The Rock Against War – in review

It was a success. It wasn’t a tremendous success, but it certainly wasn’t a failure, despite some major hiccups along the way (three hours’ delay due to unforeseeable technical difficulties). The point is: people there had a good time, the music was fucking excellent, the speakers were fucking excellent, nothing was damaged and there were enough donations to cover costs and leave about $250 for the charity.

The charity, by the way, is War Child. It took me a while to find one that was aimed at children and dealt with children in Iraq (fourth anniversary and all).

Nandor kicked things off with a greeting and a speech about the privilege of being born in New Zealand and the responsibilities that come with those privileges.

Cerveza opened, and they were the only band I hadn’t heard live before. Most of the audience hadn’t heard of them, let alone heard them, but everyone walked away impressed. The duty manager went out of his way to say how kickarse they were.

Bomber reminded me what a talented and passionate speaker he is when it comes to matters of social justice. I’d only heard him give a speech once before, at the ’05 ASPA awards, when his well-worded criticism of mainstream media was lost on much of the drunken crowd.

Both Bomber and Nandor made a point of mentioning Helen Clark’s lost opportunity to give Bush an earful over his administration’s criminal actions – it’s impolite to say bad things about friends, even if they’re not allies.

Then Chris Knox demonstrated what an insane and brilliant showman he is, ad-libbing a song or two, playing songs written for the occasion, then throwing his guitar on the ground and stalking the audience with his wireless headset, ultimately removing a woman’s shoe and licking her foot without missing a note.

After thanking various people…

The Bluestone Room
Auckland University Students Association
Area 51 (sound gear rental)
Jane McCowan, James Brown, Thom Forde, Dancing Dale, Mark from Body Corporate…

…I introduced my favourite Auckland band, The Dilettantes, under the guise of Captain Hammer & the Gold Stars, a bassist-less camo-wearing version of themselves. Having been bizarrely wooed by Chris Knox slow-thrusting his crotch in their faces, the young scallywags invited the old lunatic onstage to play their first song with them. Tragically, they couldn’t play my favourite song (Novelty Hits) without a bassist, but both new and old were cool. They attracted more of a crowd at the stage than anyone else, probably due to frontman Hamish’s devilish good looks and wild unpredictable sexiness.

And finally, long overdue, Body Corporate finished up, with what I can only assume is the perfect audience reaction: Chris Knox grabbing my arm and saying, “Jesus, these guys are great!” and one girl looking at me as if to say, “Why don’t you just play static?”

And throughout the night, Killa Fire Burn (or “Mark”) glued it all together by being a big lovely DJ, which it turns out is a very useful person to have.

Anyway. I learned a lot from putting this thing together. Made plenty of mistakes that I won’t repeat in future, and received almost unlimited assistance from some of the most good-natured people around. Now I’ve got to pack the gear up and get it back.

Tomorrow’s the seventh day.

I will rest.

3 Comments The Rock Against War – in review

  1. Robyn

    Nice one. I’m glad it went off as much as it did.

    I was going to go, but I didn’t finish work till after 11 and by then I just wanted to go to bed.


    I felt a bit guilty for not going, so I made a $50 donation to the Red Cross, and selected that it go to humanitarian work in Iraq.

    Keep on fighting the good fight.


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