Who in God’s name, I asked myself, are The Valves? A visit to Google wasn’t a lot of help; when you type in “The Valves” you end up with a multitude of plumbing web sites. After much searching, advanced and otherwise, I finally found a band named The Valves. My problems were solved, or so I thought. But, on closer inspection, I discovered that unless there had been a revival of the 1970’s Scottish punk movement in the last year or so, it was unlikely that I had in fact found the right band. The Valves I had found were probably in their 50s by now, and although I briefly entertained the thought that maybe they had re-formed for our Orientation viewing pleasure, I figured I had probably just stumbled across the name sake of the band I was looking for.
While the original Valves played with the likes of Joe Jackson, The Stranglers, Ian Dury, The Adverts, Screw Driver, The Members and The Greedy Bastards (you can forgive yourself, as I did, for not knowing who the hell these bands were), The Valves, who will support Violent Femmes in the Union Hall on March 4th, hail from good old NZ, and are, as yet, pretty much unknown.
Although The Valves, as a band, are fairly unknown, the members of the band are slightly more recognisable. The band consist of the Tui award winner Brent Milligan, formerly of legendary Kiwi band Pumpkinhead, who after three years in the UK has decided to return to New Zealand (he won Most Promising Vocalist, which can never be a bad thing in a lead singer really); then there is the bass player, Donald McLure, who emerged from another Wildside Records band, Slim; and guitarist Marc Royal and drummer Phil Boese from 7 Tongues made the team complete after three years of trying to crack into the Australian music industry. This is a band with more than a pinch of experience.
The Valves’ sound combines driving riffs, melodic refrains and “bigger than Bathurst, high octane Rock’n Roll”. The Valves, by their own definition, sound hard to ignore.
If this sort of thing sounds like you, don’t jump on the Internet and check them out, because the plumbing sites just aren’t going to compare to seeing these guys live, and hearing it for yourselves.
The story that is local band Crumb began like so many others: In highschool. Vocalist Carter Nixon and drummer John Davidson started a band while they attended Hutt Valley High School, and although they broke up after 7th form a coincidental meeting some years later saw them reform with Peter Rostedt on bass. After some lineup and name changes (they were, at one stage, going to call themselves Mansini after Nixon’s favourite character on Melrose Place), Crumb, who in the end took their name from the character Lord Crumb in Peter Jackson’s film Bad Taste, was finally born.
Some of you will only know Crumb by their single “Pick up the Pieces” from their debut album So Dirty, Everyday (named after the state of their motel room during the recording process), and for those of you whose experience of Crumb is limited to their releases, you are missing out on what they consider to be their best side: Live shows.
Crumb pride themselves on their live performances, likening themselves to Kiss, Queen, Iron Maiden and Motley Crue in terms of their stageshow and ability to really put on a show rather than look at their feet and “act like they were too fuckin’ cool for school.”Crumb are renowned for the humour in their live shows. Nixon explains this as being something that began to make up for other areas which may have been lacking, but now “we’re great and funny”. A live Crumb performance is more than just four musicians making music, it, apparently, is also a comic spectacle.
You can see them in Eastside on March 2nd.
Crumb prefer to associate themselves with the likes of The Darkness over The Strokes, which gives you a pretty good indication of where this band is at, and if you were expecting another 60s garage band, you won’t be getting it. Crumb could be seen to be more of a classic rock band than a passenger on the 60s revival bandwagon (not that I’m denying being a huge fan of that bandwagon). Crumb’s sound can be seen to draw on everything from Guns ‘n Roses, to the Ramones, to Kiss to Tom Petty; they’re well versed in the various sub-genres of rock ’n roll.
On one occasion Nixon, after a thoroughly exhausting set where he was “absolutely stuffed”, was thrown an inhaler from an audience member. While this little anecdote shows that Crumb may not be a band that intices girls to throw their bras on stage, they will definitely give it all they’ve got, and that’s got to count for something.