Braunias On Punk’s Finest Hour

June 5, 2014
Flesh D-Vice in concert the same year, different gig.

Gary Steel intended to climb into the crumbling catacombs of his back catalogue, and disinter a different story Every Day In May (EDIM), but he got the flu. So he’s extending the concept until he makes up the full 31 days. Today’s piece is by the legendary Steve Braunias, and appeared in TOM magazine on October 28, 1983.


Note: Steve is one of my dearest, oldest friends, so he couldn’t bring himself to say no when I asked if I could type out a few ancient examples of his fine prose. Because he’s a perfectionist, I know he’ll be terribly embarrassed, but the thing is: he rocks! Even in 1983! So much so that even though there’s no photographic accompaniment to Steve’s review, the images it paints are more than enough.


Punk’s Finest Hour, Rock Theatre, Saturday October 22, 1983 – REVIEW

Flesh D-Vice in concert the same year, different gig.
Flesh D-Vice in concert the same year, different gig.

IT WAS SLIGHTLY late in opening. About 50 people milled outside the door, including a friendly school boy from Levin who was busy shaking hands and being introduced to punks, skins and others. He’d bussed down with a mate. They looked at each other and concluded this gig had attracted every punk in Levin.

Punk’s Finest Hour, as it was billed, almost had its plug pulled out. Organiser Gerald Dwyer had long talks with theatre-owners the Ratana Church to persuade them to allow it at all; and then discovered they couldn’t give him the key until two hours before the first band was scheduled to appear. It takes a longer time than that to set things up. So he broke in. When Church representatives arrived and learnt this, they threatened to go back on the agreement, but eventually gave the thumbs up again.

Security was good and five potential stirrers were blacklisted from appearing. One was the source of a recent conflict between punks and the —, who were rumoured to have plans to raid the gig.

First up were Destructive Adolescents. They played a short set of short songs, the bass player screamed out his lyrics and a small girl occasionally did vocals too. A few people in the crowd had heard they weren’t very good, and after listening to a few bash-thrash ditties said they’d heard right. Someone shouted “No More!” in a loud, miserable voice. The band seemed to agree and left.

David Bowie’s ‘Laughing Gnome’ and Ralph McTell’s ‘Streets Of London’ were the unlikely choices No Idea from Levin covered. Both were hard and fast, of course, and also superb. “Let me take you through the streets of London, and I’ll show you something that’ll make you sick. AAAARGHH!” The crowd loved it and began doing the grapple. No Idea’s originals were however sort of blurry, and they played for ages.

The police nosed around during No Idea’s set, nodded their heads and left. Only a routine visit complete with three cars and a dog-van.

Flesh D-Vice have a sense of humour, movement and entertainment. The band is not about violence at all. At their best, passages were exhilarating, tearing off shreds of electricity and stomp causing bodies to be flung across the dance-floor in the friendliest way.

Their swaggering guitarist – who has a huge grinning face that looks like a fish dipped in whisky – and vocalist Dwyer are especially energetic, obviously wanting everyone to have a good time. At one point Dwyer took his mike onto the floor, got involved in a four-way grapple and kept singing: almost corny, really, but effective.

Boner from Nelson pushed out a thick dumb sound and it drove me off to Uncle Sam’s pie-cart. Back at the raunch Boner had just signed off and boasted, “That’s the best Nelson’s got!”

It wasn’t half as hilarious as a stage remark made by one fellow who walked up in bare feet, took the mike and fumed, “Would the cunt who stole my Doc’s while I was fucking asleep give ‘em back in 10 minutes or else!” A few people laughed, and he snarled, “It’s not fucking funny!” No one laughed.


Aftershock were exciting and interesting. A talented band who are not hard-core as some clown writing under my name said a few issues ago.

The only violence I’d seen, upstairs at least, was between three girls that involved a swinging chair. I went to leave and saw a crowd of jumpy faces by the door, and then something bolting it. A loud crash hit the door and everyone scampered back up the stairs: the — had arrived. Someone got cut.

A minute later the door was opened again. On Vivian St a few — stood across from police who were scribbling on pads. “… and have you got a middle name?” one asked. STEVE BRAUNIAS

Steel has been penning his pungent prose for 40 years for publications too numerous to mention, most of them consigned to the annals of history. He is Witchdoctor's Editor-In-Chief/Music and Film Editor. He has strong opinions and remains unrepentant. Steel's full bio can be found here

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