This show seemed to be under most people’s radar, as there wasn’t much of a crowd down at Dux Live; though it was a tuesday night. After laid-back drinks and a dj spinning drum’n’bass for a while, the more recently configure Monsta Machine (a new version of the Steffan van Soest Hit-Machine with a Monster Costume wearing front-man) took the stage.
Quite a departure from the old Hit-Machine, the guys were revelling in playing monster-themed Rap-Metal; which bassist Simon Nunn described as a kind of music he always wanted to play – the Judgement Day soundtrack was bandied about.
Anyway it was all good fun – and those costumes (which front-man Grubby produced himself) are bloody brilliant.
The Hit-Machine are a quirky 4-piece rock outfit from Christchurch, comprised of four jokey friends with strong ties to the local underground scene of the late 90s and into the 00s. With Steffan Van Soest up-front, the rest of the band is made up of Simon Nunn (Drums), Paul Glubb (Bass) and Matt ‘Hatt’ Bullimore (Guitar) – a solid trio who encompassed the spin-off group the Excercise Machine when without Van Soest.
The group went through major changes with the departure of Glibb and Bullimore for overseas sojourns, Van Soest and Nunn performing then performing under the U.S.S. Hit-Machine moniker as a reduced power-duo (though they have played shows with various other replacement members).
The group are a bit of an enigma in the local scene – they managed to win the RDU (college radio station supported) Round Up band competition, using the funding for a production run on their Here Comes.. album, but otherwise the group has stuck with small cd-r releases. Their albums are full (and i mean full – with very little throw-away filler) of great, catchy and utterly bizarre pop songs, built on huge metal riffs, comical ballads and glorious (and gloriously silly) harmony vocals.
Live the group can vary from a complete triumph (such as 2005’s excellent reunion show at the Dux De Lux) to a complete sham – but they’re always entertaining.
Later in the 2000’s guitarist William Daymond joined the group, and with Nunn now playing gigs professionally, ‘Heavy Metal’ Simon McKenzie became the permanent drummer, although Nunn occasionally plays as a guitarist or bassist, depending on who’s in town – Daymond has also now relocated, joining Glubb in Wellington. A more recent spin-off of the group is Monsta Machine featuring prosthetic wizard Chester ‘Grubby’ Dextar on vocals.