Stinkfest 13!

Ok so I only got the chance to attend one night of the Stinkfest 13 celebration, but it was a beaut at the Darkroom. Opening with the latest one-man all-vampire showcase that is I Drink Your Blood, I knew it was going to be a fun night.

I Drink Your Blood!
I Drink Your Blood!

Playing with reel-to-reel backing and cool creepy organ sounds, the cape-cloaked bogey-man threw down some cool songs, touched with bone-chilling hoots and hollers!

Ritchie Venus
Ritchie Venus

Next was the return of local legend Ritchie Venus, playing a karaoke set of his best songs (like the stunning Forbidden Planet, and scene-setting number My Beretta), to an enthralled crowd. Playing an especially down-and-out flavoured repertoire of songs, perfect for his unpopular-Elvis persona.

Planet of the Tapes
Planet of the Tapes

Planet of the Tapes really stepped it up a notch from the previous show i’d seen of them, playing with aggression and fury. All 3 err… tape-people seem to be really firing at the moment, channelling their inner surf-music gods!

Golden Axe
Golden Axe

Golden Axe are touring their latest album ‘Liquid Bacon’, and unfortunately their show was cut short by closing time. They were rough around the edges but fun, as always. Playing garbled electro-pop in a DIY fashion.

For the rest of the photos click here.

The Renderers

The Renderers are New Zealand’s prime example of southern-fried country, and are indeed one of our finest ever bands. Brian Crook formed the Renderers with his partner Maryrose in early 90s christchurch when the Max Block Group failed to go anywhere. He was already part of the Scorched Earth Policy / terminals sequence of bands that was picking up wind again – but the Renderers were the Crooks band (they’ve cycled through line-ups, with John Billows, Peter Mitchell (also of squirm and Hiss Explosion), Denise Roughan (the 3Ds, Look Blue Go Purple et all), Robbie Yeats Dead C, verlaines) and Haydn Jones, whilst the Crooks’ have always remained consistent.

Their early recordings stuck to a strictly country approach and seemed a bit too forced and distant, it wasn’t until the band relocated to port chalmers, a small bay just outside of dunedin that the Renderers really found their sound. Maryrose’s vocal on the 7″ sincle ‘a million lights” is like a defining moment in New Zealand rock. An achingly beautiful, brief song that has since featured on many Flying Nun and xpressway compilations, the song typified the Renderers new found dark and country-tinged rock sound.

Over the course of the 90s, the Renderers albums grew stronger and stronger – culminating in the masterpiece that is 1998’s dream of the sea. Featuring a wonderful cover of Ritchie Venus forgotten gem forbidden planet and a swagger of fine, dark songs themed around the sea, it was welcomed with open arms by the u.s. Underground music scene, whilst going mostly ignored in New Zealand. The Renderers are still going strong, touring sporadically, whilst both Maryrose and Brian have released their own solo material (most notable Brian’s 2002 album as Bible Black, and Maryroses contributions to the Arc Life series of dunedin music compilations).

In early / mid 2004 during the process of organising a christchurch show with the band, i managed to conduct an interview with the duo, and have kept up to date on their schedule for future releases. Since the recent demise of arc life, plans are now intact for the Renderers to start their own label. With Maryrose’s first solo release, a further solo release from Brian in a form similar to that of his fractured solo debut bathysphere under his current Anti-Clockwise performing alias, and perhaps the 5th Renderers release on the way, to boot.
circa mid-2005 the group made further line-up changes, this time coinciding with a possible move back to christchurch. Original bassist john bellows was reinstated, and drummer mike daly (also of Eskimo and formerly YFC) become the groups rhythm section for a one-off christchurch show, still preceeding the highly-anticipated 5th album.

discography
picks in bold

  • trail of tears [1991 Flying Nun fn184]
  • ‘bigger than texas’/’revival radio’ 7″ single [1991 Flying Nun fn185]
  • ‘a touch of evil’/’howling at the moon’ 7″ single [1993 Flying Nun fn254]
  • that dogs head in the gutter gives off vibrations [1995 Ajax ajax042]
  • surface of jupitor [1996 Ajax]
  • dream of the sea [1998 Siltbreeze]
  • ghost of our vegas lives [2005 as ‘Maryrose Crook’ Tinsel Ears]

recommended songs

download from mp3.co.nz

  • dream of the sea
  • i hear the devil calling me
  • pure poison
  • a million lights
  • forbidden planet
  • dimmer waters

See-Also

Ritchie Venus (and the Blue Beetles)

Ritchie Venus (real name: Michael Braithwaite) is a bit of an oddity in the Christchurch scene. A quiet, timid man in conversation, he’s been creating music since the first wave of New Zealand rock’n’roll way back in the 1950s – idolizing our original superstar Johnny Devlin.

Yet, unlike a number of other kiwi musicians, he languished in obscurity, even in his own home town – being known more for his Elvis impersonations (which he has done regularly for quite some time at Lyttleton’s brilliant Wunderbar) than his original music, yet has released a number of albums, full of his own original rock’n’roll classics. In the mid 90s and poignant documentary and the Renderers brilliant cover of his live favorite original Forbidden Planet led to a bit more exposure, but Venus still remained a relatively unknown character.

Discography (picks in bold)

  • ‘Bleeding Heart’/’Josephine’ 7″ single [1981 Flying Nun FN008]
  • Rebel Blood [1987 Onset/Offset PRA2387]
  • You Can’t Fight It [1989 Onset/Offset RV008]
  • Rockin’ to the Grave [1989 Onset/Offset]
  • The Ballad of Ritchie Venus [2000 Onset/Offset RV11]
  • Sunrise [2002 Onset/Offset]

See-Also

Vacuum Blue Ladder

The Vacuum Blue Ladder formed when Bill Direen joined Stephen Cogle (Bass / Vocals) and Peter Stapleton (Drums / Lyrics), who were also making music as the duo Victor Dimisich Band – a group that would later release an EP on Flying Nun, and can be seen as the starting point for the more recognized Terminals, plus Stapleton and Cogle’s many variations. However – the Vacuum were quite different from these future groups, as Direen was an important creative force in the group who added his own color to their sound and songwriting.

The members took advantage of their connections to the album importing business, encompassing inspiration from the most obscure (in New Zealand’s mid 70s environment) corners with the likes of the Velvet Underground and West Coast U.S. psychedalic artists the 13th Floor Elevators (along with the staple Nuggets bands)… the very best in gritty, noisy and creative garage rock.

Like before we were in Vacuum we had a backyard band sort of thing. We used to play in this room down the back of my parents’ house. A woman called Theresa played guitar with us and we wrote songs. The ones we did with the Vacuum, most of the songs were written by Bill, which was a source of conflict eventually, and so we took our songs and did them with the Victor Dimisich Band
Peter Stapleton

Guitarist / Vocalist Theresa Mcquire joined and left in 1976, making way for Direen to front the band, and soon Peter Fryer had joined on violin. The combination of Direen and guitarist Allen Meek created a rift in the band, with Cogle and Stapleton restricted to the side-lines.

…They got pretty close. Peter and I would come along (to practise), and Bill and Allen would’ve spent a long time working things out. In the end, it sort of goes, that I got fired, by Bill. ‘Cause I didn’t mix with him. I remember.. Peter meeting me over the christmas period, we sort of had a christmas break, and he said oh, Bill wants me to tell you that you’re out (laughs). And I said oh, that’s fine, it suited me. And I was replaced by Segovia
Stephen Cogle: taken from Have You Checked The Children?

Jon ‘Segovia’ Markie (soon to make his name with the Axemen and later Shaft) joined Direen, Meek and drummer Malcolm Grant (the Bats) on bass to complete the final line-up of the Vacuum in 1979. The band eventually dissolved in the very early 1980s, but resurfaced with the short-lived Kaza Portico – Segovia in the mostly-covers outfit the Volkswagons, and later in Ritchie Venus‘s Blue Beetles.

Direen eventually took the shortened Vacuum as the name for his theater group, and continues to write, act and perform to this day.

Discography (picks in bold)

See-Also