1981. Audacious Art Experiment.
15th October 2013.
Reviewer – Rowan Blair Colver.
This review was originally published in Now Then Magazine issue 68
Having never set foot in the AAE before, I was a little confused when I walked past this odd looking workshop style building with a few blokes standing outside. Not knowing this was it, I continued up Harwood Street until I heard the sound of frantic punk drumming from the only illuminated building on the short road. I made a quick u-turn and invited myself in. Inside it was like a cross between a hippy squat and a music studio.
Members of Martha were chilling on a second hand sofa, eating plates of grub while a Super Nintendo played demos of Street Fighter II on a tiny colour cathode TV. It wasn’t long before I had a go. I was a bit chilly, and there was no bar or any sort of public service look to the place. It was just a matter of being there really. I’d recommend bringing friends when going.
The first band on, Brainfreeze, were awesome. A group of blokes in black making loud Pantera-style groovy, angry, thrashy punk dominated the building for 20 minutes. Although their lyrics were gruff and almost indiscernible from howling, I did notice quite a few poignant and political lines in there. Good stuff if you ask me.
Martha, a young group of talented musicians, were next up. I’d heard good things about them and many of the people in the building had come specifically to see them. Their high-pitched, harmonic singing was what got me. The whole thing reminded me of Punky Bruster, an album by Devin Townsend. All members had a go at adding their voice, and they did it well, drummer included. He was a very talented drummer, who I found out later prefers to play guitar. The two front men bounced guitar riffs around while the bassist kept hammering down the groove.
1981 arrived late after flying in directly from Finland. They’d been up all day and their faces showed it. Kudos for dedication – they played wonderfully and gave us an almost studio perfect rendition of their material. They were young, excited to be here and eager to give us their breed of polished and technical punk rock. They concluded their set with a great number and quickly put their things down and went off stage. The crowd demanded more, and after a short while, amidst complaints of being awake for 20 hours, they played one more. Very impressive.