Punk It Up! Bluestone Room, 25 May 2019

Mega THANKS to Mark Everton for this great review of an amazing night!

Funny. For some reason, in my head, I had added words like ‘Last Stand’ and ‘Last Hurrah’ to ‘Punk It Up IV’. Maybe because Andrew Boak had told me it was going to be the last one. Maybe because time has marched relentlessly on like the headlong rush of a Ruts or Ramones song. No one’s getting any younger. As Jed Town said from the stage, we’re talking 40 years ago – the days of our youth when we had energy to burn and the fire of punk in our veins Now? Well, as it turns out, the fire’s still raging.

X Features kicked off with City Scenes – my god what a riff – featuring the aforementioned A.Boak on guitar  – he lasted one song before storming off – dramatically quipping “I quit” – very punk. Jed, Chris Orange and Christopher King ably soldiered on. One thing you can count on with Mr Town is you will always be challenged musically with what he pulls out of his bag. It’s post punk yes – I guess – but it’s still pushing the boundaries and owes nothing to no one.

Speaking of which – if there was an introduction to the night’s special guest star – I didn’t hear it. I was right at the back of the room and was suddenly aware a new band (featuring Boak again) had started playing “Sheep” by Toy Love. I could barely make out the singer – fading eyesight like the best of us. I said to my friend “that’s not Chris Knox is it?” When everyone caught on, there was much punching of the air – it was like the whole room had taken a giant snort. Chris Fucking Knox! ‘Sheep’ was incendiary, but it was the next song that really took the breath away. Chris started low – a growl, a grunt, a snarl – then built – dramatically to a full-on aural barrage. The rest of the band laid down a basic beat and kinda drifted away leaving Chris to effortlessly control the dynamic and structure of the song. Lyrics? Irrelevant. If punk and post punk taught us anything it’s that anything can happen. And Chris Knox proved it. Again.

Newmatics. Oh yes. With the force of nature that is Benny Staples behind the kit for the first time in far too long, Syd, Mark, Kelly, Jeff and Chris ran through some of their finest moments – shortened for the night so they could fit more songs into their 25-minute set. Walkie Talkies, Judas (great) and the wonderful Five Miseries (thanks for playing my favourite song guys) then lighting up the room with Doobie Do Boy. Grandstand finish, Land of 1000 Dances. I turned around at the end to see Murray Cammick smiling broadly. Can’t say fairer than that.

Apologies, I have to cut this short. Like the best songs really.

Newton Bombers impressed like they did last year at the Kings Arms. Big, bold, no prisoners taken. Bass player wins ‘best moves’ of the night.

Spelling Mistakes took me right back to Zwines and watching them (and their earlier model Get Smart). Only fitting of course, Zwines was literally part of the room. Would love to see more of Nick Hanson – a consummate showman – fully aware of the audience – especially the front rows who he teases and cajoles as he’s always done.

Proud Scum – fresh from the previous night playing for the first time in “Wellingscum,” as Mr Boak informed us “so that means they’ve practised!” Yeah they had. Everyone on the night had. Suicide 2 still thunders like the sound of the abyss, Rabbit still has everyone smiling. I’d say ‘bopping’ but no cheap shots here. The 70s might be calling and asking Mr Jamrag for its hairdo back but I’m not gonna tell him. John Atrocity returning (again) from the UK to play guitar. Great to see you John, cheers.

Terrorways. Fucking fantastic. As super tight as all those skinny black trousers we all pulled outa the back of the wardrobe for the big night. Jesus, they fitted last year. Kinda. Someone’s Gonna Get Their Head Kicked In Tonight, Short-Haired Rock and Roll, Never Been to Borstal (with the crowd joyfully singing the rejoinder) even the song John No-One says he hates – all epic. I was scared shitless of the Terrorways back in the day (or maybe it was their fans to be honest). Their music still gets my heart racing – maybe with the high blood pressure and all, that’s the thing I should really be scared of. At least I’d go out with a smile on my face.

Finally bankRobbers – Andrew Boak front and centre – Benny back on drums, Chris Orange on bass (wore the shades all night – on stage anyway). Police and Thieves rolled out as the seminal punk moment it was and a roll call of some of our other greatest hits. We know every note, every word, every change, every pause (not many of those to be fair.)

So yeah – it was 40 years ago the band(s) began to play – and we’re older and slower (perhaps), probably not much wiser. For tonight anyway, no one cared. Brilliant. No “last” about it. Pleased for Andrew that he got so many tributes on stage from the bands – fully deserved. Knighthood in the mail surely.

When I went downstairs afterwards, they were playing Clampdown on the PA. “What are we going to do now?” Indeed. But, as Mr Boak posted online this morning, he’s now trying to find excuses for not organising ‘Punk It Up V’ Good luck with that mate. CU next year.

~Mark Everton

13th Floor photographer Rachel Webb was on hand to catch ALL the action. Click on any photo to view a gallery of each band.

We asked Miss Dom who was one of the DJs, DJing at the event between the bands, & also created a 9 paged Fanzine which was available at the event called Dead Cities. We asked Miss Dom what she thought of the night and she said, “The Punk It Up event last night was super fun – Great Performances from all the bands & so great to hear all those NZ Punk classics played live & loud. Hats off to all the bands on the line-up, who worked so hard in practice rooms to sound so tight & terrific on the night. Punk It Up was indeed a super exciting highlight of New Zealand Music Month.
I also had a wicked time DJing between the bands with fellow DJ friends Phil Armstrong & DJ Dubhead, & later spinning at the after-party going  2 for 2 with Johnny & the Dambusters. I think I hung pretty good for a girl. Always a great pleasure to be able to jam some kick-arse Punk Rock tunes. To all the folks that said they loved it – thanks for your support.

Were you there? Tell us what you thought in the comments


The Terrorways

Proud Scum

The Spelling Mistakes

The Newmatics

Chris Knox

X Features

The Bombers

The Last Rockers