55th National Jizz Fest Review:

 

Over the course of the past 6 years we have ridden the coat tails of the Tauranga Jazz Festival with our own Easter weekend parody, staging a multiple act punk event known as the Jizz Fest. This has operated outside the purview of the council and Jazz elitists by being held in tunnels, under flyovers, at skate parks, sheds, lounges etc. This year we decided to take the Jizz to the Jazz and booked in at Settlers Bar on Wharf Street - deep within the heart of Jizz village. It wasn't meant to be.

 

Settlers were great, easy to deal with and Bev the bar lady was awesomely accommodating. Also as one of the last remaining true Tauranga classic dive bars I whole heartedly endorse them with their cheap beers and interesting cast of local characters. Unfortunately Settlers like us had no control over the complaints received from the no doubt weekend holiday home visiting, Latte drinking, over priced food scoffing Aucklanders which lead us to call an early evening audible and moving to under the Tauranga Harbour Bridge.

 

Up first at 12pm were Liberated Squid. Few Jazz fags were around at this point as their day was also only beginning, thus we thought that Liberated Dad wouldn't disturb the peace too greatly. We were wrong. The Squids blasted through a dixie hat offending set of cuss words, abrasive riffs and anti Verne anthems. Despite making me feel highly uncomfortable whenever locking eyes with a blue rinser they were really good. Unfortunately as we would soon find out the rest of Wharf Street didn't agree.

 

Wheatbags Anonymous made their less than triumphant TMS return after a 3 year hiatus playing Jizz Fest in preparation for their Tuesday night gig supporting David Liebe Hart at Totara Street. Infamous for once having a projection screen lowered over them mid set in order for Rosie O' Gradies to watch Rugby - Wheatbags further lowered their standards by getting our first noise complaint of the day. Well they want to claim it, but really it was Liberated Squids doing - Wheatbags Anonymous were just unfortunately timed. They soldiered on at a barely audible volume as the next complaint issued would result in seizure of our equipment. 

 

Maybe I'm getting old or at least more respectful of others because instead of being the tanty throwing sperger like I have been we just readjusted the days schedule in order to move the quieter acts into earlier time spots. I get it, we were driving people away from the restaurants/cafes that surround Settlers. This wasn't something I had intended on doing or even thought about happening. And for them to complain, to me at least is perfectly understandable - Jazz Fest is usually one of their busier days. For us to inhibit that purely so we can annoy the Jazz Fest organisers who probably had no idea we were even there was juvenile in a sense. And yes by me copping to this you will say that I have lost my edge and that I'm no longer punk - but ask yourselves this, am I actually more punk by going against the grain of your expectations? No you are right, I have actually lost my edge and am no longer punk. 

 

Up next was Rik Gainsford playing solo under his Waspinator guise. Rik seemed to be shitting himself before and partly during his set but he shouldn't have, he was really good. Highlights for me were his covers of Electric Six and Christina Aguilera - not because his own songs were crap but because if you already know a song you hear it clearer and in the case of his Genie in a Bottle rendition it was revealed that when not shouting Rik has one of the more soulful in tune voices TMS has to offer. Sing more Rik, sing. 

 

My favourite act at Woodcock 2017 was Eugine Funigma, between all the stress of the day his set gave me some levity and brought me many smiles. Jizz Fest was no different, Eugina unlike the rest of us can craft a proper song and has the voice to back it up. Highlight was the Banana song: a 4 minute declaration of how great Bananas are with a conclusion saying that the song was 'about Oranges'. Unfortunately Greg Malcolm had to pull out and with the noisier bands being pushed back Funigma wound at playing for an hour to ever decreasing returns when his songbook ran dry. 

 

We tried upping the noise a little more around 4pm with Juan Los Bastardo. The restaurants either side were again closed after the lunchtime non-rush and the Cafes were closing for the day. Juans set was a good one and impressed many who had not yet heard him. Using a one man band set up of backing tracks to accompany his cleverly written punk songs we made it through a slightly louder set unscathed.

 

M.A Williamson, great songs/great voice but unfortunately due to his acoustic guitar needing and having a cheap microphone input attached to it leaves his guitar sounding like a 1930's grammaphone recording of an old time blue grass player. Joined for a track by Luke Turner on keys, the duo did a Warren Zevon song (not that I knew it) which with Mattys voice and Lukes playing style made it sound like a  Bad Seeds B-side (which is a good thing).

 

Tempting fate, my band playing as Irritabill Paxton Syndrome tested the waters as the first band to use a drumkit since Liberated Squid. It wasn't meant to be. You can turn amps down to the point of turning them off but you can't play drums quiet. With news that Nutech Security were again on their way - this time to seize equipment the call was made to stop playing, grab as much gear as possible and move to under the Tauranga Harbour Bridge where the only people we would/could annoy was the homeless guy, a few fisherman and some wharfies. 

 

After a relatively seamless set up Edward Gains and the Human Remains played a quick set. The first gig to feature new bass player Conar Johnston went surprisingly well. For a change not every member was near paralytic drunk, the natural reverb from under the bridge enhanced their sound and Nambassa guy made a cameo appearance doing his water bottle, denim on denim, worm infestation free form dance routine. 

 

Aucklanders, The Biscuits pushed on immediately after. Technically not the best musicians on display but as I am not a technical guy myself I love and prefer their eccentric, eclectic style. Kids don't learn your instrument, just play it. With no bass in sight the double guitar assault of Brenda/Indira and Daniel on spasmodic drums is a weirdo force to be reckoned with. Have you ever had 9 coffees then gone to work, this is The Biscuits and I love it.

 

I really, really thought Verdant Exudate were going to be absolute balls. Formed as a band to play the opening spot in the Shit Cunt Sand Pit at Woodcock and essentially so Big Dick wouldn't have to pay the entry fee only to then be denied said spot after we were rained out. Jizz Fest was my apology, which almost also didn't happen due to the noise issues at Settlers. However when they did get to play around 8pm my doubts were misguided. They were great. Vocal less doom metal/post rock of the highest order. Vocals are completely unnecessary as Toby and Conrad both carried the melody with their instruments while Big Dick pounded the drums like it w**as his boyfriends asshole. 

 

Every gig that the Diehards of Deep Dish play is essentially billed as their last gig due to the can't be fucked whims of Ashley Mckinley. Why anyone would want to end a band as cool as the Diehards is beyond me. My MVP for act of the day: this super group features some of the best of Tauranga musicians with members of Super Narco Man, Spork, Wheatbags Anonymous among others. With every song being a homage to the merits of Pizza they tick all the requisite boxes for impressing me. Good vocals with both melody and punch, big ass riffs, stupid fun party lyrics and quirky instrumentation. In order to save this band from breaking up I would trade in all the other Tauranga bands in a heart beat.

 

While Diehards were my MVP, it was The Dicks who stole the show. I don't really enjoy the shows I promote anymore, I have essentially been repeating the same formula for the last 6 years yet every now and then something exceptional happens and I forget that I can't stand live music. The Dicks reaffirmed why I do this. During their set I took a moment to absorb what we actually do and seeing over 50 people dancing together bogans/punks/normies united together under the dim light of the harbour bridge was a surreal moment. Watching the Dicks was like experiencing a real life version of Otis Day and the Knights during the Toga party in Animal House. The dancing, the incredible musicianship, the genuine happiness on everyone's faces seemed orchestrated to the point of being fictionalised, however the knowledge that it was a real life occurrence filled me with pride that what we have is  a very special organic thing that no bar/Jazz Fest/scene could ever replicate. 

 

TMS events are notable for being a safe environment. They may be held in dark tunnels, under bridges or in other rapey locations and despite the attendees looking like high school killing spree accomplices they are generally bunch of geeks just having a non gaming related good time. But every now and then some 'Zeig heil' throwing, bottle smashing, pseudo tough guy mongoloid will show up and remind us that the crowd we have are the best behaved, socially aware people I know. Unfortunately a mongolid showed up last night and ruined Super Narco Mans set for myself but rest assured they would have been on form, they always are and they probably will be in the next 23 minutes when they play their 33rd set of the weekend.

 

After 5 hours of noisy ass music under the bridge we managed to make it to the end of the night. Only one band remained - Here Lies the Homunculi. Sadly they didn't get to complete their set. Impressive, entertaining and brooding as it was the noise police yet again made a cameo. Luckily for us we got the greatest noise control officer ever, yes we had to cease making a racket but this legend wouldn't be taking our equipment. In fact he had played a large part in letting us go as late as we had by ignoring several phone calls from annoyed residents of the area due to the hypocrisy of the Jazz Festival making equivalent noise . Though seeing as the Jazz Fest had ended an hour prior he couldn't let us keep going. One fake address and alias later a noise notice was delivered to Steve Williams of 14b the Tauranga Harbour Bridge to cease and desist making noise for the next 72 hours. 

 

A lot has been said of the noise issues we received yesterday. Yes it is frustrating to be shut or turned down in the middle of the city while another musical genre is allowed to continue but would you really have it any other way? I'm personally glad that we were shut down I don't want to become what I hate. To accept us as the mainstream is to subject us to a sad, fate. Jazz was once seen as threatening, now it is the Daddest of Dad genres. Do we want what we do to become a Saturday/Sunday arvo outing for families and elderly couples? Fuck that. Wherever there is jizz I hope they have no room for it/us.

 

Search