Thursday, 25 August 2011

KIWIANA SELF MUTILATION


Watching this You Tube on Chris Knox and The Enemy reminded me about my first ever ‘punk’ gig. Punk in Christchurch was in 1978 was, its fair to say, a fairly middleclass affair. I was mates with Mark Brooks of ‘The Vauxhalls’ through primary school and they were playing at Mollett Street (footnote: the old of Mollett Street venue has recently been pulled-down, yet another victim to the earthquake on the 22nd) one Sunday night. Yes, Sunday and it took a lot of persuading to get the ‘green light’ from the folks to take mums car into town with school the next day. Mollett Street was the epitome of what a good punk venue should be: compact, dingy, peeling paintwork, dubious sanitary facilities and with the acoustics of a large fridge freezer. Apart from The Vauxhalls there were two other bands on stage that night, neither of which I had a prior clue about. Another local band called ‘The Doomed’ and some crowd from Dunedin ‘The Enemy’. I remember little or nothing about ‘The Doomed’ except they played ‘Lowdown’ by Wire, but boy, even three decades later, do I remember heaps on ‘The Enemy’! Chris Knox stalking the stage like a twisted Charles Manson spreading his Kiwiana version of helter-skelter. The total ferocity of the groups sound, a bass wound up so loud it felt like they were giving you an enema (someone told me what one was like, in case you were wondering) Tribal drumming, guitar on max reverb. Then as if in some sort of black-mass ritual Knox began slashing his forearms. Talk about an eye-opener, up to this juncture in my life the only other bands I’d seen were doing renditions of The Sweet and Deep Purple in tie-die t-shirts. I think everyone in the crowd that night, 75 to 100 at best, was gob smacked and went home totally wired. The Enemy blew me away and I couldn’t wait to tell my mates at school what I had witnessed, left wondering 'if all punk bands were like this?' Sadly, no.            

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