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(Live Review) The Fanatics, Cortina, Avotor and Disasteradio

Dave Herbert



If the cliché is true, then fashion certainly comes in cycles. For some bands punk never really died – it’s happening right now. “Grab your skateboards kids and don’t miss out!” Too young too remember the Mod revival of the late 70s? How about the glam rock/hair metal revival of the late 80s? Perhaps musical genres never really die; they merely grow and evolve into the good the bad and the Fifty-Cent. (Oh come on Dave, he’s a good rapper, and he’s probably a nice guy.)
Excuse my ranting and raving but was it not Dolf de Datsun, when commenting on the forthcoming release of his album in Rip It Up last year, who said, “…it’ll be interesting to see what happens now that it’s 1983, instead of 1970.” I remain staunch that there is a torrent of really good bands flooding the airwaves and record stores at the moment. And rather than brush them aside as being completely derivative and retrospective in their art, I choose to embrace what I believe be blatant ignorance towards shite American FM rock and a general hat-tipping to the methods in which music used to be made.
The 80s were in vogue at Indigo tonight. First up was Disasteradio, who I like a lot. Not of the guitar nor of the turntable or microphone; computer sampling and synthesizers are his weapon of choice. He managed to warm the crowd who slowly filtered through to the dance floor during his set. Imagine the soundtracks of early and rudimentary computer games – Space Invaders, the first Street Fighter – and you’re on the right track. To his credit Disasteradio seems content in a world of his own, creating unique beats, beeps and samples that work really well. The music seems to be based on the traditional band format, playing short 3-minute songs in a set, completely separate from the continuous onslaught of a DJ who nearly always links each song together.
Avotor played next and then they finished, leaving no impression. The only trick these guys had up their sleeve was magically making the crowd disappear. I’ve heard they’re good on record, but they would be better off earning a living working late nights at the office. Their mundane industrial rhythms and, ‘intense,’ stage presence was too much for me to contemplate.
Cortina were up next, I’ve heard a lot about these guys and hype is not always a good thing. They were good though, calling up the electro beats of New Order, the disco of Blondie and the guitar of Eddie Van Halen. They’re one of those bands you don’t know if you should like or not so I’m thinking about donning a perm, getting shit-faced and going to see them again.
Last up were the Fanatics from Auckland. A two-piece, steeped in the traditions of the Faint (Blank Wave Arcade era) and New Order, their sound reminds me of New York group Interpol on an electric bender. These guys are building a buzz following the numerous shows and play-listings of their songs on student radio. They were a step up in song writing and stage presence, even if vocalist Dr. Green’s masquerading and twirling of the mic stand seemed forced at times. They plowed through ‘Girl’, ‘Models’ and other songs I didn’t know but took an immediate liking to. If I could fault the band once more it would be their lack of a drummer. Call me traditional but they played to backing tracks, albeit excellent ones, pre-recorded on what I gathered to be a mini-disc player. On stage were one guitarist and a vocalist yet the audience was pummeled with beats that seem to come from nowhere. The Fanatics have definitely got the songs and the energy to go places and I liked them, but if they go by their influences, they should get someone to do their samples live, they make DJ’ing look honorable.
All in all though, a damn good night! Here’s to the 00’s!