BMA Magazine

Punk & Disorderly – January / February 2018

First off, I hope everyone had a very punk Christmas and New Year, like I did. Listened nearly non-stop to the Alternative Christmas playlist on Spotify (it disappointed me when I found no trace of No Doubt’s punk Christmas track ‘Oi To The World’), and just had a quiet-ish evening with some beautiful people, eating dhal, drinking some very powerful eggnog (labelled ‘Fight Milk’), and creating a circle of milk crates around the only ashtray in the backyard.

The Home Brew Records New Year’s bash was fantastic. Thank you to Joel and Jack for hosting it so well and providing us all with such a lovely (and loving) environment in which to say “Sayonara, 2017”. I did run away to The Phoenix to ring in the actual New Year, requesting that the bar staff play The Darkness for me, and being pleasantly surprised to have near the entirety of Permission To Land being cranked up and heartily sung to by many of the Phoenix’s occupants.

Speaking of our beloved Phoenix, its doors are under threat of permanent closure yet again.

I’ve been going to gigs at The Phoenix for nearly eight years now, my entire drinking-age life. I can say without any hint of hesitation that there is just nowhere else like it in the ACT. It’s estimated to have hosted over 10,000 gigs and 15,000 bands in its 25 years as a live music venue. It is where I have made most of my friends and had some of the most memorable and enjoyable nights of my life. If I’m ever stuck wondering what to do in the evenings, my first reaction is the check out what’s happening at Phoeno. Nowhere feels like home quite like this place, and we need it to keep operating if the Canberra music scene wishes to continue to grow.

The bar is in some very frightening debt that needs paying if it has any hope of resurrecting itself. There is currently a GoFundMe in the works that’s been looking promising, but if it loses its momentum, it will not succeed in its goal to raise $75,000. If you have any fond memories of this place, I implore you to donate. If it’s still open by the time this issue is printed, show your support by walking through the doors and buying a pint. Every little bit helps.

Photo by Alice Worley

When the news about Phoenix’s debt and consequently its closure was still fresh, it seemed the Lazertits / Swim Team gig was to be its last. We know now that was not the case, but it made for a very packed pub, everyone stepping out to support the place as much as they could. The night started with beloved locals Slagatha Christie. This was the best set they’ve ever played, in my opinion. They were a tight, well-oiled machine. They’ve made little tweaks here and there to their older songs that have perfected them, plus introduced some new tracks to the repertoire, such as ‘Seinfeels’ and a new, very short and sweet track called ‘Retail Rascals’. Thanks again for the tunes, you beautiful eggs. Nice sunnies, by the way.

Swim Team had a very Californian Punk thing going on. The heavy use of toms on the kit was reminding me of Dead Kennedys. And props to the bass player making her Swim Team debut gig to us humble Canberrans, we were happy to be your first.

Lazertits kicked off with a bang (a feminist bang to be precise). This was one of those bands you watch and think, “I wanna be in a band,” because they make it look like so much fun. You could see how much they enjoyed sharing the stage with one another. I keep being so blown away by these Melbourne punk bands (I say this thinking back on seeing Cable Ties, Destrends, and Wet Lips) and it makes me really annoyed that I didn’t know how amazing this scene was when I lived in Melbourne. So many missed opportunities to see these punks hitting up venues such as Yah Yah’s and The Tote. And speaking of, the girls dedicated their song about “crying in The Tote” to our struggling Phoenix, as The Tote has notoriously faced closure many times and still managed to carry on. They know our feels, peeps. Thank you for the heartfelt sentiment.

Punk Gig Guide:


Thu Jan 25 – FACE FACE @ Transit Bar w/ Helena Pop, Lady Denman + Azim Zain & His Lovely Bones

Sat Jan 27 – Defenestration + WRONG @ The Front Gallery & Cafe

Sat Jan 27 – Elk Locker Hollowing EP Launch w/ Snakepit + Blue Velvet @ Transit Bar

Fri Feb 2 – Mental Cavity w/ Gvrlls, No Haven, Potion + Disavow @ The Basement

Fri Feb 9 – Fun Machine: Canberra Icons Party @ The Phoenix

Wed Feb 28 – Veruca Salt + The Lemonheads @ Canberra Theatre Centre