Good Luck Bar
November 20 | Reviewed by Brannavan Gnanalingam

A DINGY basement, people carrying stale urine on their pants, and a total lack of publicity seemed like the perfect combo for an explosive gig in Wellington. Die!Die!Die! after playing three gigs in the city a couple of weekends before came back to play another show, in aid of their excellent album Promises Promises. Their style seemed to perfectly complement the surroundings, adrenalising a small but dervish-dancing crowd.

The Riff Rats opened up with their brand of shoegazeriness/garage rock. It could have been a problem with the mixing or the smallness of the amps (which did seem on the slightly tiny side) but they were way too quiet. The drums needed to be hit harder (or miked up), the guitars needed to assist in glazing eyes more – I wanted the Riff Rats to rip my guts out of me and force-feed them back, instead all I got a friendly handshake. The guy who sang he wanted to walk to Japan had the right idea, even if the song wasn’t the best. The stop-start drum beat was good in building up tension, but got a little over-used. The penultimate song of their set was best in as they varied things up a bit, and contained a good hypnotic quality.

Dial were certainly much rawer in their sound and were mightily impressive. They’ve been making a name for themselves in the local punk scene and it’s easy to see why. With gnarly riffs, thundering drumming and intense vocal stylings, it certainly wasn’t the sound for an afternoon tea at an old-folks home. There is a lot of bad hardcore which relies on simple rhythms and every instrument/vocalist doing the same thing at once – not Dial, who managed to mess around with rhythm and texture brilliantly. The drums, bass and guitars worked off and against each other, and they managed to chuck some vocal interplay in there too. It was also amazing to hear this was the drummer’s first gig with the band – he sounded like he’d started the band. This was fascinating and visceral stuff, and Dial are certainly a band to check out.

Die!Die!Die! concluded the proceedings with their intense brand of machinegun pop. They grab you by the neck and let the relentless riffs pummel you as if they’d set up an automatic trigger. It was tightly wound music too, building the type of tension that great bands like Wire or Television did, the type that gains your full attention while in Die!Die!Die!’s case, also dismantling your aural senses. They’re also great showmen, dancing and flailing around, while the singer manages to actually sound quite sweet and melodic in his yelping. It would always be difficult trying to capture this brilliant live performance on CD (something which Die!Die!Die! do well, but still), so if they ever do play again soon, their live show is unmissable.