Hard News by Russell Brown


Friday Music: Wild in the country, cool in the city

In an extremely colourful account on Audioculture, Colin Hogg records that in 1994, Straitjacket Fits took the stage to deliver "a fearsome performance that must have put a quiver into all those black jeans out there" in the crowd at the somewhat infamous Mountain Rock festival of that year.

I'd have been happy to take Colin at his word, but it turns out there is documentary evidence. My buddy Andrew Moore has tracked down the video he shot of the Fits playing their last song, 'Dialling a Prayer', and uploaded it to YouTube. It is rock 'n' roll and it is blinding.

Andrew says his tape of the show (there's around half an hour in total) had been accidentally discarded years with a bunch of mouldy old videocassettes, but he'd made several copies for the band at the time and, happily, one of those had been transferred to DVD. It was shot on a Panasonic MS1: "It was a big old SVHS camera. But those cameras have amazing sound -- a really good mic."

He had arrived during the afternoon to "this mad festival – millions of people in the middle of nowhere and everyone's pissed and security's a bit lax. It was pretty freaky.

"The weather was insane on the night. About three quarters of the way though through you can see me retreat a bit because the camera was getting soaked. The band were worried they were going to get electrocuted. But it looked amazing."


Moving to more recent country fun, I confess to being bemused by the hostility of the Thames Coromandel District Council towards the Chronophonium festival held on private property in Tapu, on the Coromadel Peninsula, this past weekend. The council's press release on Friday indicates it was concerned about a repeat of the New Year riot in Gisborne, but it really doesn't seem that fear was well-founded

For a start, the claim that 1500 people had paid to attend is wrong. That's the number of people who clicked "like" on the festival's Facebook page. The sold-out ticketed number was actually half that. And it also seems evident that this groovy, arty, non-profit sustainability-oriented party wasn't really anything like the boozy, riotous BW Festival in Gisborne.

And then there was this:

Community environment manager Marion Smith says they will be “going to court - we will be prosecuting.”

“The event was abated not to start and they ignored that,” says Marion. “The fact that they ignored it meant they put themselves at risk of breaching the district plan's noise elements.

“We had offered them another place (Thames Racecourse) to hold the event because they weren't going to get resource consents soon enough, and they didn't take the offer up.”

Marion adds: “Council will prosecute because it's a blatant disregard. They had time to reorganise and we had offered a suitable site for them that had already had a resource consent.

“They were determined to go down the path they wanted to do, it didn't matter what we said.”

The festival organisers have posted their detailed response here, noting that:

Although Chronophonium’s resource consent is still pending, all plans submitted to the council were executed professionally with due care to ensure the safety of everyone involved. Three security guards patrolled the property and found no trouble over the three days. There were no major accidents, and the six qualified first aid personnel had time to enjoy the music and are excited to work with us again next year.

To be honest, if I felt I'd acted in good faith and was faced with an ultimatum to transfer my bush festival to a racecourse or cancel it, I'd be inclined to just carry on too. There were two noise control complaints, but they seem to have complied with officers on that. ("The seizure of sound equipment ended peacefully and festival goers enjoyed quiet acoustic music for the rest of the night.")

There are photos, reviews and a few videos from the weekend online, including this great-looking clip in which Thundercub get their throb on.


Laneway lights up Auckland's Silo Park area on Monday the 26th of this month. But in the days before Auckland and Wellington get sideshows from Flying Lotus and Wellingotn gets Little Dragon and Royal Blood.

Note also this haunting new Flying Lotus video.

But there's something pretty special on at Silo Park the Saturday before too. For Silo Sessions on the 24th, DJ curator Hudge is joined by the much-loved Turnaround crew and London groove legend Norman Jay. It starts at midday and there will be craft beer, food and a special Pasifika-themed market. And it's free.

What is a Norman Jay show like? Here's an utterly gorgeous video from Notting Hill Carnival 2012. It fills my heart with joy.


And finally on the festival front, the Ruapuke Roots Garden Festival in Raglan boasts a very impressive lineup of dub and reggae sound system action next month, with crews from around New Zealand and France, Germany and the UK.


Andrew Schmidt has a remarkable insight into Christchurch music folklore published on Audioculture this week: the Mollet Street story, featuring The Doomed, The Vauxhalls and more.

An update from The Guardian on the forthcoming Kurt Cobain doco, Montage of Heck, executive produced by his daughter Francis Bean and including "dozens of Nirvana songs and performances, as well as previously unheard Cobain originals”.


Whoop! New RocknRolla Soundsystem edit! Free download!

Another week, another sweet, sad Lontalius tune:

Wellington's Paddy Fred has posted a lovely flip of the Marvin Gaye classic.

On TheAudience, another doing-it-all young woman from Christchurch:

And another. I've posted this track before but I played it on 95bFM last Saturday and I think it's one of last year's sleepers (note the free download on the page):

Righto ...


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