What a great relaxed atmosphere down at the Incubator on friday night. Plenty of local musicians wandering around getting ready to perform including some local music celebrities such as Doug Yeiter, Michael & John Baxter, Glen Fitzjohn, Austin Cunningham, and Psyko T. Behind the scenes from ARTbop Alternative was Dhaivat Mehta (Archaeo), Baz Mantis (D-Day Saints), and myself. Also, the chief editor herself, Rosemary Balu, was there to help Launch this new Alternative wing of ARTbop.
Glen Fitzjohn (previously of Tauranga’s Storm Eater) fronts this alternative rockabilly/funk/folk group. They kicked off the launch party very well with there entertaining combination of melodic violin, rollicking funk bass, tidy drumming, and unique vocals. They’ve been going for about 2 years now and last time I saw them play was for another Incubator event last year. At that stage I believe it was just the 3 guys, but the addition of Storm on violin definitely helps lift their sound and add to their already unique style. Another highlight for me was Matt’s bass prowess. Being a bass player myself, I was able to fully appreciate his impressive bass playing ability. Very competent and seasoned bass technique which, for me, really stole the show. Not to take away from the other members of the group, as Glen is a very seasoned guitarist, and the drumming and violin playing was very solid too.
This group rocketed onto the stage with their fantastic high energy heavy underground punk rock. The band, as a unit, was incredibly tight. The members included Shannon on vocals who gave a powerful and aggressive performance with her punk vocal stylings. Rob’s guitaring was on the money and executed like a well seasoned punk rock pro. Willies drumming was very tight and energetic and locked in perfectly with Doug’s ferocious, but extremely tight bass playing. Actually Doug was yet another bass player who impressed me with both his great fuzz/growl bass sound and his uniquely ferocious playing. Some really unique musical ideas were executed amongst their high energy set.
After the powerful punk rock of All Hail The Funkillers, it was a great time to change up the musical style for the night, and Psyko-T really delivered something ideal for this point in the night. He entertained us with his brand of original rapping, combined with a sensational stage image and presence. Dressed up with clown make-up, a crazy hair-do and pin-striped suspender trousers. Such a fantastic stage image, something that psyko-T fully understands and utilises as part of his performer identity. His first track was very well executed with impressive rapping ability. The vocals were doubled up, which really helped to fatten up the vocal sound, generating a very polished live mix. This was definitely his best track and was of an international standard for sure.
I had heard a lot about Liberated Squid but had never seen them before. Wow, these guys are truly seasoned pro’s with their signature punk rock sound. Very very tight four piece unit: drums, bass, guitar and guitar/vocals. Michael Baxter is the main man on lead vocals with John Baxter on guitar and backing vocals. T-Dog on bass guitar and Jason on drums. With such a cool band name and a killer punk rock sound, Liberated squid definitely had their act down and sorted. Mike and Johny’s vocals gel very well together and lift their sound up another notch. Well crafted songs with catchy hooks and melodies. My favourite track of the set being Zombie Girl. I was truly entertained by these guys. Check out their double EP album on Band Camp. Well worth it !
By Kingsley Smith.
Kingsley Smith is a veteran musician who cut his teeth in the Hamilton music scene 25 years ago. He has been in dozens of original and cover bands. Has opened for Tania Donnelly, Anika Moa, Pluto, Renee Geyer, and The Black Seeds. Has 3 solo albums and recorded keyboards for other artists including Cassidy and Max Creepy. He is a multi-instrumentalist in his home recording studio and has been working hard this past year on new material for a new studio rock project known as Audio Storm. Kingsley also produce’s and DJ’s a music radio show called the NZ Hard Rock Show featuring the latest original hard rock from all around the country. It is played on 12 FM stations around NZ and also overseas on Rock Bandom Radio.