The sun was still shining brightly upon the village, when I wandered down…a few kids doing kickflips in the skate space at the very bottom of the drive. Only a few cars parked in the million spaces. I guess I was early…
The village echoed a similar silence, as I walked through the front gates. A foreign couple took a seat infront of the village hall, as I checked the sign, to see exactly where the chapel was. Even though, I had been to the village numerous times, I hadn’t had the opportunity to explore all the locations. So had to wander around a bit more, until I finally peeked in through the door of the chapel, and saw Scowlin, dressed as a 2 dollar shop version of Jake The Snake Roberts.
Walking through the entrance, the church pews were set up to welcome the worshippers, and the badass PA system and assorted instruments, were set up to assist with the Rock N’ Roll sermons that were about to follow. The windows, the pews, the floor, and several other creeks and corners were decorated with the said 2 dollar shop Halloween decorations including a few balloons, Jack O Lanterns…A touch that would was not at all necessary, but added that cool little bit of local ‘SUX’ flavour to the venue, which made the experience that much more tounge in cheek as we’re used to from TMS.
Austin didn’t dress it by himself I learnt, but had the help of a few regulars. Since the pews were still empty, and the first act just setting up…There was enough time, for some dirty air, so I sat on a bench across from the Café and pulled out a cigarette, along with a few cans of Dark Horse, and pre-gamed in the silence. In front of a sign which read “Young at ‘Art”….get it?
And before long, I saw familiar and interesting characters, all dressed up and wandering, towards the church, with their families and loved ones, it was a good ol’ fashion TMS sermon. I had a chance to catch up with Kingsley from AudioStorm and John Baxter from Liberated Squid and The Carradines. One conversation about world music, and TGA music, the dark horses were almost in my system, and it was time to re-enter the chapel…This time, fuelled and compelled.
As we walked, the entrance of the chapel was crowded, with the usual suspects, faces that I recognized, names that I could not ever remember, I am sure the feeling was mutual…Taking a seat on the back pew, I sat as the first solo act, took the podium…FALESIA…
With a steady electric noise on the guitar, and equally spasmodic spoken word spiels into the microphone. I think Falesia, was the perfect start to the evening, a tone of NON-PC lyrics and a two-chord, guitar progression as the soundscape, a vibration was sent out to the universe…a frequency for the night.
So when we gathered outside near the end of the set and tried to gather our thoughts…I wasn’t surprised when Kingsley Said “The vibes were making me uncomfortable man…” With a smile ofcourse…because I guess we both knew… that it was in the best kind of way.
Next up was Eskimo Pussy, With lead poet Cate Anderson…reciting some dirty sexy poems. I saw them perform at woodcock with a band called Gold Medal Famous, even though I think the same words were spoken, she was playing with Threat Meet Protocol…TGA’s premiere Sux band…And the experience was something completely different. I loved that shit! As a poet, getting to explore the worlds of your words, with different soundscapes, and I loved the character of Eskimo Pussy, clown make-up, a glass of white wine, a Thomson and Thompson hat, with a little black book in her hands…Jake the Snake on the Basshole! Stefan Braunias Braunias on the drums…and Luke Turner on the Keys and Gatstrings…Gave a whole different flavour to the sexuality of the poetry…
Deserving of a cigarette break on my behalf…receiving complements from a swamp thing that I looked like a fat Jonathan Davis from KORN, And I witnessed many other forms of strangeness as well that I do not remember.
Next up was The Brightly Coloured Cocks, another band that I was familiar with through woodcock, with their mariachi, luchador vibes, I had had enough dark horses by this time, to just be headbangin’ along to the music, As a two piece band, they provided enough energy, so that this my dreadlocks could fly…That LIVE energy, that is what the night was all about.
I missed the Gobshites CookBook, as all I remember during that part of the evening, are obscured memories with a couple of clowns supplying me with more fuel…A misdirected hitchhike, or a chemically directed one I guess…conversation about shamanism, psychedelic realism… We’ll catch up at WoodCock yo!
Apologies to the Gobshites’ Cookbook, but I was all out of headbanging fuel…So when I eventually made my own intoxicated way through the village, I realised that the sun was nowhere to be seen and the sky was dark, No Moon, but shit was still sexy…I don’t remember entering the church at this time. But I did, for the lack of better judgement, or the unholy sermon of the final band called “The Mucus Kids”
Another mind-blowing act from WOODCOCK, I wandered in right as they were in the middle of their set, or maybe the beginning, or the end…either way, their sewerpunk vibes were far out, so much so, that the atmospheric, red blue and green lights, had to be sacrificed for the fluorescent house lights, the mysticism was taken away, but the music continued, along with the theatricality of the mucus kids…
Complete with whiskey sips, strange punk rock altitudes, and the lead lady, laid out in the middle of the mosh pit crowd, with a microphone in her hands, screaming…to “MOSH FOR JESUS”, I remember smiling at that line, as I looked up at the Cross…Blasphemy? Nah…It was just Rock N’ Roll man…
I peeped a security figure wander in outside the entrance; asking Scowlin’ later on, I found out that it wasn’t for noise control, but the dude, just wasn’t expecting people around this late at the village, fair enough…as I myself had lost track of the time at this point. I don’t remember the end of the Mucus Kids’ set. Just a sea of applause, from the people that were still there…The ‘Ween continued though, on the bushes behind the chapel,
As I was wandering back to my ride,
The streets were vacant…The Sun was on the other side, and I could not see the moon. Words and Guitar riffs, echoed through my mind still…And the occasional BloodScream!
But fuck that was an awesome gig!
Dhaivat Mehta is a film-maker, writer and performance poet, and a member of the Tauranga Writers…Involved with many aspects of local creativity! As an organizer he was responsible for last year’s National Poetry Day event “Caught In The Act” He also raps and does spoken word under the stage name ARCHAEO!
Baz Mantis is a Tauranga based photographer, recording artist and film maker who has been the chief photographer for ARTbop Alternative since 2014. Alongside his passion for experimenting with visual imagery in multiple genres, he is also a musician and has released an album and several music videos as The D-Day Saints, which features 7 guest vocalists from around the North Island. In between photographic assignments, Mantis is currently the guitarist for the Black Sabbath tribute band Sabbatage, and is also writing music for an upcoming new live alt metal band. His website is @ www.bazmantis.com