Wellington’s annual Fringe Festival is acclaimed for being the breeding ground for many talented artists, writers, dancers and musicians. This year, one of my favourite events was The Rock Show, held at the Wellington Arts Centre.
It featured a relatively new live band, The Resistance, while artist Michael Hawkins painted Jackson Pollack-style onto huge white walls. I caught up with their lead singer/guitarist, Andrew Savage, to get the lowdown on the band.
The Resistance has last year’s Fringe Festival to thank for their existence, as Savage and drummer, Richard Wise, were involved in another project – a covers band, called Shakespeare’s Bitch. “We were a kind of piss-take band. We were doing female rock songs, like Patti Smith, PJ Harvey, Nico and all that kind of stuff.” It was at this gig that Savage ran into an old school friend, bass player Michael Duffy. This chance meeting created The Resistance. Apparently, the name was a last minute effort, borrowed from the French Resistance – fitting, as Michael is a history teacher.
They soon started jamming and playing shows. Their style is guitar-driven indie rock with strong pop tendencies, or, as Savage calls it, “twisted pop.”
This year saw the band take their music out of pubs, and into art galleries. Fuelled by a desire to make their music more than “a thing played at pubs,” the band wanted to do something different.
How timely it was, then, that artist Michael Hawkins approached Savage with his idea of having the band play while he painted to the music. Hawkins improvised and created his works on the spot. Which, according to Savage, “…were meant to capture the energy of the live band, so the paintings would represent the set list, or all the dark and light that comes with a rock show.”
He notes that “it was quite a weird experience with the audience having their backs to you, but they would do so to focus all their energy on one person; Michael, and then Michael would try to depict the music in his artwork.”
Not wanting to leave this as a one off event, Hawkins and The Resistance are currently looking for a venue to recreate what was witnessed at the Fringe Show. Savage admits “I like the idea of taking it out of an art exhibition – like, we were the rock band playing at an art gallery – but now we want to take art and put it in a rock venue and show it on the other side of the coin, where Michael will be in a different space to what he would normally be in. It’s just a matter of finding the right people who will allow us to do it.”
At the moment, they are putting together a proposal for Mighty Mighty and Happy. In May, the band plans to record a demo in hopes of getting radio exposure, and taking the show to places where it may have otherwise remained unseen.