21 Apr 2019

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  • Alizarin Lizard - Alizarin Lizard, Brown & Guests @ The Badcave, Palmerston North, 06/12/12
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Alizarin Lizard - Alizarin Lizard, Brown & Guests @ The Badcave, Palmerston North, 06/12/12

21 Dec 2012 // A review by Peter-James Dries

Last week I read the following headline in the local Manawatu Standard:

“City folk ‘intolerant of noise’ – Musician ‘banned’ from playing music”

The picture of Harry Lilley, a well-known busker in Palmerston North, and his white blonde hair, sunglasses and guitar made this annual report for the Environmental Protection Services Noise Control seem like someone else actually cared about Harry’s plight, the plight of many a practicing musician.

This article came a week after:

“Explicit PN hip-hop video an online hit”

The thing I like about this article is it summed up the closed mindedness of this rural town that masquerades as a city.

In this article we have 23-year-old hip-hop artist ‘Vicious Villain’ becoming an underground hit on Youtube with his video for the song ‘Palmy.’ The video caused a fuss… Actually it didn’t…  

No one really cared that there was drug use and obscenities in the video, because a) that’s hip-hop and b) the video is an accurate representation of the youth in this town, the ones that aren’t hiding at home to avoid the youth in this town.

Our mayor, Jono Naylor (former guidance counsellor at Rangitikei College in Marton and Social Worker for the Child, Adolescent and Family Services at Palmerston North Hospital) responded to the video saying “Hopefully one day they will grow up” in reference to the struggling New Zealand artist in need of some encouragement, also known as ‘Vicious Villain.’

One article that I didn’t see in the paper was the Lizard and Brown gig at the Badcave I tried to attend. Those of you that know me, which isn’t many of you, know how much I hate the fuck out of town, mainly because of the aforementioned youth, so to get me out of the comfort of my flat… it takes a lot of convincing.

I figured I wouldn’t pull a sickie. I’ve reviewed Alizarin Lizard and liked their psychedelic style, and I liked Brown’s David Bain Jersey song from the Nature’s Worst… compilation, and I’d never been to the Badcave before. The prospect of an alcohol and drug free venue seemed a far cry from any night out I’ve had since the Lighthouse, the first edition behind Candy’s not the other one.

I missed most of the Dranos set as I was trying to assess my surroundings, though the punk chick bassist, the topless drummer and the Mexican Wrestler masked singer / guitarist is an image burned in my mind.  As I looked around the room I reflected on how the boys of Brown and Alizarin Lizard had been so accommodating and welcoming at the door, I was still buzzing on that, looking around and trying to take in the scenery of this place they called the Badcave.

The trade off for being away from drunken rockers and their stoned fans was I was at least ten years older than anyone in the room. No matter how attractive they were or single I was, there would always be the generation gap hanging over any attempt to even make conversation. There is a fine line between dashing older guy and creepy pedo.

I was relieved to see there were some trends I recognised, the timeless Hendrix and Metallica band tee-shirts, the Al Borland from Tool Time flannel shirts... actually that was it. The rest seemed like a sort of parody of cool. Trendy tees over tight jeans, Chuck Taylors and thick framed glasses. Pretty sure one of Alizarin Lizard’s singles deals with this new breed. Hipster they call it.

And one of the bands could be almost described as Hipster. Reclusia as they’re know, but to me that one band that did the Nerine’s cover. The singer was passionate, the keyboardist was a good filler, but the drummer seemed over qualified, as if he wanted to be going faster, harder. Reclusia’s often mellow and echoy Shoegaze was a stark contrast to the punk in the white singlet with the scrawled vivid that fronted Nausea, my favourite of the night. 

It a was a hot night, in all black I was feeling it upstairs in the tiny venue, and this guy… there was sweat pouring everywhere and the fury and passionate hate in his screams. I was impressed by him as a front man, the screams, the style, the pent up anger, his nonchalance as he wiped sweat from his reddened brow after the gig, surrounded by a posse of 13 – 15 year old fans. I was also impressed by the human drum stand that appeared during their set, supporting a loose tom. Funny if his name was Tom, I think it was Mitch.

I met Harry Lilley that night, you know, that kid from the first article. I was outside giving my sweat a cooldown, the smell of pot from a nearby tour band tickling my nose. He had this kind of Cobain-esque, grungy look to him, and this thing about protecting his musical ear with earplugs during the gig. I envied him after the gig as slept against the ringing in my ears. I’d seen him around busking before. It was usually him or my part-time singer/full-time busker, Marque Duckmanton, I see on the desolate ruins of the once bustling Broadway. We talked about shit and stuff; state of the music industry, the shitness of our city, the homeless that usually sit on the bench we were and the sideways look the occasional pedestrian gave us when we didn’t ask for a cigarette or money for an non-existent bus.

We went back in together as the next band started. We stood together, but you can’t really talk when someone’s playing. Not out of politeness, more because live cymbals have this certain clang to them that eliminates both whispered and yelled conversation. The band, -52, reminded me of, well, Nirvana I guess. Not really the sound, more the look. Well, only the tall guy, the tallest guy at the gig even.  He looked a little like Novoselic.  

I wish I’d paid more attention that night so I could describe the music better, because these kids deserve the publicity. They need the encouragement. They’re going to be the ones to take over the rock scene of Palmerston North when the guys at $lave Recordings reach their 50s. If I stay any longer in this dead end town I’d be happy to see that.

Nausea, -52, Reclusia, Dranos. Don’t ever stop.

Politely the Noise Control officer waited until the middle of their set before storming upstairs and demanding to know who was running this joint. The Lizard and Brown boys were the ones that copped the flack and received their welcome to Palmy.

“Do you have a licence? Is it just you up here? No one running it? Just you kids?”

There was a lot of restrained swearing, a lot of confusion. “Turn it off or you owe me a grand. Do it again, we’re taking your shit too.”

And as the feedback of an unplugged guitar marked the silence of the show a 15 year girl no higher than my hip asked if they get their parent’s money back.

My heart went out to those boys. They’d just heard that their Hunterville gig, next stop on the North Island tour, had been cancelled. The fans of the other bands, the schoolmates and girlfriends milled around outside, confused, but chatty, as the Noise Control officer shot down the prospect of gentlemanly discussion of the issue with one of the boys from the South. The complainer emerged from her shop and snuck into the night, her act of goodwill for the pretentious middleclass she stood for not going unnoticed.

That night the seventy five parents of fifty kids felt their wallets get ten dollars lighter, a van load of boys from the South felt cheated, an officious woman in a clothes shop was inconvenienced by having to call noise control, the Scottish Club played their bag pipes into the night and a slightly gothy reviewer once again lost his faith in society and this city.

So why didn’t you hear about this? Why weren’t you left with a feeling of self-righteous indignation at the thought of paper-work put off at a clothes shop next door winning out over nurturing growing artistic talent of this forsaken shit hole of a town? Because as this city will show you time again and time again, as the people masticate you and spit you on the sidewalk, no one cares but the ones who were there.

The sad thing about all this is, after I’ve said these things and felt this apathy and hopelessness for the past two weeks, the only people that read this are gunna be the bands that missed out and their fans that felt cheated. 

I could write a sad song about it like Elliott Smith, or kill myself over it like Kurt Cobain, but all I have is this word processor and the internet. And in the end, no one cares but the ones that were there.



About Alizarin Lizard

Alizarin Lizard are four young men intent on avoiding the real world by living in one huge musical party until it all goes horribly wrong. The Lizard was forged in late 2008 amid chaos and confusion, and spent the next year concocting weird pop songs and freaking out the punters. During one of the longest band tours around NZ in 2010, the band tightened up and shook off a touch of their psychedelic jacket before returning home to Dunedin to record their debut EP Oh, Colour.

Visit the muzic.net.nz Profile for Alizarin Lizard


Do You Just Want Me To Watch You?
Year: 2013
Type: Album
The Weekend Went Without You
Year: 2012
Type: Album
Oh, Colour
Year: 2011
Type: EP

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