Punk and 4ZZZ go hand in hand. Well from my sort of outsider’s point of view. I didn’t grow up in Brisbane but I was well aware of the, arguably, first punk band in Australia, if not the world – The Saints. Brisbane boys. I remember the first time I saw them perform, on telly at least. I was just a kid tuning into the Sunday sermon on Countdown. They blew my pre-teeny-bopper socks off. Man, this was filthy and raw and just the opposite of all the bubblegum pop we were used to being spoon-fed. It grabbed me by the throat and the balls. Not the latter, but you know what I mean. It shook the shit out of not just music but art, fashion, politics and attitudes. I was young and maybe not so naive and could feel a seething undercurrent of rebellion surging in the air and my bones. The smell of teen-spirit was pungent. There was revolution in the air – Vietnam, moratoriums, police corruption, suffocation and brutality, especially in Queensland. It had become a stifling Police State under the regime of Bjelke-Peteresen, quashing freedoms and expressions. Where there is prohibition, rebellion grows.
Enter Punk Rock. Yes. Something to get my young teeth and claws and guts and teen angst and soul and mind into.
The Brisbane I know today and have grown to love, is proud of its punk heritage. Its Pig City moniker. 4ZZZ was there from the get-go and 40 years later they are still there. Still maintaining the rage. Tonight is old-school punk at its Brisbane finest. Punters and players may have aged but there is still fire in their (spreading?) bellies, and the odd Mohawk spearing through the greying throng. The gig sold out way before the event, a testament to the city’s loyalty to its punk heritage.
This is my first time at The Hamilton Hotel – The Hamo. Downstairs is full of rowdy race-goers dressed in their ridiculous finery, back from Doomden or Eagle Farm or wherever they race those poor horses. Upstairs is already filling with punksters. GOLDSTOOL are on stage belting out their high energy tunes as I enter. People are milling about, warming up for the night’s activities. I’m in the mood. Not sure of the relevance of the “dancing” girls, but who gives a damn? I noticed at the merch desk they had brown paper bags labeled “Stool Sample”. Hmmm.
SKELETONES are leaping out of their skins, rattling them bones with glee as they grin through their whole set. They’ve been playing their punk-rock since the mid 80’s and supporting Triple Z in their joint effort fundraising endeavours many times over the years.
The thumping drums of band FAT are compelling. Bodies dancing to that marching beat.
Mick Medew and The Mesmerisers are melodic, lyrics meaningful. Tight and cool.
HITS rev it up and slam the stage. Stacey and Tamara rip those guitars, Dick snarls and taunts. This is rock and roll laid bare.
Of course everyone is hanging for the legendary HOODOO GURUS. The boys are next to me side of stage, stretching and breathing as the fanfare intensifies. Hey I recognise that drummer. It’s Nick from Radio Birdman. Wow. Cool. Dave is cool as a cucumber as he leads us through some of our favourite songs of the 80s. The crowd calling out their favourite songs, bantering with the band. It’s a merry trip down memory lane with “My Girl”. “What’s My Scene?”, yeah I still wanna know. More on the pop side of punk, their music is timeless. I wish I had found my Stoneage Romeo shirt for the occassion. Been wearing it for 20 something years but its whereabouts are a mystery at the moment. I went to buy The Gurus new tee but they were all sold out.
All good things must come to an end. It’s always Bitter Sweet. Hoo roo Hoodoos. Keep Guru-vy, and keep raging against the machine Brisbane and Triple Z.