Tauranga Music Sux…The infamous/awesome entity, is responsible for some of the most out-there alternative music gigs around this otherwise sleepy town, and beyond in various tunnels, under bridges and even at the top of The Mighty Mount itself. I have only been familiar with these cool cats for less than a year, and we have brought you reviews of a couple of their previous gigs…through ARTbop alternative before our official launch.
They are also responsible for Tauranga’s biggest and most underground music festival, appropriately titled WOODCOCK, which took place this year on Valentines Day on a secluded farm in Pyes Pa. I don’t go down Pyes Pa that often, so while I was driving there I completely missed the turn, almost made it a quarter way to Rotorua, before realizing it.
While I turned around I wondered, man, how many people would’ve done the same and turned around, if they only knew the craziness that was going down up Williams Road.
When I finally made it, right before the tarseal turned to gravel. I saw the signs…There weren’t that many people as of yet.
I was greeted at the welcome tent and asked: “Are you ready for some kick-ass music man?”
“Hell Yea” I replied, as I got my ticket and hand-stamp.
There was only one row of cars, with a line of tents and open green fields on either side.
I checked out the stages:
- There was a small generator-powered “Behind the bike shed” stage. Right in the parking area, past the welcome tent.
- Le main stage was the most elaborate one, complete with lights and a kick-ass speaker system.
- A garage turned into a sonic hotbox, known as “Scowlin’s Love Shack”
- And my favourite one – a converted chicken coupe with barely any room to fit a drum kit, let alone a whole band. But they somehow managed it, this stage was aptly titled – “The Shit Cunt Sandpit”
Then it finally hit 12.00pm noon, and the madness began…4 stages, 40 bands, 1 hell of a good time and many many ways to destroy your eardrums (In a good way of-course)
Here are some of my personal favourites and stand out acts, out of all that were there, in no particular order:
BRIGHTLY COLOURED COCKS
This duo was the first costumed performers of the day dressed in luchador masks and tighty whities, with guitar/vocals and drums they sounded like punk-rock essentials, the highlight was their eclectic effects pedal and their outrageous performance. All in all, very entertaining.
These guys were one of my Favourites, on Le main stage, the raw energy of their performance was really really powerful…the lead singer, god bless this chick, was going out of her mind with punk rock lyricism…with song titles like “Your Dad” & “Motherly Instincts”…And her fellow band members dressed in gothic hospital outfits…I remember one moment where she kneeled in front of the stage and a member of the audience placed a cape on her…These kids are from AUCKZ! Check em out every chance you get man…
These kids were fun…on Le Main Stage as well…with songs about going to KFC and coming back from school. Their Rock N’ Roll innocence enraptured me the most, and the crowd was digging it too…What a great mix of comedy and rock n roll adolescence!
This band was one of the other awesome highlights of the shit cunt sand pit. Their sound reminded me of some sort of post apocolyptic, mad max soundtrack…I remember, the lead vocalist, literally wailing over the rhythm at one point…as if sending out a warcry, The lead bassist was stationed outside the confines of the coupe dressed in a outfit, reminiscent of the fallout games, but instead of a gun, he was jamming on the bass… Super cool!
This was a fun little jam, taking place at the little stage “Behind the bike shed”. On top of not being the littlest stage (The Shit Cunt Sandpit took that prize) they were a cool bunch of folks, playing suicide sermons, with acoustic, electric percussion, and violins and bass to match, I guess I am a little biased, because I had a chance to perform some spoken word with these dudes, and got to resurrect Archaeo on their 2nd to last track…”Charlie don’t surf” definitely an act worth checking out.
This three piece band was awesome and really funny, a mix of spoken word and weird far-out/uneven instrumentation with the lead lady reading out of a little black book of poetry, with a glass of wine in her hand. Reminding me of old beat poetry, being read in the 70s. The humour came from just how dirty and overtly sexual the lyrics were. Thoroughly entertaining.
GOLD MEDAL FAMOUS
These guys were awesome, on le main stage, another awesome mix of comedy and music, with songs about working in an office, driving on the roads of Tauranga, and other similarly mundane topics. which the keyboard, guitar and vocals contradicted to an extremely entertaining result!
Another awesome act of costumed badassness…whom traveled all the way from Wellington for this gig (As I learnt after the fact)…They have been with the TMS crew since it’s inception…however, on this valentines day, they were dressed fabulous in green and yellow and enthralled the “Scowlin’s Love Shack” crowd with their unique brand of punk rock instrumentals…definitely worth checking out…if you find yourself in the capital city!
These guys were upto no good as per their usual, Punk Rock Noise…at its best, and if your ears weren’t messed up already by this point, then these guys were sure to pull to trick…With lead man Austin Cunningham on guitar and vocals, and another madman, with an envious hairdo jamming on the keys, a cigarette smoking drummer! They were a perfect way to bring an end to the “Shit-Cunt-Sandpit” stage…!
This was the first time hearing these guys, after having a few associative acquaintances….And man, did they deliver…everything that I heard about them, came to blistering life under the setting sun @ Woodcock…And their leading lady Shannon, was manning the merchandising booth most of the day, and she leaped out on the microphone, like a gazelle….and the rest of the catz followed…so this is definitely act to follow!
The last band to play in Scowlin’s love shack…And man did they deserve that…With the sound of Sid Vicious if he was still in highschool, boozed up, and playing to a crowd of hundereds! With songs about rebelling in school, and the lead singer reminding me of a young Iggy-pop, with his screaming shirtless antics!
WHAT A SHOW!
And how incredibly organized, for the biggest and most underground festival in the TGA! My only regret, is that I was completely sober and without a tent, something to aspire to next year I guess…It takes a certain amount of chemical immunity to enjoy the beautiful perfect impurity of WOODCOCK!
And since I was never alive in the 60s and I never saw Hendrix play live…I gotta say that having this festival right here in our backyard, is a blessing and a half,
If you wanna see alternative music at it’s best!
If you wanna see hundreds in the crowd!
And hundreds playing LIVE!
And IF you wanna see 40 bands go wild and loud…
Then come to woodcock…for Aotearoa’s funked-up and outrageous original sounds!
And not only the BOP…
I could’ve stayed for King Missile…
I could’ve spent the night…
There’s always next year…As I have no doubt that this festival is going to grow…as out of control as it can…But until then…Well done Austin Cunningham and Team…I CANNOT WAIT UNTIL NEXT YEAR!
(Editor – ARTbop alternative)
Dhaivat Mehta is a film-maker 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
Photos By Baz Mantis: