Tuesday, May 05, 2009



Staff Benda Bilili

"Staff Benda Bilili are like nothing you have ever seen or heard before. A group of paraplegic street musicians who live in and around the grounds of the zoo in Kinshasa, Congo, they make music of astonishing power and beauty." Link.

Monday, May 04, 2009

Getting jumpy
This past weekend was big on the nostalgia tip. I was interviewed for BFMs Historical Society by Dubhead, and that aired on saturday morning ( and surprised a few folk who couldn't figure out how I was on two radio stations at once!).

"In the first of the bFM Historical Society's NZ Music Month shows, Peter McLennan of the hallelujah Picassos and Dub Asylum talks of his parallel music and broadcasting career. Pete selects tunes representative of his time as a run of station heavy-on-the-reggae DJ and as host of the Sunday arts programme, The Culture Bunker." Download it here. And check out some of the other great interview subjects while you're at it.

And then there was the saturday night knees-up in memorium of Steve Marsden, of the Androidds. I aint gonna pretend I knew him, and I was too young to see the Androidds play first time round, but I did enjoy seeing abunch of folks both very old and very young enjoy some raucous music.

I arrived a wee bit late for opener Chris Matthews and band, and was stunned to discover they'd already finished, as they started earlier than the advertised time. Never heard of such a thing. Apparently they'd come unstuck while attempting a Gordons cover which resulted in broken guitar strings.

Next up, the Newmatics. Propelled by the relentless drumming of the pint-size dynamite that is Benny Staples on the drum kit, they ripped thru Judas, Five Miseries, Riot Squad, Doobie Doo Boy and more. There was a killer version of Sam and Dave's Soul Man, muscular, funky and poundingly good. And of course Wilson Pickett's Land of a Thousand Dances, with the crowd joining in on the "Na, na na na na, na na na ..." vocal parts. I danced and danced. Such great songs.

The Spelling Mistakes thrwwq themselves into their songs with gusto, but by the end of their set, the drummer was saying "We're doing the last song at half speed, cos i'm fucked". And then they launched ijnto Sonic Reducer. And there was Feels So Good, what a glorious pop song. Rena Owen was in the rowd somewhere, so she may or may not have heard her anthem.

And then the Androidds took the stage. After some good natured audience abuse - "Kiss my shiny metal ass!" they launched into it. There was The Passenger, Search and Destroy, a ton of Iggy-related stuff rendered in blistering guitar, some Stones, it all got a bit hazy about then, and the band were getting progresivle more shambolic, but it was all in good fun. Steve's partner Andrea got up and said a few words, then there was more music and mayhem. I drifted off before they got to Auckland Tonight, but I'm sure it went off. Hats off to John Baker for pulling it together.