19 Jun 2021
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JANG - Gig Review: Jang @ DIY Anarcho Backyard Fest, Auckland - 16/01/2021

18 Jan 2021 // A review by Matt Billington

Jimmy stands at the gate of the festival site, in black boots, black shirt, and a black dress, swinging a machete.

"Hey bro." He hugs us in turn as we file in the gate, gently tapping my back with the machete handle. "Good to see you, just some last minute tidy up."

The Flatmate stops mid swig of her Mescatto and sums up my surprise by saying "Hey, this place actually looks really good."

Asides from soft brush fence Jimmy is trimming level with the machete, everything for the DIY Backyard Anarcho Fest is ready to go.

A few months back he put the call out for volunteers to rip out weeds, tidy paths, and trim bushes. He and his friends provided other friends beer and songs to help make stairs leading from the bottom garden up the side of the house to the back.

The event page had said: 2pm start, bands from '4 or 5pm'.

Which going on previous anarchist gigs I've been to, could mean anytime between 4pm and breakfast. But as we crack beers in the sun, the unmistakable thump of a kickdrum, bashed single chord drenched in distortion and a "hey hey hello" of a vocalist checking a microphone comes through the wall of the house.

We charge our way upstairs to see a band called Jang make house show history by actually starting the gig on time more or less when it was supposed to.

The lounge is pretty full, so I stand on the couch to see.

Jang are what Minor Threat would sound like if they had a gunfight in a forgotten town of The Old West while riding surfboards. Despite missing a guitarist (poor dude was reported to have the sort of illness you wouldn't wish on a corporate multinational pig farmer) they have excellent chemistry.

Being the first band on can kinda suck. You get a cold, dead sober audience, and there is little clear vibe to work with sometimes.

Jang get around this by just playing an intense set of songs they love, and the punters respond in kind.

Plus, the audience are attentive enough to return dropped guitar picks, plug dislodged leads back into pedals, and set up knocked over mic stands. You know, the sorts of things that wouldn't happen if Jang stood completely still on a twenty foot high stage behind a steel barricade and a line of 'Venue Security Personal' like some festivals have.

But where would the 'Anarcho' be if they did that?

The event page had said:

Summer back yard gig. BYO drinks bring $5 for koha which will be spent on hot chips and pizza. or bring food to share whatever you want."

We lounged in the garden, crammed our faces with shared food, and made our way back inside to see pop punkers Melanie.

Melanie play the sort of punk that makes you want to ride a skateboard and not clean your room. The four of them are so engaged in their music it seems they kind of forget there are people watching them.

They rage through some of the most ridiculously catchy tunes you'll ever find, seemingly oblivious to the moving mass of bodies in front of them. It felt like they played for 5 minutes, I could have listened to them all night.

The event page said:

Aim of the game:  avoid noise control, make use of garden, drink safe, avoid drama, enjoy the sun, keep peace with neighbours, more bands and excitement throughout the day, chill hangs in the evening.

And with that, sometime between 6 and 7pm, the final full electric act of the day Ciggy Butt Slvts took the main festival stage/floor of the lounge.

The five piece were heavy, loud, and fully of raw emotive vocals. In their music you could hear influences.

You could hear Black Flag.

..Or could hear Rancid V.

You could hear a monkey being sawn in half.

The flags that decorated the lounge said 'Tamaki Makaurau Anti-Fascist Action', 'Double Brown', and a poster asked us 'Is Your Boss Cheating You?' Ciggy Butt Slvts sounded like the room looked: a space of anger and empathy.

There hadn't been a barrier between bands and punters all day, but somehow during Ciggy Butt Slvt's set we become even closer, piled in and one another.

As with most house shows, there were 'technical difficulties' or 'equipment malfunctions' or whatever else you want to call shit getting all fucked up, and there is nothing more distracting for a musician than people fixing stuff mid song. But held together but a relentless drummer, Ciggy Butt Slvts charged on and played a killer set.

The event page had said:

All acoustic musicians are welcomed to come and play in between sets and are to do so free of schedule. If you wanna show off on a guitar bring one and do it.

We parked up in the backyard and the party continued with Annie, Kelsie, and Alex from the pop punk outfit Cootie Cuties played an acoustic set, featuring most the songs from their EPs Free Bleeder and Sexy Girls In Your Area which have both been getting airtime on bFM as of late.

They then handed the guitar to Mitch Cookson of the folk punk band The Prophet Motive who played songs he needs to record and release because they are completely badass. He spared no one that doesn't deserve to be spared with songs such as New Zealand is Not Your Bolt Hole and a catchy wee number about not taking any guff from fascist swine.

The event page had said:

Bring respect bring creativity bring your empathy and compassion.

So we passed around a guitar and sang as it got darker.

 

About JANG

We're JANG from Tamaki Makaurau and we make surf punk music.




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