Sure there were more Australian bands on the bill, the gig was in Australia, and most of the crowd may have been born in Australia. But that didn’t stop me rounding up a contingent of New Zealanders including my girlfriend, cousin, and two mates (one from New Zealand and one with a Flying Nun inspired tattoo – so she counts as a New Zealander) to the Gaso on Friday 17th February for a ‘legends convention’.
It was a ‘legends convention’ as two legendary New Zealanders were in attendance.
The first legend, and younger of the two, Fazerdaze was one of the bands playing. I am a huge fan of Fazerdaze, and was very excited to see her in Melbourne again. With the Gaso packed she ripped into an outstanding set. She played some songs from her brilliant 2014 self-titled EP as well as a number of new tracks. Her band is tight and it allows her to fully show off her talent for writing incredible catchy songs with hooks that many of her contemporaries would kill to write. Set highlight was ‘Lucky Girl’. It is the lead single off her upcoming debut album. It is catchy, upbeat and everything you want in a single.
After the great set by Fazerdaze, it was back to the bar. We were all wondering whether Roger Shepherd (legend two and founder of Flying Nun Records) was in attendance yet. We knew he had a talk in St Kilda earlier in the evening, but the promise of him playing a selection of records between sets and after the gig had us all overly excited, especially after Fazerdaze blew us all away. I left the discussion; are the 3Ds better than Straightjacket Fits? And walked through to the band room to go to the bathroom and it hit me like a freight train “do you like Paul Verlaine?/Is it gonna rain today?”
He was here, and playing The Verlaines no less. I hurried back to the table to pass on the good news. Roger Shepherd was DJing!
We all excitedly went back into the band room and basked in the jangly pop goodness that is the cornerstone of many of Flying Nun hits. After hearing a few tracks it was time for Tiny Little Houses to take the stage.
They played a great set, befitting of the music on display so far. It was poppy, but not too poppy, with chugging guitars and an infectious beat. It had the crowd bobbing along in delight. There is always a great mood in the Gaso when the room is that full, and the band seemed to enjoy the response their music was receiving.
After Tiny Little Houses it was time for more beer and more Flying Nun.
Roger Shepherd took to the decks and started playing our greatest hits. All 5 of us were in heaven. But where was everyone else? We had full access to our idol as he chatted to us and played records. We danced, we kept telling him to turn it up and constantly wondered why everyone else wasn’t in there with us listening.
It was amazing to see the man who started it all. He gave us The Clean, The Bats, The Chills, Straightjacket Fits, The Verlaines and many more bands that were so important to so many. But here he was playing records to basically just the 5 of us.
Maybe I’m too much of a fan, maybe I was too drunk, but I wanted him to play all night. The only thing I ever get nationalistic about is Flying Nun. How all these bands came from such a small place is absurd. But that is for another discussion.
The Gaso was, as always, brilliant. The bandroom there is one of my favourites, and it was great to see Fazerdaze playing to such a large audience. And as you have probably gathered, I was also beyond happy to see Roger Shepherd playing some of his favourite tunes! It was a great night.
Feature Image Credit: Fazerdaze Facebook / Si Moore