By the time of the opening strains of Shipping Up To Boston (best known in these parts as the soundtrack to an Australian Rules football advertisement), the crowd is in raptures. It is the cue for my son John to enter the mosh-pit, and at his urging, I bravely follow.
Nathan Johnson Edinburgh, Scotland; September 1997 Chumbawamba was in my face. Far from being a pop band that sang only about pissing the night away, they were, above all else, anarchists with a deep suspicion of government, politicians, the Church, landlords, bosses, union leaders and other forms and figures of authority. While I didn’t share all of their extreme views, their music and lyrics awakened something inside of me.
Colin Ritchie Bluesfest Byron Bay 2012 It was stinking hot, humidity overwhelming with sweat dripping from our bodies. The lights were low and the expectation ever so high. Would Shane actually be there on stage or would The Pogues perform without him?
Maria Majsa 93 Edgewater Drive, Pakuranga, February 1982 It was right after the funeral that things began to happen… the lights cut out and the music drained away like water leaving a sink.
Maria Majsa Back bedroom, Pakuranga, Auckland 1978 I held the popsicle to my left ear while my brother stabbed away at my right. It was a warm day and I could feel the popsicle oozing down my neck. Blood and raspberry, an indistinguishable mess.
Ethan Andrews The Standard, Darlinghurst, Sydney January 17, 2013 To clear my conscience I needed to make amends and I had to do it the only way a 19-year-old searching for an anonymous stranger knows how. On Facebook.
SJ Rowland Suburban Auckland, mid-1980s Most of the time I didn’t know what to think or how to act. I was always grateful when musicians or anyone else I looked up to could provide a few pointers. Or better yet, provide some strong opinions I could pass off as my own.
Maria Majsa The Marquee, Wardour Street, London 1984 I headed for the place I’d seen him last, but all I found was blood on the floor. People had scrambled through it leaving sticky prints in every direction, like a contaminated crime scene.
Earl O'Neill Beverly Hills 2209, 1982 I had a direct line into the rare chances that rock and roll might gift me. Radio Birdman to The Clovers, Kinks, MC5, to the best friends I’ve ever known.
Earl O’Neill Leichardt, Sydney, 1985 What if something happened and I was at home watching telly? That’d never do. Sex, drugs and rock and roll were too important for a young fellow.