REVENGE OF THE PUNKS
The institution CANBERRA PUNK AND BEYOND dates back to the mid-‘70s and each year a collaborative effort is made between bands, producers and general punk lovers to champion the lure and depths of the punk genre. The result is an event, Renegades Revenge, held at ANU Bar, which sees men and women from all over the country share and indulge in a common passion – Canberra, between 1977 and 1992.
This year, Chris Shakallis, founder and organiser of the institution (and also member of original psych punk-rock-once-Canberra-now-Sydney band The Young Docteurs), channels the event to express the love for a genre and a city that supported punk in it’s ultimate heyday. ‘The scene back then was…healthy. We played three nights a week and managed to get a decent crowd. You can’t really get that kind of commitment now. We used to see about 16 bands a week! Without sounding too retrospective, it was a peak golden time for Australian music.’
Last year’s CPB event Rock Against Boredom Revisited was about ‘rekindling the vibe’, that is, advocating the style of punk that Canberra once offered; a vibe we can expect from this year’s gig. The genesis of the theme ‘renegades revenge’ came from ‘an outlaw spaghetti western scene meets psychedelic’ – an apt theme if one was showcasing, as Chris says, the ‘very diverse style of punk. From The Pistols to The Ramones to Siouxsie and The Banshees, it is a broad place from varying styles. Nowadays people associate punk with a few particular couple of branches – but I think it was, and still is, pretty diverse. The rulebook was never completely written. You could be individually creative and explore. Even bands like The Residents or Snake Finger who adopted the more avant-garde style, really they were just extending the boundaries.’
Also working on a collaborative book about the Canberra punk scene between ‘77 and ‘92, as well as recording a new album with the Young Docteurs, Shakallis’s intention is to ‘let the greater public know there was a wider, vital scene going on in Canberra that was quite unknown.’ Continuing on, Shakallis points out, ‘a lot of Canberra musicians that ended up in different cities in Australia or around the world had a huge influence on the music industry. In part, it’s about recapping, to inform people about the time and who played a role in it.’ In talking of revival, ‘Well…maybe in Asia or Russia…’ he decides.
Performances we can look forward to on the night include Young Docterus, Stand Alone, Capital Punishment, Little Mac & The Monster Men and, of course, Canberra’s best burlesque trio, The Velvet Vixens (would it be a proper punk show without them?). Not to mention a lightshow by Eyesaw Productions betted to thoroughly test one’s hand-eye coordination threshold.
Renegade’s Revenge is on at ANU Bar, Saturday March 9 at 8pm. $20 door.