Punk It Up V – Powerstation, July 1, 2022: Concert Review

Punk It Up V at the Powerstation is a tribal, drums-beating cold English blood runs hot call-to-arms for Skinheads, Boot Boys, Boot Girls, Rude Boys, Oi’s, New Wavers and even yer Art-Wank Poseurs. You know who you are. So, the Chosen found themselves hosed down with classic Original Punk, which was never contained in specific rules or codes anyway.

Punk is as old as Folk music. Glen Matlock the original Sex Pistol’s bass guitar and songwriter essentially proved that with his last show in New Zealand about four years ago. Solo and with acoustic guitar. Elvis doing the national anthem as Hound Dog, Little Richard’s Tutti Frutti, Uncle Dave Macon’s rapping mountain Hillbilly.

It shares the polemic and social activism of a Woody Guthrie. Working Class but actually the Sound of the Suburbs. Esoteric as Dada, the Art movement which sprung up in response to the diabolical horror of the First World War in 1915, and rests inside Punk as a demon spirit.

Let’s be democratic and look at the acts in the order they presented on stage.

Shotgun the Couch

Punk IT UpThree young musicians, representing Boganville, or West Auckland if you prefer.

Starts with Sheena and they sound like the meshed Ramones sonic attack turned up to 11. The bass-playing and lead-singing young woman is the focal point, in a black singlet, tattoos and fingerless gloves.

She gets to the point. Did your mother teach you to be a cunt? / Piece of human shit/ Teach you to be a decent human being. Expert drum barrage, fast and accurate. The guitarist furiously down-picks as… I saw your titties/ Didn’t mean to see ‘em.

When the drummer really let’s go, they can be as fast and brutal as early Black Flag.

Guitarist warns the growing crowd about responsible alcohol drinking, as there are pigs everywhere. Then they launch into Chocolate Milkshakes, Strawberry Milkshakes. The singer does sound closer to Power Pop, as Debbie Harry did early on with Blondie.

Cootie Cuties

Punk It UpThey bounce on stage with youthful vigour. A five-piece centered around a trio of young women. The singer looks like Tami Neilsen compressed down and has the same hair fringe. She screeches and cuts through the drum thunder.

You can stay in the kitchen and they get to sound as raw, angry and uncompromising as Crass.

Johnny has a Girl Group soul cut through with Punk screaming and ends up as an epic of Power Pop.

Succubus is rowdy feminine Oi band music. Never met a man I could trust/ Gonna chew you up and spit you out.

Their EP Freebleeder, where some of these songs are found, has a picture of three used tampons.

No Tag

The first of the veterans tonight. Led by Andrew Boak, who is the driving force and curator of the shows, the fifth in the series. He has said that though this may be the last Punk It Up, it will definitely be the final performance for the band which remains as the originals. Paul Van Wettering vocals, Carl Van Wettering drums and Mark Sullivan bass.

But then, that’s what Charlie Watts said at the end of every Rolling Stone tour. His recent death hasn’t stopped them yet, but maybe it should. Genuine Grandfathers of Punk.

Start from the top with No Tag and the chant of Oi! Oi! Oi! Their classic anthem. The Oi Movement originally was meant to wrest the music back into its angry working class street roots, and it is Punk with a steel edge.

Not confined to Oi. They blast through a fast Surf Punk instrumental.  Then follow with a slow heavy Old School Metal intro, shifting to tribal rhythms until a fast bass riff launches the song off into hyperdrive. Fire in the Back Door, or similar title.

Boak has electric crimson-red hair. The drummer displays his Tourette’s tee shirt. Fuck/ Knuckles/ Cock/ Piss/ Balls. I remember how Punk ignited the high schools and it could have been similar for primary schools.

Make a space and I’ll be dead… They can get arty like Wire or Public Image Ltd. Some nice Neo-Metal guitar and singing reminiscent of John Lydon when he switched to PiL. The closest to an epic ballad tonight.

Mistaken Identity kicks it back again, with that original innovative bass line leading to shouty polemical Punk.

Finish with one minute flat of Speed Punk which is all rhythm.

No Class

Punk It UpA five-piece, all local lads who relocated to Melbourne several years ago and likely have a solid cult following there. For my money, the top of the music scene in Australia, and that’s acknowledging the excellence of Sydney and others.

A nice, hard, cock-strut opening with Right to Work. There is a Pistol’s malevolent drone.

The following song and James Gorter has a powerhouse voice. You can hear the AC-DC influence as it’s all riffing Rock’n’Roll tension with melodic shouty lyrics.

Boot Boys is Metal Punk. Sharp edges and hurtling off in flames.

They have an EP called Here Comes Trouble, and the title track is like football fans rampaging. The instrumentalists are tight, the hard-working drummer has stripped to the waist. You better get outta the way. 

There’s some electric slide guitar, briefly. A song about bludgers has a motorcycle Garage Rock sound as the singer shreds his voice. They do take on the influences of early Aussie Punk, or mutant Rock’n’Roll like the Saints or the Radio Birdman band.

Neil Roberts finishes their set back to Old Skool with meshed sheets of sound.


Punk It UpThis ensemble is the oldest of the bands tonight. Dating from 1978, and the project married Punk to theatre, Beat poetry and killer guitar pyrotechnics. That makes them an Art band.

Led by singer/poet Richard Von Sturmer, and including Mark Bell guitar, Tim Mahon guitar, bass, Andrew McLennan (aka Snoid) keyboards and Serum Sarah Fort, vocals. 

Crimson suit and orange trousers, a mask, a raincoat. Visually arresting. The music breaks out of genres and brings in influences of Frank Zappa, Pere Ubu, The Firesign Theatre and the odd harmonic structures of Tom Waits. Whom the keyboardist McLennan resembles.

Kiwi Keith is a satirical take on a New Zealand Prime Minister of old. The riff seems to cribbed from I Fought the Law.

Glandular Fever is a love song and hysterically funny. There is a Detroit Rock feel, and there you go, some of the grotesque schlock-theatrics of Alice Cooper! Never feel at ease unless I have a disease.

The rhythmic attack has some of the off-centered White Funk of early Devo. There are some avant-garde Jazz chops buried in there too.

They finish with a song they showcased at the 1979 Nambassa Music Festival, where they may have been naked, dancing with body paint. Ceremonial, incantatory, casting spells and a great finish.

Proud Scum

Punk It UPOne of my favourite Punk bands from 1979, and its heartwarming to hear them slam through their set with the same energy. There is Jonathan Jamrag, singer, complete in singlet and a one-keg paunch. Johnny Atrocity on guitar. I am assuming Alastair Rabbit and Bruce Diode on bass and drums.

Suicide. I’m not waiting for the modern world. Classic song and it takes us back almost 45 years.

I Don’t Wanna Be a Boot Girl No More. Cribbed straight from the Ramones of course, but then they launch straight into Blitzkreig Bop and it’s a killer.

I would describe Punk as Power Pop. The Ramones took the Bay City Roller’s Saturday Night and fashioned their stone classic debut single. Right down to the Hey Ho, Let’s Go!

The band is having an absolute blast on stage and race through the Clash’s White Man in Hammersmith Palais. Reggae beat and Captain Beefheart sprung rhythms and all.

Pull Down the Shades is a homage to Chris Knox, of Kiwi Punk royalty.

The second version Suicide is hilarious even though it revolves around someone jumping off Grafton Bridge. They gleefully stomp on political correctness, or correctness of any kind. The meshed Ramones guitar evolves into a little Dick Dale Surf Metal.

Dogshit is a one note bellow with a Velvet texture, around the time of Sister Ray.

Of course, they close with I Am a Rabbit. The Ramones influence is clear as a bell.


Punk It UpAndrew Boak is back up again singing and playing lead guitar. The voice is hoarse and shredding but he bangs through a brace of classic covers.

Janie Jones, Sonic Reducer (Dead Boys), Mysterex (Scavengers), I’m Stranded (The Saints), Auckland Tonight (The Androids).

Punk as it was in the glorious hey-days. As it has evolved. As it appears to be now, as strong as ever.

Rev Orange Peel

Click on any image to view a photo gallery by Chris Zwaagdyk:

Shotgun The Couch:

Cootie Cuties:


No Tag:

No Class:


Proud Scum: