonics complement drums and bass, and the vocal juxtaposition. I’m sold on the new songs I heard and looking forward to what they release next. Faith is reborn.

Power Nap

Like going from Feshh to Soft Bait, the transition from Ringlets to Power Nap is equally jarring, from a sweatbox of noise, I enter a nightclub of dancers, groovers reveling in house and electro-beats. Power Nap is the musical project of Tāmaki Makaurau’s Chris Cudby, songwriter of an absolute banger, Out Of The Pit from a few years ago. In a very agit-pop electro style, he refreshes the crowd, as we get close to the witching hour. Dancing (maybe just swaying a little on my part) to the (disco) beat is magnificent. 

His clever electro-pop in a Human League meets Fad Gadget is a disease worth catching. 


Are late onstage. Tooms, which you should know by now, are: Dorian Noval on drums/vocals & Nich Cunningham on bass/vocals. They sing about cats and rats, some of which are dead and/or underground. It’s all in the delivery. Bass and Drums, not drum n bass. 

Dale Kerrigan

Are they really named after the character from (the movie) The Castle? Another band I korero about in the waiata media, but never quite got too a show, or listened to. With a second album released already (I feel so foolish) drummer Josh Nicholls and vocalis/guitarist Shlee Nicholls (Brother/Sister) alongside bassist Conner Blackie and guitarist Joel Field complete this Ōtepoti group.


The room is rammed again (same photo problem), Dale Kerrigan are already on stage (I told you TOOMS were running late) and the audience upfront are fiercely territorial. The description by friends of them as Shoegaze, is in the ballpark. However, there is a lot more going on, Nicholls distinctive vocals are effusive over the wall of droning noise created. The angular off kilter tangents they pursue is full of post-rock, noise, the spoken, and yelling. Off song Nicholls is inviting of the audience, at one point encouraging everyone to start a band (I think many already have!) Maybe late to the party, but nevertheless, I got there in the end!

Grecco Romank

It’s like stepping into a Slovakian rave club, or what I think it might be like. With big electro-beats and techno triggers, three piece Grecco Romank, are churning out the nostalgic crossover between the 90’s dance floor and the punk rock mosh pit.

An englassened vocalist Damian Golfinopoulos, accompanied by Billie Fee and Mikey Sperring, has the room in the palm of his hands, as he growls out post-apocalyptic machinations, to a beat that has the full-house room crowd doing their very own danse macabre. Truly, tonight’s artist selector has tried to be inclusive of genres.

It’s over, I’m done, it’s been five hours of fantastic escapism, sadly I can’t last to the end to see legendary Garage Two Step DJ Caru. A loss, I would’ve loved to experienced his remix of MOKOTRON’s Tawhito in the flesh.

Simon Coffey