Gig Report: Scary Motel Tour – Lyttelton – Christchurch leg

Axemen-Hairdos-Poster-WDUpon arrival in Christchurch we were whisked off to our waiting vehicle, then before you know it, we were thru the tunnel and at Lyttelton gasbagging with Maree and Keith on their Volcano Radio Show ‘Pale Green Things’ (see http://volcanoradio.co.nz/ for schedule, http://worldtimezones.com/ for time translation), then off to Roz’s for the traditional sumptuous pre-show dinner before making our way across to the Wunderbar to set up for what was to be an awesome night for an awesomely tiny crowd in an awesome venue in an awesome town.

Wunderbar, Lyttelton Sept 24th

Green Eyed Owl

Green Eyed Owl - send Chills down your spine
Green Eyed Owl - send Chills down your spine

First up Green Eyed Owl , named from a line from a Chills song, which hints at the direction / audience type they are aiming at [finicky bread thieves whov’e kicked more band members out than Andrew Mehrtens kicked penalties???] They got the look and a tight performance, playing a variety of styles, William Daymond’s trademark Beatles bowl-cut looking not a hair out of place and offset nicely by his chequered scarf, all of which reeked style.

Stu Kawowski, Mick Elborado, Axemen, 2009
Stu Kawowski, Mick Elborado, Axemen, 2009

Stu Kawowski and 'The New Stu' Liz Hairdo... bitter rivalry
Stu Kawowski (L) and 'The New Stu' Liz Hairdo (R)... bitter rivals on the skins, but best of buddies off the stage; Stuck in the middle: Renee Barrance, Luke Stimpson

The Axemen

Next up to the plate were the Axemen. Steve having played at the Wunderbar recently with Matt Middleton (accompanied by Loliners backline Mick Elborado and Russel Covini) they were soon down to business in the classic 3-piece lineup of McCabe, Brannigan and Kawowski and giving the tiny crowd their all in their first post-Liz Hairdo gig of recent times… in fact their first gig together in about two months…

The Axemen pared back their sound as though it were a gleaming knife slicing throgh a perfect unblemished avocado, McCabe even pausing to metaphorically stoop down, pluck a hair from his head and proceed to (metaphorically once again) chop it in half with the sound coming from the speakers – i know you could argue that were it extra sharp one could cut it all the way down the middle lengthyways, but to be honest I’ve never been one to split hairs…

Axemen / Hairdos at Radio Volcano, Lyttelton September 2009
Axemen / Hairdos at Volcano Radio, Lyttelton September 2009 l-r:StuK,RenB,LukeS,LizM,BobB,SteveS

Rifling through their gander-bag of songs old and new, as is their wont of late in preparation for their upcoming tour (“Let No Song Remain Unplayed!” McCabe was heard to malevonantly whisper during a break in the proceedings). Hooking through their hookladen hits like Dr Hook in a velcro factory the guys effortlessly pulled off a lean, tight rock show with very little fat on it (“I’m gonna need a cheeseburger after this!” Bob quipped). Steve’s one-note Michael Jackson tribute guitar solo concept is developing and sounding better at each performance. A pleasant surprise to see Bob Brannigan behind the wheel of a full-fledged, fullsize axe once again, having recently been heavily into playing keyboards and ukulele. And as for drums, you could set your watch by Kawowski as usual – in fact it is not widely known that the term ‘New York Minute’  refers to and is defined as “the space between beats in the drum trill at the beginning of  ‘Animals Have Rights Too’ “ (recently re-released on the Scary! double LP –  Silt Breeze);

Liz Mathews, Hairdos
Liz Mathews, Hairdos

The Hairdos

And now for those erstwhile barely-out-of-their-teens “I was the first punk in the incubator” angry young people rocking their wayout of the slums and grey streets of Grey Lynn and now to Chch and Lyttelton where the small but feisty crowd generate enough spirited banter and appreciative sounds to emulate a crowd of at least twice the actual size the numbers would indicate.

The Hairdos played a typical highly energised set giving Lyttelton the honour of being the first South Island town to get a taste of the Hairdos, a badge of honour the hardy individuals who made the effort to come along will remember for a lifetime and have many a bartab settled by a buddy coming up to them and saying “Please Great Uncle Steve, you were there – please will you tell us once more about the time you saw the Hairdos the first time they played at the WunderBar in Lyttelton?”

As usual the band follow their high-minded democratic principles and the singing is shared equally between the 3 members, Renee, Luke and Liz.

Al’s Bar, Christchurch Sept 25

In Video: Big Cheap Motel, Ming Shoe Scene

In Video: Ghost Picnic

Gig Report: Meet the new Stu [or: 2 Nights in Auckland City, Sept 09]

Posted by: Cab Ice Mettle Vilest

AXEMEN, HAIRDOS, NOBBQ – WHAMMY BAR, AUCKLAND NZ, NOVEMBER 16 2009

Axemen, Hairdos, xNOBBQx - 16 September 2009, Whammy Bar, Auckland
Axemen, Hairdos, xNOBBQx - 16 September 2009, Whammy Bar, Auckland

The AXEMEN, or in keeping with their ‘Fair Trade’ and Consumer Guarantees Act commitments more correctly adopting the AXEMIN moniker due to the last minute substitution of teen heartthrob Liz Hairdo on drums in Stu’s place for these gigs while Stu down in the South Island hustling his film and other projects.

For the two-nite Auckland stand featuring two of their stalwart Silt Breeze sidekicks on different nites – xNOBBQx from Brisbane on Wednesday nite at the Whammy bar to a tiny but enthusiastic crowd (think next time they should bring the BBQ – their attempts to show their disdain for the grill so loved by kiwis and aussies alike did nothing to endear them to those in the crowd hungry for prawns, shrimp, hot-dogs, tofu burgers and rock’n’roll).

xNOBBQx: Non Flaming Aussies
xNOBBQx: non Flaming Aussies

Axemin feat. Liz Hairdo as The New Stu
Axemin feat. Liz Hairdo as The New Stu

“Even a sausage sizzle would have been nice” one veteran punter (who looked as if he’d seen more than a few sausage sizzles up close and personally in his time) lamented later.

Fortunately for Auckland, the erstwhile and awesome HAIRDOS and ageing (but still with all their faculties since getting their fillings removed and not using aluminium cooking pots) Axemin emerged as crowd favourites to redeem the evening – It should be noted since playing gigs with the Hairdos in recent times, the Axemin have appeared to be getting noticeably and palpably younger at each gig, following the infusion of post-teen spirit exuded by that band and their followers, in an alarmingly, almost Dorian Gray kind of way.

Liz Hairdo & Bob Brannigan: Bringing feminine mystique back to the Axemen
Liz Hairdo & Bob Brannigan: Bringing feminine mystique back to the Axemin at the Whammy Bar

Sandwiched around xNOBBQx like so much white on rye, the Hairdos played first.  Switching their Stranglers / B52s sound mix across to ‘more Stranglers’ setting for the evening (fuzzier and dirtier) the Hairdos played a punchy, poppy,  plucky set in their inimitable enthusiastic style, going almost the entire set without a fight – I think that is a record, I know people who go to Hairdos gigs just for the fights, and occasionally run a book on them.

Liz shows Stu how its done - look ma, no sticks!
Liz shows Stu how its done - look ma, no sticks!

Energetic and snappy as always, the Hairdos style contrasted vividly with xNOBBQx‘s ethereal meandering soundscapes. Conjuring images of aborigines standing on one foot on the outback, tossing a boomerang, blowing a digeridoo and watching re-runs of Evonne Goolagong at the French Open in 1971, these straight-edge ‘stralians evoked images of an eery gum-tree-lined outback road, a camel your only friend.

Next the Axemin. Fresh from being on the door in the early part of the evening Steve and Bob virtually bounded to the stage. the role of Stu for the evening was taken by the gal Auckland society is calling ‘the New Stu’, the Hairdos own Liz Hairdo. After just one practice ‘Stu-do’ and the lads went out and effortlessly knocked it to the pint-sized crowd, and Liz H did perhaps the best impression of Stu I’ve seen since I copped an eyeful of him practicing under his fisheye ceiling mirror (the “objects may be larger than they appear” sticker remaining proudly intact).


AXEMEN, PUMICE, PINK REASON – THE HIGH SEAS, AUCKLAND, NZ NOVEMBER 19 2009

The Axemen feat ‘The New Stu’ (Liz Hairdo):
filling in for Stu Kawowski for 2 Auckland engagements:
This Video from THE HIGH SEAS, Beresford Street, Auckland, 19 Sept 2009

The AXEMEN, chafing at the bit to meet up with and play for their Silt Breeze stablemates The Pink Reason sidled up first for the High Seas gig in Beresford Streed, Newton Auckland. Just a stones throw from the infamous toilets and a brisk walk to K Rd, the surroundings as well as the gig really gave those cornfed Colombus boys something to write home about. Bristling from their successful (artistically if not commercially) Wednesday nite gig Bob and Stu once again gave it their all and Liz NewStu literally never missed a beat.

Once again another noteperfect evening of axemen rockola, if anything enhanced by the injection of some new drumming blood, like stem cells called in to mend a hole.

Pink Reason, Bob Brannigan, The High Seas
Pink Reason, 'Gnarley' Bob Brannigan, at The High Seas

PUMICE next came on playing a bunch of songs on ‘treated’ guitar with white noise, radio frequencies and memorable lines such as ‘half price for half a chicken’, obviously calling on the audience to metaphorically extend their minds and go outside their aural comfort zones, yet coming back full circle, maybe to bite you on the bum, maybe to serenade you. Mesmeric.

pinkreasonposterPINK REASON played an immaculate spooky and at times delicate set, sounding quite at home in the intimate venue of the High Seas, the venue tonite showcasing its flexibility as a band venue for artistes playing a wide range of different musical styles. These guys represent the cutting edge of indie rock in America at the moment and they are good buddies with our touring partners on our US tour, Times New Viking. Columbus, Ohio has produced some fine musicians, along with the strapping muscular farmboys [with six-pack abs and rivulets of sweat rolling down the bulging veins and following the smooth curve of  their oversized triceps before evaporating away to nothing – are we keepng this in?] it is famous for!

A much better turnout on Friday at the High Seas than the Whammy Bar on a rainy Wednesday I must say…

Auckland and South Island Tour Dates – September 09

Axemen, Hairdos, xNOBBQx - 16 September 2009, Whammy Bar, Auckland
Axemen, Hairdos, xNOBBQx - 16 September 2009, Whammy Bar, Auckland DONE

Axemen, Pumice, Pink Reason 16 September 2008
Axemen, Pumice, Pink Reason 16 September 2008

Axemen-Hairdos-Poster-WD
Axemen, Hairdos, with special guests Green Eyed Owl (chch, lyttelton) - Scary Motel Mini Tour, Wunderbar 24, Volcano Radio, Als Bar Sept 2009

scream_stu2a
Axemen, Hairdos, with special guests Green Eyed Owl (chch, lyttelton) & Wolfskull (pt chalmers) - Scary Motel Mini Tour, Wunderbar, Volcano Radio, Als Bar, Chicks 24 Sept- 1 Oct 2009
  • 16 Sept: Whammy Bar, Auckland with xNOBBQx, Hairdos – DONE
  • 19 Sept: High Seas, Auckland with Pink Reason, Pumice
  • 24 Sept: Wunderbar, Lyttelton with Hairdos + Green Eyed Owl
  • 25 Sept: Als Bar, Christchurch with Hairdos + Green Eyed Owl
  • 26 Sept: Hairdos Live-To-Air, Radio Volcano, Lyttelton
  • 1 Oct: Chicks, Port Chalmers, with Hairdos + Wolfskull

Click to download hi-res PDF of SCARY! MOTEL tour poster