Gig Report: Chicks Hotel, Port Chalmers, Thurs Oct 1 2009 – The port with the charming name

Chicks – October 2009

Chicks @ Chicks
Chicks @ Chicks

If anyone was laying bets on to see who could be chosen to charm this gloomy yet cheerful neck of the woods the odds would probably not have had good pile of winnings had they invested in the dynamic pairing of those vehemently and unapologetically wizened old geezers [The Axemen] with the relatively youthful and still bouncy and vibrant Auckland-based chick and bloke combo [The Hairdos] at the South of the South Islands premiere music venue CHICKS Hotel in Port Chalmers.

The Location

Chicks - One Nite Only
Chicks - One Nite Only - gizza ticket bro!

Port Chalmers, the idyllic Southern town is of course just a sunny breeze away from that mestasising brooding musical hub of the South, South Dunedin, poorer of the two Dunedins group, and allegedly the inspiration behind Gaylenetms epic poem DUNEDIN.

SD, having spread its gull wings over the Octagon and smearing its majestic leaves outwards in order to imperfectly carpet the rest of the polygonal submetropolis that is Dunedin proper, or ‘the Dunedin Interface’, as hungry commuters wait to devour their buses, taxis and the famous trams and trains bustling through the hurdy-gurdy streets, the better to transport the throngs who have drawn the magic lots to go out and visit the poor cousins in the Charming Port just a stones throw away, has of course now become a touchstone for all visitors interested in getting a taste of the ‘olde’ Dunedin sound and the sights and smells of the city which at once enthralled and appalled those who uptook them in those heady days of the 80’s.

The People

Leila
Leila, Luk
You Can't Touch This!
You Can't Touch This! .... Stu's photo-timer is glaringly unaware of the 5-second rule - Steve and Marty's only too aware...

The axemen / hairdos combo has been firing up dancefloors across the island nation of nz since time immemorial (or at least for most of the year 2009) however this was the inaugural trip to the mainland for the follically annointed trio and the first visit across the rubicon of the mighty Kilmog for their adze-wielding cohorts in a number of years.

Scary Motel Tour! coming soon….

Not on the List?

Looking to get some great kiwi bands to play at your FANTASTIC SOUTH ISLAND VENUE in LATE SEPTEMBER/EARLY OCTOBER?

Contact Us immediately….

Your name could be here tomorrow…

Scary Motel Tour - Sept / Oct 09 , South Island, NZ
Scary Motel Tour - Sept / Oct 09 , South Island, NZ - b/w lo-res v1(LSM)
Scary Motel Tour - South Island, NZ, Sept-Oct 2009
Scary Motel Tour - South Island, NZ, Sept-Oct 2009 - color lo-res v1 (LSM)

POSTER VARIANTS RECEIVED:

Tues 4 Aug 09, Stu Kawowski

scarymoteldragan
Scary Motel Poster Variant: Dragan-Master (StuK)

scarymotelredlips
Scary Motel Poster Variant: RedLips (StuK)

Review: Big Cheap Motel ‘09 from STILL SINGLE

Reprinted from: http://still-single.tumblr.com/post/89271183/axemen-big-cheap-motel-lp-siltbreeze

 

March 24, 2009

Axemen – Big Cheap Motel LP (Siltbreeze)

“…a surplus of defiant attitude…”

“…opening up the world…”

“…this is the sort of action that more artists should fight for…”

Axemen LP
Big Cheap Motel '09 LP

First of three reissues by this forgotten New Zealand punk trio out on Siltbreeze this year, opening up the world to their scarcely-heard ‘80s material.

The record of theirs I have, Derry Legend, is just as irreverent, but still sounds far more refined than the cassette release Big Cheap Motel. It’s chaos, pretty much, of the Fall or Country Teasers variety; some guys who’d gotten their way into a big public concert, sponsored by the Big M dairy conglomerate, chomp on the corporate hand with a set of ten songs, all written the day of the show, condemning the company and its use of scantily-clad women to advertise its wares (“Can’t Stand Up For 40-Inch Busts,” “Our Sponsor Today,” “The Pornographic Milk Drink”).

Tinny, handheld recording paints a lack of means, but a surplus of defiant attitude by those who would kick sand in the face of big business looking to increase its profile on the backs of the downtrodden.

In a modern era where several prominent countercultural press outlets have their own fucking record labels, where bands fight for the right to shill for Scion or Pepsi or RJ Reynolds, this is the sort of action that more artists should fight for.

Their reasons could have been purely political, or just done for a laugh; both evoke satisfying reactions. (www.siltbreeze.com)

Post: Doug Mosurock, Still Single

Review: Big Cheap Motel ’09 from Satan Rulez

Reprinted from: http://satanrulez.blogspot.com/2009/03/zap.html

Who's Nailin' Paylin? HUSTLER COVER

“…Built around a thick guitar line that is distorted until it becomes a fluid conveyer belt of sound… ”

“…hermetic tribes… ”

“… The Pornographic Milk Drink contains rotating metal spoke on a ferris wheel guitar… ”

“…Pleasantly skewed junkyard Buddy Holly rhythm lines played atop walls of distorted uber-rock riffs that contain the weight and force of a Flipper-like death dirge and the occasional saxophone blurt frame the basic vehicle for the band’s Brautiganian lyrical worldview... ”

Outside of a few ardent music fans, hipsters and record collectors, how many Americans ever heard of the Axemen before the Siltbreeze reissue campaign? I’m guessing not many of us had the pleasure and, yet, the band steadily released albums throughout the last two-and-a-half decades. At face value, it seems like the band just wishes to entertain themselves and devotees by performing and recording their take on the music they enjoy. These hermetic tribes usually end up being the most effective musical acts because their mission really cannot fail. If the mind’s creation gears continually turn and you possess the unique ability to, at once, channel and transform the music that inspires you, not much could go wrong. Such is the case with the Axemen.

The Big M corporation shamelessly used this appallingly sexist image to promote their range of flavoured milk in the early 80s - the axemen were not about to let these corporate milk merchants milk mens mouths with their product
The Big M corporation shamelessly used this appallingly sexist image to promote their range of flavoured milk in the early '80s - the Axemen were not about to let these corporate milk merchants milk mens' mouths with their product lying down

So, TJ Lax provides the public with a vital service and a history lesson by releasing not one but two Axemen reissues in 2009. The first installment, 1984’s Big Cheap Motel, proves why this band deserves the reissue treatment and the attention it will likely receive by bearing the Siltbreeze tag. Like a more cohesive version of their UK brothers from other mothers on the Street Level Records roster, the Axemen kick grimy, postmodern, crooked punk-jazz sermons filtered through a boombox haze and serious subject matter that is littered with in-jokes. Milk, sexism and breasts all factor into a biting take on UK anarcho-punk lyrics soundtracked by a serious defacto homage to the aforementioned Street Level sounds.

In fact, the second tune on the album—billed as a rehash of album-opener “Big Fat ‘M’”— sounds like a looser a Good Missionaries outtake tracked on top of a Danny and the Dressmakers tune. A dense, plodding rhythm line lays the grounds for a strange, possible anti-sexism rant wherein the singer exhibits the same off-kilter, slurred sing-speak vocals as Mark Perry. Interrupted by chatter and greasy guitar-driven sound experimentation, the song detours into a shapeless pile of intersecting ideas before briefly rising back into its initial structure. The results of the expedition on the second rendition of “Big Fat ‘M’” could be disastrous and annoying if its slant on song construction continued for an entire album.

This appalling image appeared on New Zealand for one of Big Ms early 80s campaigns
This appallingly sexist image appeared on New Zealand billboards and TV sets for one of Big M's early '80s campaigns

But the Axemen duck this possible pitfall and keep Big Cheap Motel fresh and exciting by providing a home base of sound to which they can return after their journey into a foreign territory commences. Songs like the title track and “The Pornographic Milk Drink” showcase this sound without sacrificing the variety of execution techniques that runs through the album. Pleasantly skewed junkyard Buddy Holly rhythm lines played atop walls of distorted uber-rock riffs that contain the weight and force of a Flipper-like death dirge and the occasional saxophone blurt frame the basic vehicle for the band’s Brautiganian lyrical worldview. “The Pornographic Milk Drink” contains rotating metal spoke on a ferris wheel guitar leading into a sludgy sewage drain of a riff. Lead guitar lays the groundwork for a boogie-infused take on the band’s sound, as big ‘70s hard rock sounds collide with the band’s surrealist take on Crass Records political sloganeering.

Big Cheap Motel - the Axemen's ode to the fight for womens rights
Big Cheap Motel - the Axemen's ode to the fight for womens' rights

Built around a thick guitar line that is distorted until it becomes a fluid conveyer belt of sound, the title track reaps the benefits of its relative simplicity. The mantra of “Big cheap motel/ Big Tamla motel” pairs with the lava guitar flow to form a song that would work fine with guitar and vocals. But each time the Axemen run through things, a slight variation on the initial theme seems to arise on the next go-round—an off-rhythm guitar line, extra guitar fractures, a more minimal drum beat. The initial riff melts into small, blurry guitar bridges. A faux-Dick Dale guitar construction spackled in the cracks of “Big Cheap Motel” wanders to whatever rhythmic variation that the guitarist feels best compliments the tune. All the slight variations keep the sense of adventure that Big Cheap Motel showcases intact.

Big Cheap Motel LP Label

Big Cheap Motel is one of those records where you can imagine the band’s thought process as they delve into any musical alleyway that pleases them. Though the names and age range of the band members are hard to discern from the liner notes (the insert contains poorly Xeroxed photos of the band and each band member’s name printed in black magic marker with an arrow pointed to his place in the photo), Big Cheap Motel contains the wide-eyed looseness of a bunch of kids in a garage trying to mimic the music they enjoy. Let’s do a hardcore tune. Let’s try inserting a drill sound on this one. The refreshing results vary wildly from the artists’ that may or may not have inspired the Axemen but the band’s affinity for the challenge and reward of artistic creation shines through.

Posted by s. kobak

Review: Big Cheap Motel ’09, Alternative Music Talk

Reprinted from: Alternative Music Talk

The Axemen: A NZ Protest

Big Cheap Motel '09 LP

It’s understandable that Australia and New Zealand have a contentious relationship. I used to live in Cleveland, don’t anymore, but still cringe whenever I see a Stealers logo anywhere. The fact, though, that the Aussies recently claimed that New Zealanders are hermits, or some such, seems a bit beyond me. Anyway, New Zealand, as much Australia, has a pretty rich and important musical history. The Tall Dwarfs (sic) and Chris Knox have impacted current indie musical trends in a pretty noticeable way. You’d be able to hear it even if Jay Reatard didn’t tell us straight out.

But a less lauded band – the Axemen – in the early ‘80s mined similar territory to Knox. They were a bit more noisey. Ok. A lot more noisey. The trio comprised some scene veterans and when Bob Brannigan, Little Stevie McCabe and Stu Kawowski came together, a more twisted vision of what pop should be was spat from speakers. Perhaps their most enduring – and time specific – document comes in the form of Big Cheap Motel (it’s there, but you gotta look for it).

At a time when British punk bands wrote songs about Maggie being some body part and American punkers criticized Reagan on a daily basis, the Axemen took a more localized view of politics. Being slated to perform at a festival early in 1984 at a public park, the band was prepared to run through a set of their previously written material, but sponsorship of a milk company – Big M – prompted the trio to compose eleven new songs to comment upon the perceived problem.

Supposedly, the band took issue with the sexist imagery displayed at the festival. Although, there aren’t any specifics to be found in the interwebs as to what, exactly, the problem was. Either way, it inspired some stripped down, rock thudding. Most frequently, the Flying Nun label and its stable of acts are in some way checked in relationship to the sound found on this disc. But the Axemen sound way more furious than anything else that I’ve come across on that label.

The occasional inclusion of a sax, as on the anthemic “Stupid Symbol of Woman Hate,” points to the breadth of work that these folks were listening to. It isn’t quite Funhouse from the Stooges, but that track does ratchet up repetitive punk tropes along with the bleated chorus. And for some reason, this track sounds a bit better recorded than a few others.

A few other tracks leap out of the pile, which, for a great deal of the long player suffers from less than desirable sound. But even if you can’t understand the words to “Pornographic Milk Drink,” you can sense the band’s dedication to what they have to say as the disheveled punk track plays out. The inclusion of an extended Stones cover – “We Love You” – is a bit confusing since this performance, in part, was meant to defy corporate shenanigans. But if you’ve heard the Cock Sparrer version, you may have already heard the best rendition of the track.

If the historic and political perspective of this work was removed, I don’t know that we’d still be talking about this disc twenty some years after it was recorded. But it’s an artifact. And it’s one that fits into the linear narrative of rock history.

Post: Came Best Vice

Review: Big Cheap Motel ’09, Volcanic Tongue

Reprinted from: Volcanic Tongue

TIP OF THE TONGUE 08 MARCH 2009

“…free jazz skronk…radical prole violence…”

“…punk primitive avant garde smarts…”


Axemen
Big Cheap Motel
Siltbreeze
LP
£13.99

Fantastic vinyl issue of what was originally a cassette from a group that were an anomaly even within the relatively eclectic environs of the original Flying Nun catalogue. This New Zealand group released a bunch of vinyl and cassettes, all of which took the basic Kiwi-pop blueprint and exploded it with classic UK art/damage moves, crude free jazz skronk, radical prole violence and punk primitive avant garde smarts. Big Cheap Motel was recorded live at Hagley Park Ritual and Peterboro Studios and was conceived as an anti-corporate/sexist action aimed at the sponsorship of a Christchurch Summer Rock festival by a milk company: “Stoopid Symbol Of Women Hate/The Pornographic Milk Drink”. Still, the sonics are nowhere near the kinda ‘worthy’ protest music that have sunk so many student duds, this kinda rallying owes more to the blunt, subversive style of the early Fall or the art-punk aggression of the Swell Maps/Steve Treatment cultus, referencing classic rock/roll yucks like Steve Mackay’s signature saxophone sound or the tantrums of Half Japanese while maintaining the kinda dazed topographical haze that defines alla the best NZ/FN action. This sits perfectly on the Siltbreeze label, joining the dots between early avant garage moves and the label’s own deeply-embedded crude-fi aesthetic and if you’re into classic outsider modes in the hands of musical Neanderthals but dig ’songs’ more than ‘noise’ then this is the white stuff: highly recommended.

Big Cheap Motel LP Ready For Order!

Reprinted with permission of the author

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Background:

The first of Siltbreeze Axemen re-issues one out of the gate is the trio’s 1983 Big Cheap Motel, their difficult third album, their protest album (following the blistering, insane, and completely live debut Equinox and the studio / live tribute to punk-dub-beer-noise-cubism, Mick’s Dancefloor (Mix)). Rarely heard outside the Southern Hemisphere, this montage of rough-and-ready live performances and Peterboro Studio recordings teeters on the precipice of chaotic genius alongside such stalwarts as Alternative TV / Hear & Now’s What You See Is What You Are and 1/2 Japanese’s Loud.‚

Says band member Stevie McCabe; “Bob and myself went down to check out the Christchurch Botanic Gardens, the scene of the summertime concert-in-the-park series of free outdoor events sponsored by the local council and Big M milk drinks, only to find the park plastered with billboard-sized posters of scantily clad young ladies advertising the sponsor’s wares. We immediately scrapped our set list– which extolled the joy of festivals and praised the council and Big M milk drinks as worthy town governors and milk-based food products, respectively– and replaced them with a set of ‘protest’ songs about the travesty, which were performed at the event, to the mild annoyance of the council and the sponsors. Following this brutal coming of age and awakening to the influence and power of advertising, The Axemen swore to use advertising to its full extent in future, but only for good (e.g. promotion of The Axemen), never for evil (anything else).”‚

Not exactly a Crass concert, but, hey, be careful what you wish for. Comes with a reproduction of original insert and original cover design, in a one-time edition of 500.
Reprinted from: https://flyingout.co.nz/products/the-axemen-big-cheap-motel?variant=339346039


Axemen’s ‘Big Cheap Motel’ LP Ready For Order!

So the 1st of the Axemen reissue lp series is now available. ‘Big Cheap Motel’ was originally released as a cassette in 1983 & documents the band’s assault on a free concert sponsored by the Big M milk congolmerate. On here one finds the Axemen to be the living embodiment of early ‘don’t man hate, man educate’ Riot Grrrl doctrine, caterwauling a set of on-the-spot original protests (+ a Rolling Stones cover) aimed at local city council & Big M’s salacious advertising that falls somewhere between ATV’s ‘What You See Is What You Are’ & Half Japanese live in DuPont Circle (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UTuA_FGKzWk). Would Alan Alda approve? Hard to say, but hopefully it’s a formidable enough aural action to keep Germaine Greer’s piehole shut. It’s no Crass, but then, what is?

Big Cheap Motel LP Label

This lp is an edition of 700.

All copies include an insert & most come w/stickers suitable for bodily application.

Step right up & order.

15$ ppd US

17$ ppd Canada

25$ ppd elsewhere

Paypal to; sltrx@pil.net

posted by: Germaine Greer’s Piehole